Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)

Receive up to $500k to $5M in Government Funding.

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) is a business expansion funding program that incentivizes companies to invest in new facilities and equipment, as well as economic development organizations, municipalities, and consortia in investing in infrastructure or implementing strategies to advance regional priorities.

The Business Stream attracts large-scale projects that have a significant impact on business productivity and create new employment opportunities within the company. Through the program, successful applicants will receive grants or a combination of grants and repayable funding (government loans) to offset project costs.

The Community Economic Development Stream supports community economic development projects that lead to business growth, generate broad positive economic impacts, and encourage innovation, collaboration, and cluster development.

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Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)

Amount of Funding

Business Stream

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) is one of the most popular Ontario government funding programs available to support large-scale business investments. Through the program, companies can receive grants and loans to minimize the impact of expansion on company cash flows. By providing additional capital to support projects, manufacturers, and other targeted applicants can grow faster and respond to opportunities more effectively. The Business Stream offers two types of funding support:

  1. Performance-Based Loan: Up to 15% of eligible project expenses to a maximum of $5 million.
  2. Conditional Grant: Up to 15% of eligible project expenses to a maximum of $500,000 for small and rural companies (less than 100 full-time employees (FTEs) in a municipality with less than 100,000 population).
    • $1,500,000 for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments or from companies competing against other jurisdictions.

Community Economic Development Stream

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) provides support for economic development organizations, municipalities, and consortia that are investing in infrastructure or implementing strategies to advance regional priorities in southwestern and eastern Ontario.

The Community Economic Development Stream supports community economic development projects that lead to business growth, generate broad positive economic impacts, and encourage innovation, collaboration, and cluster development.

Applicants may receive up to 50% of eligible project costs for a maximum of up to $1.5M in grant funding.

Amount of Funding from the Canadian Government

Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)

Eligible Applicants

Eligible Regions

Applicant companies must ensure their business operates in Southwestern Ontario to qualify for SWODF. Eligible regions include:

  • Brant;
  • Bruce;
  • Chatham-Kent;
  • Dufferin;
  • Elgin;
  • Essex;
  • Grey;
  • Haldimand;
  • Huron
  • Lambton;
  • Middlesex;
  • Niagara;
  • Norfolk;
  • Oxford;
  • Perth;
  • Simcoe;
  • Waterloo; and
  • Wellington.

Business Stream

To qualify for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, applicants must:

  • Have been in operation for at least 3 years;
  • Commit to creating at least 5 new jobs (or 30% increase for companies with fewer than 15 employees);
  • Have 10 or more FTEs or, if in a rural community, 5 FTEs;
  • Be located in, or plan to locate in, a community in southwestern or eastern Ontario; and
  • Have a project budget greater than $500,000 (or $200,000 if in a rural community).

Community Economic Development Stream

To qualify for this stream of the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, applicants need to align under the eligibility criteria:

  • Municipality;
  • Consortia; or
  • Economic Development Organizations (including sector groups).
Eligible Applicants for Canadian Government Funding

Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)

Eligible Activities

Business Stream

There are three types of projects that commonly receive Southwestern Ontario Development Fund grants and loans. Projects must start a minimum 60 days after submission and can have a duration of three to four years. They include:

  • Invest in new operations in eastern or southwestern Ontario;
  • Invest in operations that improve productivity, innovation, the potential to export goods, and competitiveness; and
  • Create high-value, sustainable jobs in Ontario.

Eligible Expenses: The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) only accepts project costs that are one-time expenses essential to project completion. These may include:

  • Project facilities & infrastructure – project facility modifications;
  • Specialized expertise – third-party engineering services;
  • Materials – materials for configurations and testing;
  • Equipment and machinery – CNC machines, robots, etc.;
  • Labour – set up/commissioning of new equipment, incremental R&D for a max of two years;
  • Training and talent costs – employer-provided training (trainer hours are eligible), training infrastructure; and
  • Permits and fees – building permits.

Community Economic Development Stream

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund provides funding to support projects aligned to the following:

  • Invest more than $100,000;
  • Projects lasting up to four (4) years;
  • Have private sector support;
  • Lead to measurable outcomes including private sector investment, growth, and job creation;
  • Be led by municipalities, economic development organizations (including sector groups), or consortia;
  • Be used for activities that are incremental (new) to the organization; and
  • Focus on economic and business development and job creation in the community or region by investing in infrastructure or implementing strategies to advance regional economic development priorities.

Expense Eligibility Criteria

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) only accepts project costs that are one-time expenses essential to project completion. These may include:

  • Specialized expertise;
  • Business attraction costs;
  • Project-related permits, fees, and other similar charges;
  • Equipment and machinery required for the project;
  • Municipal economic infrastructure that addresses a community priority;
  • Skills training;
  • Project facility modifications and/or upgrades required for the project;
  • One-time internal labour (project-specific); and
  • One-time materials (project-specific).
Eligible Expenses for Canadian Government Funding

Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)

Program Deadline

Applicants should prepare well in advance of SWODF’s funding intake periods to make the most of their upcoming strategic growth projects. Application deadlines are as follows:

  • Application Period Five: January 20, 2021 – March 1, 2021
  • Application Period Six: April 22, 2021 – June 4, 2021
  • Application Period Seven: July 28, 2021 – September 10, 2021
  • Application Period Eight: November 4, 2021 – December 17, 2021
Program Deadline for Canadian Government Funding
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