Ontario is home to many of the country’s most innovative and globally oriented businesses. But while significant growth potential exists within the region, it’s often difficult for companies to make large-scale investments in productivity-boosting technologies. Despite the long-term benefits of adopting or adapting technology, upfront project costs can impact cash flow and make these types of investments less attractive.
Fortunately, FedDev Ontario provides the Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program to offset upfront project costs and help businesses grow more quickly. It provides no-interest repayable contributions (government loans) with repayment beginning within a year of project completion. This supports companies as they adopt or adapt technologies, then repay the cost of equipment over five years when it’s helping to generate additional revenues.
The Business Scale-up and Productivity program provides technology loans of up to 35% of project costs between $500,000 to $10 million per project.
To apply for BSP funding, eligible applicants must develop and submit a comprehensive application package that consists of the program’s application form, a business plan, financial statements for the last two full years of operation, and forecasted financial statements for the duration of the project. This program currently has no deadline for applying.
What is the FedDev Ontario Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) Program?
FedDev Ontario is one of Canada’s six regional development agencies that provide funding for strategic business projects. Its Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program helps companies adopt, adapt, and commercialize innovative technologies that have a significant impact on productivity. The equipment funding incentive places a direct focus on using technology to grow Ontario-based businesses so that they can compete more effectively with international firms.
Ontario based companies can access up to $10 million in technology loans through the Business Scale-up and Productivity program.
If accepted into the program, applicants receive funding to directly offset incurred project costs. Companies access funding by reporting approved project expenses, then receive a contribution of up to 35% of those costs. Funding is provided to companies throughout the project and must be repaid within six years of project completion.
Applicants begin repayment within one year after the completion of their project and provide consistent payments over the next 50 months. There is no penalty for early repayment.
Businesses Eligible for BSP Expansion and Equipment Funding
To qualify for the Ontario Business Scale-up and Productivity program, companies must meet the following criteria:
- Have profitable operations in southern Ontario for the previous two consecutive years;
- Maintain a minimum of five full-time employees;
- Be provincially or federally incorporated or an Indigenous-owned business;
- Have financial capacity to complete the project, provide a minimum 35% contribution, and repay the government contribution in full;
- Have a viable project plan and have organizational capacity to complete it; and
- Have market or industry demand to support new technology/business expansion.
Likewise, to be eligible for Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP), companies must use program funding to support projects and activities such as:
- Productivity Improvement: Adoption or adaptation of innovative technologies and processes.
- Business Scale-up: Expanding management capacity.
- Tech Commercialization: Commercializing/producing new products or processes.
- Export Expansion: Researching/developing export markets.
Eligible BSP Projects
To be eligible for Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP), companies must plan to use its funding to support projects and activities such as:
- Acquiring, adopting, or adapting innovative technologies (including digitization and automation);
- Late-stage technology development to support new markets and/or industrial applications;
- Demonstrating innovative technologies and/or processes in an operational setting;
- Commercializing/producing new innovative products, processes, or services;
- Customer and market development, expansion, or diversification to support business growth and integration in global value chains and an initial sale; and
- Increasing business management capacity by building high-performance teams, adopting best management practices, processes, and systems.
Note: Technology development, demonstration, and commercialization activities must fall within a technology readiness level (TRL) of 7-9.
Eligible Expenses for FedDev Ontario’s BSP Program
To develop a strong project proposal for the Business Scale-up and Productivity program, applicants should build a budget that consists of project-related expenses including:
- Consulting Fees;
- Capital; and
- Non-capital expenses.
How to Apply for BSP Ontario Technology Loans
The Business Scale-up and Productivity program is currently accepting applications. Businesses can submit application packages to FedDev Ontario for evaluation by federal government reviewers. If applicants pass the pre-screening process, they will be contacted by a government official who will request additional project information, including financial information. The government will also conduct a credit check to ensure applicants have sufficient resources to lead the project. We strongly encourage utilizing a professional grant application writing team when applying for this program, such as the ones at Mentor Works, a Ryan company.
It takes approximately six months from application submission to receive project approval. Applicants must receive approval prior to incurring eligible project expenses.
Applications are assessed based on the applicant’s overall eligibility and ability to deliver project-related impacts such as technology demonstration and commercialization, expansion into global markets, and job creation.
Are you a good fit for the Business Scale-up and Productivity program? Contact Mentor Works to discuss your eligibility and learn how to optimize its application process.