- Interest-free repayable loans and non-repayable grants
- Focused on supporting business and economic development
- Four intake periods per year
The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund supports regional economic development by providing financial support and services to help companies in southwestern Ontario with growing their business, improving productivity, investing in innovation and skills development and expanding into new markets. The Fund supports both business projects and community economic development projects.
Business projects can receive loans of up to 15% funding to a maximum of $5M, interest free during the project period (up to 4 years). If you achieve your investment and job targets, up to 30% of the loan (to a maximum of $500,000) may be forgiven. The funding cannot be stacked with other provincial programs.
Grants are available only for specific circumstances, up to 15% to a maximum:
- Of $500,000 if your company has fewer than 100 employees and is based in rural Ontario (population of your community is less than 100,000 or population density is less than 100 people per square kilometre)
- Of $1,500,000 for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments or from companies competing against other jurisdictions
Eligible projects involve investment in existing operations to improve competitiveness, productivity and pursue new markets or business expansions involving the introduction of new products or services. Expenses can include:
- Project facility modifications/upgrades
- Equipment and machinery
- One-time internal labour
- One-time material costs
- Specialized expertise
- Skills training
- Project-related permits or fees.
Eligible business projects must meet the following criteria:
- Firm must be for profit, registered to carry out business in Ontario, and have at least 10 FTE employees (5 if business is located in a rural community)
- Firm must be located in, or plan to be located in, an eligible region in Southwestern Ontario
- Firm must have at least three years of substantial operating experience supported by financial statements.
- Firm must commit to creating at least 5 new jobs (or 30% increase for companies with fewer than 15 employees)
- Firm must be planning a 3-4 year project that involves a minimum investment of $500,000 in eligible project costs (or $200,000 if you are in rural Ontario)
SWODF offers four intake periods per year.