Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF): Community Economic Development Stream

Update: In response to COVID-19, the second intake of SWODF has been extended to May 29, 2020.

SWODF Funding Community Economic DevelopmentCommunity Economic Development Streams of the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) provides support to municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for projects and investments that spur economic development in southwestern and eastern Ontario.

Applicants may be able to access up to 50% of eligible project expenses for a maximum grant of up to $1.5M.

To access SWODF funding, organizations must develop a competitive application that includes details around the project’s purpose, budget, timelines, and expected outcomes. There is an upcoming intake of March 5, 2020 – May 29, 2020. Other eligibility criteria apply; continue reading to learn if this business investment funding is suitable for your expansion plans.

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To learn more about the SWODF Business Stream for business expansion and capital investment projects, click here.

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Program Overview: What is SWODF Funding?

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.

Applicant Eligibility Criteria

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).

What is SWODF’s Definition of Southwestern Ontario?

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.

Project Eligibility Criteria

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

  • Invest more than $100,000;
  • 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.

The project duration can last up to four years.

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).

Additional SWODF Funding Resources

How to Apply for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund

To access SWODF funding, eligible Ontario-based organizations must complete a three-stage application process which includes:

  1. Completing an eligibility checklist to ensure suitability for the SWODF program;
  2. Discussing the proposed project with a SWODF representative; and
  3. Submitting a full application

Since SWODF maintains an open intake of applications, businesses that have a qualified project may submit a funding proposal anytime throughout the year. It’s often best to submit applications a minimum of 4-6 months ahead of the project’s anticipated start date to ensure adequate time for application review. Upon application approval, applicants can begin incurring funding-eligible expenses.

Application Periods

SWODF has announced four application periods, so businesses should prepare well in advance of funding intakes to make the most of their upcoming strategic growth projects. The deadlines are as follows:

  • Application Period One: December 2, 2019 – January 20, 2020
  • Application Period Two: March 5, 2020 – May 29, 2020
  • Application Period Three: June 5, 2020 – July 20, 2020
  • Application Period Four: September 3, 2020 – October 19, 2020

Discuss Upcoming Expansion Projects

Considering how SWODF can support your upcoming project? Contact Mentor Works to evaluate whether your project is a good fit. Our team can help you align your upcoming project for SWODF funding and streamline the application process with time-saving info collection documents and a dedicated team of writers.

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Page Updated: April 28, 2020.