The Ontario government is investing almost $5 million in funding support for the steel manufacturing and agriculture sectors via the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF). Funds have been allotted to two Canadian companies, Valbruna ASW Inc. and Quick Plug CA Inc., which are investing in expanding their businesses by improving their manufacturing facilities and equipment to improve efficiencies.
“Our government is proud to support local manufacturers across the province, allowing companies to create good, local jobs. We look forward to seeing more of these kinds of private-sector investments that are creating the conditions for long-term regional economic growth. We thank Valbruna ASW and Quick Plug for contributing to our province’s vibrant steel and agricultural sectors and for contributing to our province’s dynamic and growing manufacturing sector and economic recovery.”Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
This article will look at the success stories of the two businesses that were rewarded funding through SWODF and provide insight for the program itself.
Leveraging the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) for Growth
The Ontario government aims to strengthen domestic companies, create jobs, attract investment, and drive the economy. The following investments will boost production quality and capacities, as well as create 45 new jobs in Southwestern Ontario.
Valbruna ASW Inc.
Valbruna ASW Inc. is a Canadian steel fabricator located in Welland, Ontario that offers speciality steel products which give it a competitive edge in Canada and abroad. Through SWODF, Valbruna has been awarded $4.4 million to accompany their own investment of $50 million for new innovative equipment and facility upgrades. This project offers vast potential for Valbruna ASW Inc. as they will be the first business in Canada capable of producing hi-nickel alloys and other specialty steels for commercial purposes.
“This investment is strategic to the future of Valbruna ASW, our current and future employees, our customers and suppliers and our community partners. As Ontario’s, in fact Canada’s, only specialty steel producer, uniquely capable of refining high quality stainless steels, we are grateful for the support and recognition of the provincial government under Premier Ford and Minister Fedeli through the Regional Development Program. We are excited to undertake this project, which will improve our efficiency and productivity as well as reduce our environmental footprint.”Tim Clutterbuck, President of Valbruna ASW Inc.
Specialty steel fabrication capabilities will expand product offerings and boost sales. Moreover, this expansion will allow Valbruna to make 15 new hires in the Welland region.
Quick Plug CA Inc.
Quick Plug CA Inc. is a business located in St. Catharines, Ontario that engineers and manufactures stabilized growing media for commercial growers in forestry, hydroponics, aquaponics, and more. Quick Plug received $480,000 from SWODF to create 30 jobs at their facility, as well as to implement plans to build a new research and development center.
“Quick Plug CA Inc. would like to thank the Government of Ontario for the support provided through the Regional Development Program. We will use these funds to not only improve our existing processes, but to invest in automation and newer technologies. These investments will help us be a safe and productive employer that provides good local jobs for many years to come.”Bill Maartense, Managing Director of Quick Plug CA Inc.
To accompany their awarded funds from SOWDF, Quick Plug will be investing $3.2 million of their own capital to centralize its North American production facility in St. Catharines. To improve their performance and output efficiencies in Canada, these investments will also focus on purchasing new equipment and machinery to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing line.
What is the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)?
Designed to encourage companies to invest in new facilities and equipment, the SWODF also encourages economic development organizations, municipalities, and consortia to invest in infrastructure and develop strategies to advance regional priorities.
The SWODF operates two funding streams:
- The Business stream which may offer up to 15% of project expenses to a maximum of $500,000–$5.0 M; and
- The Community Economic Development stream which may provide up to 50% of eligible project costs for a maximum of up to $1.5 M.
To learn about the eligibility criteria for applicants and intended projects, visit the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) program page for a comprehensive review.
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