On October 19th, the provincial government announced the opening of the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (“SWODF”), which is designed to provide financial assistance and incentives to innovate and grow Ontario’s economy and create local jobs. The fund is region specific, as only companies within the 17 geographic areas of Southwestern Ontario are eligible for funding.
A family-owned business and a multinational manufacturer of grain, storage, material handling, drying and feed equipment, Lambton Conveyor Limited, was the first recipient of SWODF. They received $1.5 million through the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation which assisted them in expanding their manufacturing facility and creating 110 new jobs in the Chatham-Kent region. The funding also allowed the company to add new, innovative, grain and storage equipment making Lambton Conveyor more competitive in the marketplace.
The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund provides $20 million annually to eligible companies. Under the program there are two funding streams, a business stream which is for established businesses and a regional stream for economic development organizations including municipalities. Under the business stream, each company can receive up to 15% of eligible project costs (facility modifications/expansion, purchasing/upgrading equipment or hiring and training of staff) to a maximum non-repayable grant of $1.5 million to support capital spending, skills development, productivity enhancements and infrastructure needs.