Archive for the ‘business financing’ Category

SWODF New Application Intake Dates Announced

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) provides support for business growth projects and funding to cover up to 15% of project costs.

SWODF is maintained by The Regional Development Fund which supports eligible small- and medium-sized businesses investing in new equipment and training to expand operations in these regions, and also supports municipalities and not-for-profit organizations investing in economic development projects.



Up to 15% funding to a maximum of $5M, interest free-during the project period (up to 4 years). Up to 30% of the loan ($500,000 maximum) may be forgiven if investment and job targets are achieved.


Grants are available only for specific circumstances, up to 15% to a maximum of:

  • $500,000 for rural Ontario businesses with less than 100 employees.
  • $1.5M for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments or from companies competing against other jurisdictions.

* SWODF funding cannot be combined (“stacked”) with other provincial programs.


To be eligible, businesses must be:

  • Investing a minimum of $500,000 in their project ($200,000 for rural Ontario).
  • Employing at least 10 people ( 5 for rural Ontario).
  • Committed to creating at least 5 new jobs (or 30% increase for companies with fewer than 15 employees).
  • Able to provide 3 years of operations/financial statements.
  • Located, or plan to be located, in Southwestern Ontario.


There are four application intake periods per year for full applications. Applicants will be notified of decisions within 60 business days of the application deadline.

Eligibility checklists may be submitted at any time.

Application PeriodAssessment PeriodNotification Date
December 2, 2019-January 20, 2020January 21, 2020-April 16, 2020April 16, 2020
March 5, 2020-April 20, 2020April 21, 2020-July 15, 2020July 15, 2020
June 5, 2020-July 20, 2020July 21, 2020-October 15, 2020October 15, 2020
September 3, 2020-October 19, 2020October 20, 2020-January 15, 2021January 15, 2021

To find out more about SWODF and other sources of funding to offset the costs of business growth, workforce development and innovation contact us today for a free consultation.

Made in Canada: Sustaining a Global Competitive Advantage in Cannabis Technology

Last month marked the one year anniversary since Canada became the first G7 country to legalize cannabis. On October 17, 2019, the Canadian Cannabis Regulations were updated to establish rules for the legal production and sale of three new classes of cannabis including edibles, extracts, and topicals, which are expected to become available for purchase in physical and online stores beginning in mid-December 2019.

With Canada currently representing the second-largest legal cannabis market in the world, innovation is now more vital than ever to maintaining a sustainable competitive Canadian advantage in the global cannabis value chain.

While legalization has attracted unprecedented levels of investment and has paved the way for accelerated research, clinical Cannabis research remains in its infancy with limited and often conflicting open-source information requiring heavy R&D investments to distinguish companies in this oversaturated market. Additionally, with the expansion of the market in terms of volumes and formats, much research is needed in harvesting/ processing technologies and product development.

Fortunately, costs of innovation in the cannabis industry can be offset with non-dilutive funding which can critically extend a company’s runway, bridge the funding gap to commercialization, and reduce the risk for investors.

Funding Cannabis R&D in Canada

The SR&ED tax credit program is the most lucrative source of non-dilutive funding for companies performing R&D in Canada, providing up to 68% back on eligible R&D expenditures for Qualified Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC’s) and 43% for Foreign-owned or public corporations depending on the province.

Examples of SR&ED in Cannabis include:

1. Edibles, Beverages, Extracts, and Topicals

  • Enhancing nutrient content or eliminating allergens.
  • Increasing product quality, yield, or shelf-life.
  • Overcoming ingredient interference (i.e. chocolate) with potency testing.
  • Maintaining formulaic stability, solubility, and dispersion
  • Developing terpene-based organoleptic profiles.
  • Scaling up and improving process efficiency.
  • Overcoming limitations of processes that utilize reagents (ethanol, CO2, propane).
  • Improving/developing extraction sequences and process parameters, and new isolation methods.
  • Reducing water consumption, or improving heating/cooling processes.
  • Developing innovative sustainable cannabis packaging solutions.

2. Medicinal & Pharmaceutical

  • Developing novel cannabis treatments and medical procedures.
  • Clinically assessing patient response to different doses, strains, and cultivation practices. 
  • Developing new, innovative methods to assess cannabinoid concentration.
  • Developing methods to test medicinal ingredient accuracy for consumers and industry professionals.

3. Cultivation/Harvesting

  • Testing the effects of climate/growing conditions (temperature and humidity, mineral composition of soil ph., and light exposure) and relative cultivation sequences on yield/ potency and the resulting product quality (yield, potency, terpenes profile).
  • Assessing growth conditions relative to processing parameters and product efficacy.
  • Developing new bio-stimulants for disease resistance, new fertilizer blends for boosting yield or developing biological pest controls.
  • Performing gene editing and breeding studies.
  • Integrating automation processes and equipment.  

4. ICT

  • Improving diagnostic and data analytics.
  • Developing cloud biology platforms and software applications.
  • Developing Smart Farming, IoT, and security systems.  

Bridging the Funding Gap

SR&ED funding can be combined with other sources of non-dilutive financing at various stages of growth to bridge the funding gap from product development to commercialization. 

Advanced SR&ED Financing: While the SR&ED tax credit program is critical for the viability of Canadian companies, it often takes over one year to receive the funding, which can be challenging, particularly for early stage companies. Advanced SR&ED accrual debt financing helps to bridge the financing gap by enabling companies to gain access to up to 80% of their SR&ED refund as soon as six months pre-filing.

Agri and Regional R&D funding: The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) is a five-year, $3 billion, federal-provincial-territorial agreement, that will replace Growing Forward 2 (GF2), and provides cost-sharing funding for processors and other agri-related businesses. The FedDev Rural Innovation Initiative (RII) regional stream is a non-repayable grant for SMEs operating in rural Southern Ontario within priority sectors that covers up to 50% of eligible project costs for a maximum of $100,000.

Commercialization: The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) supports companies that are investing in new technology projects that lead to new products, processes, or services in Canada, with an emphasis on commercialization. IRAP will cover labour and subcontractor costs. IRAP can be paired with SR&ED to increase the total funding amounts, provided adequate deductions for overlap are made.

Export: CanExport is a government funding program that provides funding to Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to support new export market development. Previously, the CanExport program excluded the agriculture and food processing sectors, since companies in these industries were already eligible for export funding through the AgriMarketing program. However, as of August 22, 2019, the program will also be expanded to include supporting companies from Canada’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-products industry, including fish and seafood. CanExport’s funding limit for SMEs will also increase to $75,000 to cover up to 75% of eligible expenses.

Having a first mover advantage with federal legalization, Canada is poised to lead the world in cannabis R&D and evidence-based cannabis policy; however, this will require continued investment in R&D and the commercialization of ‘Made in Canada’ innovations in cannabis.  

Contact us today for a free assessment of your funding eligibility

Workforce Development Funding for Biotech Companies

As issues with climate change and rapidly depleting resources are becoming more urgent, there is a pressing need to form strategies to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs). In Canada, a bio-economy is being adapted as a key strategy to support SDGs. Bio-economy is defined as economic activities associated with the invention, development, production and use of products and processes that are based primarily on biological resources. This emerging paradigm spans several industries including medical technology, agri-biotech, renewable energy, and biomaterials.

Rapid developments in biotechnology require a skilled talent pool to meet industry demands. However, the shortage of skilled professionals in the biotech space and unwillingness to employ recent graduates stunt industry growth. As 80% of the Canadian bio-economy consists of small to medium-sized enterprises, limited resources are often cited as a barrier to hiring new talent.

Wage-subsidy programs, like the Student Work Placement program and the Science Horizons Youth Internship program offered by BioTalent Canada, can help knock down barriers related to initial hiring costs by providing financial support to employers. BioTalent Canada also facilitates connections between full-time students/recent graduates and employers seeking fresh candidates that may potentially meet future recruitment needs through student work placement and internship programs.

Student Work Placement Program (SWPP)

Wage subsidies provided by this program cover the cost of a co-op student’s salary by 50% (maximum of $5,000); or 70% (maximum of $7,000) for first-year students and under-represented groups. Since September 2017, the program has placed over 900 students with over 275 employers providing the students with industry skills and employers with opportunities to increase their workforce.

To qualify for the program, employers must:

  • Show a clear focus on bio-economy, in either the nature of co-op position or the employer.
  • Provide a full-time co-op placement position with a minimum of 16-week placement.

The participant/student must be:

  • Enrolled as a full-time student at a post-secondary education institution and studying in fields related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), business and/or any other program
  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or persons to whom refugee protection has been conferred and legally entitled to work in Canada

Applications are currently being accepted for 2019-2020 co-op placements.

Science Horizons Youth Internship Program

This program offers wage subsidies (maximum of $15,000) to bio-economy employers for hiring recent STEM graduates into a STEM position with an environmental focus. As of March 2019, the program has placed 106 graduates with 67 employers across 37 cities nationwide. Growing participation in this program would equip participants with tools to pursue career paths specific to solving environmental/sustainability issues and increase the number of skilled professionals in the environmental sector.

To qualify for the program, employers must:

  • Provide a position with a clear environmental component.
  • Provide an internship position with full-time hours and a duration between 6-12 months (minimum of 6 months)
  • Shoulder 50% of the internship cost.

The participants must be:

  • Aged 30 or under at the beginning of the internship and graduated in the last 3 years from a post-secondary institution from a STEM program.
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or persons who have been granted refugee status in Canada, and legally entitled to work in Canada

The program is currently accepting applications until March 30th, 2020.

Bio – Economy Subsectors Eligible for Funding From Bio-Talent Canada


  • Medical cannabis
  • Medical Devices
  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Natural-compound bioactives
  • Bio-molecules
  • eHealth/Artificial Intelligence


  • Biodiesel
  • Ethanol
  • Methane
  • Bio-oil
  • Sustainable development


  • Biocatalyst
  • Biosolvents
  • Bioplastics
  • Biocoatings
  • Bioadhesives


  • Agri-fibre composites
  • Animal Genetics
  • Plant Genetics
  • Livestock Vaccines
  • Animal Nutritional Supplements
  • Functional Foods

To learn more about how your company can leverage non-dilutive funding to develop your workforce, grow your business, support R&D activities, and accelerate commercialization contact us today for a free consultation.

Authored by Rebecca Galicha, Technical Writer at NorthBridge Consultants.

SR&ED for Physicians and Medical Professional Corporations

Canada is recognized as a world leader in healthcare and medicine with many ground-breaking discoveries under its belt. Formidable efforts by various parties in the medical sector including physicians, medical professional corporations (MPCs) and health care entities (HCEs) to perform intensive research in a wide range of critical fields—from cancer research to population health—have led to significant developments in treatment strategies and sustainability of the public healthcare system.

Government support for research and development activities is evidenced by available funding programs for health research as well as tax incentives for performing Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) work in this industry. As the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recognizes advancements in scientific knowledge and technology contributed by medical research, this work generally meets the eligibility criteria of the SR&ED program.

Who can claim SR&ED?

According to the CRA, in order to claim SR&ED tax incentives, the SR&ED work must be directly undertaken by the taxpayer (i.e., Physicians and corporations (MPCs, HCEs, etc.))  or undertaken by another party on behalf of the taxpayer, and result in expenditures.

SR&ED claims are typically submitted by MPCs or independent physicians. MPCs are usually incorporated by physicians to operate a medical practice/business and thus SR&ED claims are submitted as a corporation. As for physicians operating as independent contractors for another entity, the physicians may directly submit an SR&ED claim for themselves. The CRA outlines the common scenarios where MPCs or physicians claim SR&ED :

MPCs and their physician-employees (incorporated business)

MPCs may submit SR&ED claims as a corporation in the following cases:

  • The work was directly undertaken by the MPC and their physician-employees.
  • The work performed on behalf of another party is carried out by the MPC’s physician-employees.*
  • Any additional work on top of the work performed on behalf of another party is directly carried out and funded by the MPC.

* However, if only the MPC’s physician-employees (excluding the MPC) are named on the agreements/contracts as performing the SR&ED work, the MPC cannot submit the SR&ED claim. The physicians, however, may submit the SR&ED claim for themselves.

Physicians as independent contractors (unincorporated business)

Independent physicians may directly submit an SR&ED claim for themselves when:

  • The medical research was carried out by physicians themselves or their employees.
  • The medical research was performed on behalf of another party AND the physician has incurred SR&ED expenditures that have not been reimbursed.  

Physicians may include salaries and benefits payable to their employees in the SR&ED claim but salaries or drawings paid or payable to sole proprietors or their partners are not deductible.

How do physicians/MPCs need to prepare for the SR&ED claim?

Sufficient project documentation is critical to support the eligibility of an SR&ED claim. The claimant must be prepared to present documentation that clearly shows whether the claimant performed the SR&ED work for themselves or on behalf of another party, which entity incurred the SR&ED related expenses, and the detailed breakdown of the medical research activities undertaken. The CRA recommends that all agreements be in writing. Where there are no written agreements, claimants should provide alternative evidence that demonstrates which party is legally responsible for performing the research.

Here are the main types of documentation required:

  • Research-related documents: These are documents and records showing the work performed. An example of research documentation shows a detailed account of the research, developments, challenges, and learnings throughout the project. 
  • Financial documents: These are documents and records that show the SR&ED expenditures incurred. These include material cost, labour activities and subcontractor quotes/invoices.
  • Relationship-contractual agreements: These are contracts and other documents that show the clear legal relationships and terms of the agreement between the physicians and/or their MPCs and other parties. These contractual agreements should describe the nature of the SR&ED work, the associated payments, and the ownership of the resultant knowledge.
  • Other documents: These are documents that can be considered as another source of information to support a claim. For example, e-mails or signed attestations describing terms of the SR&ED work may be considered as supporting documents.

What are eligible sub-sectors?

Medical sub-sectors that are eligible for claiming SR&ED tax incentives include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical devices and Biomaterials
  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • Neuroscience and Neural Imaging
  • Radiology and Nuclear medicines
  • Dentistry and Oral Medicine
  • Medical and Biomedical Engineering
  • Pediatrics
  • Telemedicine and Medical voice assistants
  • Genetic Medicines Therapeutics and Pharmacogenomics
  • Oncology Research
  • Big Health Data
  • Public Health Management
  • Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
  • Precision Medicine
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Anaesthesiology, Pharmaceuticals, and Toxicology

Trends and priorities constantly change across all aspects of health, which calls for continuous research and development to propel innovations in health and medicine.

To learn more about how to claim SR&ED tax incentives for medical research activities, contact us today for a free consultation.

Authored by Rebecca Galicha, Technical Writer at NorthBridge Consultants.

Funding Opportunity for Ontario Companies Supporting Local Grain Farmers

Innovation in Canada is constantly being encouraged across all sectors of business as new technologies and processes can significantly improve production, jobs and profits. The farming sector in Ontario is no exception. With Ontario’s grain farmers responsible for growing 6 million acres of crops across the province, employing more than 40,000 workers and generating more than $9 billion in economic output, farming innovation is paramount in advancing provincial and federal interests.

2020 Grains Innovation Fund

For this reason, Grain Farmers of Ontario, which represents 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers, is offering the 2020 Grains Innovation Fund grant to support organizations involved in developing novel uses for Ontario grains. Companies with projects that satisfy the eligibility criteria for the fund can receive up to 60% of the cost of the project, up to a maximum of $50,000. Since the official launch of the Grains Innovation Fund in 2010, $1.2 million in funding has supported 45 projects, making it a great funding opportunity for companies dealing in the area of local grains.

New initiatives and growth opportunities are being offered this year by the fund to include an even larger scope of applicants and products after last year’s success stories in marketing and blockchain projects.

Eligible Costs:

  • Marketing activities and promotional materials (i.e. website design, social media, brochures, handouts, pop-up signs, banners).
  • Advertising and Consultant fees.
  •  Product development (i.e. formulation testing, focus groups, sensory panels).
  • Capital expenditures (new equipment for the sole purpose of carrying out this project only. NOTE: Capital expenditures on land, buildings or vehicles are NOT eligible.

Eligible applicants:

To qualify for funding from the Grains Innovation Fund, a company must demonstrate that their project utilizes a minimum of 40 metric tonnes per year of Ontario barley, corn, oats, soybeans and wheat crops or crop residues, while also meeting at least one of the following criteria:

  • Open new markets for Ontario grains or grain residues;
  • Expand the use of, and demand for, Ontario grains or grain residues;
  • Promote Ontario grains or grain residues as the best choice;
  • Identity preserve varieties for novel uses;
  • And/or increase the value (premiums) of Ontario grains or grain residues.

Apply for the 2020 Grains Innovation Fund

Applications for the Grains Innovation Fund must be submitted by 4pm on Friday, November 1st, 2019.

If you have any other questions about The Grains Innovation Fund or other programs to maximize your funding potential, please contact NorthBridge Consultants for a free consultation.

Authored by Philip Finkelstein, Technical Writer at NorthBridge Consultants.

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