Rural innovation and growth in Southern Ontario

FedDev Ontario is dedicating $100 million over the next three years, from its funding streams, for projects in rural southern Ontario that:

  • Promote business scale-up and diversification;
  • Lead to increased business, talent and investment attractions
  • Foster innovation, technology adoption and digital connectivity;
  • Leverage local assets;
  • Connect smaller communities to the globally competitive economies.

Support is available to businesses, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, economic development organizations, including Community Futures Development Corporations that are driving innovation and growth, municipalities and other innovation enablers located in rural southern Ontario.

Scope & Objectives

The Community Economic Development and Diversification Stream aims to develop, diversify and transform local economies by promoting small business development, community innovation and strategic collaborations.

Through this Stream, FedDev Ontario seeks to enable communities to leverage their economic strengths and unique assets to:

  • Enhance business attraction, investment, retention and employment opportunities in southern Ontario communities.
  • Develop and expand collaborative efforts that strengthen regional competitiveness.
  • Support regional businesses, hubs and communities with the goal of economic diversification, integration and transformation.

FedDev Ontario will make targeted investments to support the development and diversification of communities, including those in transition or facing economic hardship and decline. These investments aim to generate sustainable, inclusive growth and help small and rural communities in southern Ontario to fully participate in, and benefit from economic opportunities.

II. Eligible Activities

FedDev Ontario is targeting investments structured around the following activities:

Strengthening Community Ecosystems

Projects will normally enable not-for-profit organizations to improve economic outcomes by addressing gaps or opportunities in the community, and support the advancement of underrepresented groups.

Examples of eligible project activities could include:

  • Developing and/or expanding collaborations that: connect smaller communities with larger firms or supply chains in urban centres, innovation centres, business consortia or other innovation platforms; enable communities or firms to work with post-secondary and research institutions; and/or, support small communities to attract investment to their region.
  • Business attraction, growth and retention programs and services, including supply chain development and succession planning.
  • Business incubators and accelerators addressing needs at a sub-regional or community level.
  • Supporting businesses through programs and services, including training and mentoring.
  • Development of new technologies, processes, prototypes, testbeds and/or commercially relevant technology platforms.
  • Improving the availability of risk capital in the region, including by establishing or capitalizing an investment fund.
  • The implementation of community and/or regional action plans.

Businesses Supporting Resilient Communities

Projects will normally support legally incorporated businesses that foster community economic diversification and transformation. These projects would improve productivity, capacity and competiveness of businesses to increase employment and growth opportunities, as well as enhance the resilience of communities.

Examples of eligible project activities could include:

  • Facilities improvement or expansion to support greater economic diversification.
  • Adoption of new equipment.
  • Market development, diversification and expansion.

Other activities deemed reasonable to support the transformation and diversification for communities facing economic challenges.

We can help with your strategy & submission:

Western Ontario Community Futures Development Corporation Association (WOCDFCA) set up by FedDev Ontario aims to support the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises in southwestern Ontario. It offers business services & business financing to small & medium-sized startup companies in Southwestern Ontario.

WOCFDCA has 20 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) located throughout Southwestern Ontario that have been helping owners of small to medium-sized businesses for over 25 years

At WOCFDCA, they actively encourage and pursue ways to assist small to medium businesses in Southwestern Ontario through the implementation of the Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs). There are 20 of these CFDCs located throughout the region in order to help enterprises grow in relation to the needs of their communities.

Each CFDC has personal mandates that are specific within the community in which they serve. However, similar goals of each CFDC include the desire to create jobs, help small and medium business owners thrive, and implement initiatives that will promote community development.

The CFDC program is nothing new. Organizations like these have been in operation throughout Southwestern Ontario for over 25 years. Until just recently, these CFDCs collaborated on an as-needed basis and worked together in smaller regions. However, on September 29, 2011, twenty of these CFDCs made the decision to combine three of their regions and form WOCFDCA.

Now that the efforts of the CFDCs throughout the region have been combined, their approach to helping business owners in their communities is more standardized and successful. However, each CFDC is still operated in accordance with the needs of those that come to them. For example, each CFDC is composed of a board of directors that come from the same community in which they serve. This way, the programs and services that each individual CFDC offers local businesses are catered to the needs of those living in their community.

#funding #entrepreneurship #financing #investing #impactinvesting #sdgs #socialimpact #socialentrepreneurship #mba #consulting #thesectorinc #bradfordturner #wbs

During the Ontario 2021 Budget, it was announced that a pool of funding would be allocated through the creation of a new funding agency called Invest Ontario. This new agency is being built to increase Ontario’s global competitiveness in attracting businesses from around the world to establish themselves in the province.

Ontario is Open for Business.

Invest Ontario will be the central agency for businesses and investors to discover what others from around the province and globe have already realized – that Ontario is a top-tier destination for investment and strategic business growth. The new agency will drive greater economic growth, support strategic domestic firms and attract business from around the world.

Whether already located in Ontario and looking to grow, or considering Ontario for the first time, Invest Ontario will provide the business development and planning expertise needed business thrive. By investing in Ontario, companies will benefit directly from Ontario’s high quality of life, highly skilled talent pool, competitive business costs, access to global markets and strong innovation ecosystem.

As Ontario continues to reopen for business, Invest Ontario will initially focus on three strategic sectors where the province has a global competitive advantage — advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and technology — all while moving at the speed of business. .

Invest Ontario Board Members

The Chair of Invest Ontario is Elyse Allan, an accomplished executive with experience in driving growth, technology, and innovation. The board members have been chosen to help bring extensive experience and expertise in advanced manufacturing, technology, and life science sectors that serve as initial areas of focus for the agency. These board members include Anna Barrett, Janet Ecker, Ernie Eves, Cecil Hawkins, Andrew MacLeod, Joseph S. Mancinelli, Gadi Mayman, Carmine Nigro, Ajay Virmani, and James Wallace.

These members will report to Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and will advise on key opportunities to showcase the province’s unique value propositions in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

In this session, socially purposed entrepreneurs will gain insight into strategies and approaches to measure their impact.

About this Event

How can you tell If your brilliant idea to change the world is working? Impact measurement, although sometimes difficult, is vital for us to communicate to our stakeholders (customers, beneficiaries, key partners, donors, and/or investors) and confirm if the world-changing idea is doing just that. Socially purposed organizations and entrepreneurs are invited to hear about an organization’s learnings and the results of transitioning to data-driven service delivery. Attendees will gain insight into strategies and approaches to measure their impact.

Learn more about the speakers

About Robbie Babins, CEO, Calgary Counselling Center

Over the course of her 35-year career, Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, PhD, RSW, has transformed the way Albertans receive, perceive and deliver mental health services. With her outstanding leadership as CEO of Calgary Counselling Centre, she has been leading the industry and the province in best practices in mental health services, stigma reduction, research and training. An entrepreneur and innovator in the field of mental health, Robbie has worked to ensure that Albertans have access to effective and affordable mental health programs. Since 1986, her extensive contributions have led to fundamental changes within the mental health sector.

About Bradford Turner, Founder and Managing Director, The Sector Inc.

Bradford Turner founded the Sector Inc. in 2015 and is now the Managing Director. He has provided guidance and counsel to social enterprises, charities, iNGO’s, and governments for over 15 years. Additionally, he has held executive leadership positions in a variety of organizations. Past roles include Executive Director at Toronto Workforce Innovation Group; Director, Impact Investments at Engineers Without Borders Canada, and Senior Manager, Impact Investing and Social Finance at Save the Children Canada.

Beena Tharakan, Principal Consultant, The Sector Inc.

Beena Tharakan is Principal Consultant at The Sector Inc with over 15 years of experience at IBM, Deloitte and EY providing management consulting across the health and human services sectors to provide strategic and operational advice on improvement and innovation initiatives. She is currently completing an advanced academic program in Government Analytics at Johns Hopkins University. Beena understands the power of data in shaping programs to create positive, sustainable social impacts and is passionate about harnessing data science for social good. She has a wealth of experience advising government, policy makers and service providers on program design. She fully appreciates the benefit of using innovative technologies to produce meaningful analysis for evidence-based decision-making.

Register here:

#impactivesting #socialenterprise #venturecapital #fundraising #publicsector #consulting #mba #wbs #toronto #canada #sdgs #socialinnovation #thesectorinc #bradfordturner #beenatharakan

“The Coldest Night of the Year is a moment when tens of thousands of Canadians step outside the warmth and comfort of home and shine a light of welcome and inclusion.”

It’s cold out there during the winter in Canada. The Coldest Night of the Year was a covid-safe, family-friendly walk to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger. Normally an in-person experience, the walk with us on February 20, 2021 was a virtual one and we are so thrilled that this year, The Sector Inc was a sponsor!

Homelessness should be process not a destination. Often once we see it we are too late. Homelessness is often in plain sight and we are unaware of the situation that is about to unfold. Many factors that lead to homelessness are sudden job loss, financial crisis, mental health issues and substance abuse. Prevention and diversion is often the key.

Blue Door Shelters is the largest emergency housing provider in York Region, Blue Door supports people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness to attain and retain affordable housing. Youth, men, and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness come from a variety of backgrounds and face challenging life circumstances including job loss, eviction, mental illnesses, and much more.

To meet the unique needs of vulnerable individuals, Blue Door offers 3 emergency housing locations, second stage housing to provide longer-term supports, and job training through Construct.

Despite popular belief, homelessness can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity or status. It is not just a problem affecting drug users or alcoholics but anyone can face poverty and homelessness during difficult financial hardships. Out of the Cold has improved the lives of many who find themselves on the street during difficult times.

Our team at The Sector Inc is honored and humbled to be part of this good work!

#socialimpact #impactinvesting #sdgs #thesectorinc #bradfordturner #charity #socialinnovation #irp #wbs #mba #consulting

About this Event

There are many ways to fund your social enterprise, from equity to loans. Different tools can be used to accomplish various milestones based on your corporate structure and goals. Join us with speakers from The Sector Inc. and Social Enterprise Fund to learn more about the tools available to fund your social enterprise and knowing when to use them.


  • Bradford Turner, Founder and Managing Director, The Sector Inc (left)
  • Jane Bisbee, Executive Director, The Social Enterprise Fund (right)

About Bradford Turner

Bradford Turner founded the Sector Inc. in 2015 and is now the Managing Director. He has provided guidance and counsel to social enterprises, charities, iNGO’s, and governments for over 15 years. Additionally, he has held executive leadership positions in a variety of organizations. Past roles include Executive Director at Toronto Workforce Innovation Group; Director, Impact Investments at Engineers Without Borders Canada, and Senior Manager, Impact Investing and Social Finance at Save the Children Canada.

About Jane Bisbee

A focus of Jane Bisbee’s career has been the development of non-traditional financing mechanisms for small business, particularly through her role as executive director of The Social Enterprise Fund for the past 9 years. Additionally Jane has spent many years building industry capacity in the cultural industries, in particular Alberta’s film industry which presented her a lifetime achievement award in 2006.

Register here:

#impactinvesting #socialenterprise #sdgs #wbs #thesectorinc #funding #entrepreneurship #thesectorinc #bradfordturner #toronto #consulting #mba #socialinnovation #venturecapital

The Skills Development Fund will support projects that will help relieve pandemic-induced barriers to hiring, training and retaining workers.

The ministry is seeking projects that will enable market-driven solutions and unlock the economic potential of skilled trades and broader workforce development initiatives to facilitate the province’s economic recovery.

Applications are now open for the Ontario government’s new two-year $115 million Skills Development Fund. The fund, which will support workers and apprentices, is specifically designed to address the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and help reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining while preparing workers for the province’s economic recovery.

We can help with your strategy & submission:

The Skills Development Fund will accept applications from a wide range of employment and training organizations in Ontario, and the focus will be on:

  • giving laid-off workers immediate access to training supports or new jobs
  • improving the quality of training
  • reaching out to traditionally underrepresented groups
  • increasing apprentice registrations and completion
  • better serving local communities
  • supporting the talent needs of small businesses

Examples of projects from the fund could include: a digital career fair that allows employers to connect with job seekers impacted by COVID-19, mentorship programs and career counselling for apprentices while they are training on-the-job, the creation of training materials that teach employers how to accommodate employees who have disabilities, and making workspaces and equipment more accessible.

Applicants, including employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, community organizations and others can now submit proposals beginning today, until February 28, 2021.

We can help with your strategy & submission:

#funding #socialinnovation #workforcedevelopment #ontario #toronto #fundraising #consulting #strategy #impactinvesting #socialfinance #sdgs #sustainability #thesectorinc

Ontario is helping businesses recover costs for personal protective equipment and providing extra support for businesses required to close or significantly restrict services as a result of provincial public health measures.

Overview of available funding

Your business can apply online for funding from one or more of the following initiatives:

Ontario Small Business Support Grant – The new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will help small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the new Provincewide Shutdown. The Province is providing up to $20,000 for Eligible Businesses Impacted by Provincewide Shutdown.

The Ontario government has opened applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The grant, first announced in December, provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to eligible small businesses who have had to restrict their operations due to the Provincewide Shutdown. The tightened restrictions were put in place to help stop the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario.

Small businesses required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for a one-time grant and use this funding in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business needs. For example, some businesses could need support paying employee wages, while others could need support with their rent.

Eligible small businesses include those that:

Were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26.

Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level.

Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Businesses impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown are also eligible for additional supports, including the government’s program to provide rebates to offset fixed costs such as property tax and energy bills. These rebates will continue to be available for businesses impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown and earlier restrictions.

More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and other rebates is available on

Quick Facts

The businesses must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. This time period was selected because it reflects the impact of the public health measures in spring 2020, and as such provides a representation of the possible impact of these latest measures on small businesses.

New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria. They will be able to select alternative months for comparing revenue decline through the application portal. In addition, winter seasonal businesses, such as ski hills, will be permitted to compare revenue from December 2019 or January 2020 to December 2020.

The 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover outlined more than $13.5 billion in support for people and jobs. The government is also investing $4.8 billion to address critical areas to support a strong long-term recovery that helps workers, employers and communities get back on their feet, while building the foundation for recovery and growth.

#funding #socialimpact #ontario #government #impactinvesting #sdgs #socialinnovation #entrepreneurship #socialentrepreneurship #strategy #consulting #mba #wbs #thesectorinc

Scope & Objectives

The Regional Innovation Ecosystem stream aims to create, grow and develop strong and inclusive regional ecosystems that support business growth and innovation, as well as the entrepreneurial environment necessary to foster more innovative regional economies and increase the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

We can help with your strategy & submission:

Through this Stream, FedDev Ontario seeks to:

  • Grow and sustain strategic clusters and consortia to leverage regional strengths and support businesses to scale up and commercialize innovative products, technologies and services.
  • Enhance the development and reach of business accelerators and incubators, and other organizations, which support entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovative companies with high-growth potential.
  • Support projects led by innovation-oriented organizations to increase and promote business productivity and global competiveness, and investment and talent attraction.

FedDev Ontario will make targeted investments in not-for-profit organizations that provide support to businesses at each stage of development in areas where Canada and southern Ontario has the potential to have a leadership position and opportunities for growth. Investments made through FedDev Ontario’s Regional Innovation Ecosystem Stream will further enhance the capacity of ecosystems to support underrepresented groups, including women, Indigenous peoples and young entrepreneurs, promoting their entrepreneurial talent.

Expected Results

FedDev Ontario is results oriented. Projects supported through this Stream, and FedDev Ontario’s other programming streams, work towards achieving one or more of the following departmental results:

  • Businesses in southern Ontario invest in the development and commercialization of innovative technologies.
  • Businesses in southern Ontario are innovative and growing.
  • Communities are economically diversified in southern Ontario.


I. Eligible Applicants are not-for-profit organizations that may include:

  • A group or an alliance such as an industry association or consortium
  • Post-secondary institutions
  • Innovation centres
  • Business accelerators and incubators
  • Angel networks
  • Indigenous organizations
  • Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs)
  • Co-operatives
  • Municipalities and other municipal-type organizations
  • Other not-for-profit organizations, as determined on a case-by-case basis

To be considered eligible, all applicants must be located in southern Ontario.

All eligible applicants must be legal entities capable of entering into legally binding agreements.

To be considered eligible for funding, applicants must demonstrate:

  • Evidence of project funding.
  • Managerial, technical, operational and financial capacity to achieve the project’s stated objectives in a timely manner.
  • Market/industry demand (e.g., how the project addresses a significant gap in the market; global opportunity to be seized within Canada; and evidence that southern Ontario is uniquely positioned to capture market share).
  • A viable project plan with achievable outcomes, supported by verifiable cost estimates.

Projects that address significant gaps at a sub-regional or community-level may be considered under FedDev Ontario’s Stream 3: Community Economic Development and Diversification.

Applicants may also be required to demonstrate how their project will be self-sustaining upon the completion of the project. For project proposals that will result in the creation of a new ongoing program/service, applicants may be required to demonstrate the financial sustainability of the new program/service beyond the project completion date (i.e., sustainable business model and/or a plan for generating revenue in order to grow or maintain service levels).

II. Eligible Activities

FedDev Ontario is targeting investments structured around the following activities:

Growing Clusters and Consortia

Cluster and consortia projects bring together multiple stakeholders, such as businesses, industry associations, Indigenous economic development corporations, post-secondary and research institutions, and all levels of government. These projects will normally have strong industry participation, support the translation of leading-edge innovation into high-growth entrepreneurship, and focus on areas where southern Ontario has an innovation advantage and/or there are global opportunities.

Examples of eligible project activities could include:

  • Development of commercially-relevant technology platforms, innovation assets, tools and testbeds.
  • Applied research and product development, and support for adoption or integration into markets.
  • Technology transfer including validation of the need, training and implementation of a new technology.
  • Technological adoption for new industrial applications and/or entry into new markets.
  • Encouraging first buyers for new products developed within the cluster or consortia.

Ecosystem Capacity Building

Ecosystem capacity building projects will normally be led by a business accelerator, incubator, angel network, industry association, economic development organization or similar capacity builder, to support firm growth and entrepreneurial activity, strengthen global competitiveness, and/or attract investment and talent to southern Ontario. These projects will normally develop or expand regional capacity to address gaps and target priority growth sectors in areas of comparative advantages at the global, national or regional levels.

Examples of eligible project activities could include:

  • Business and market development and/or expansion programs and services.
  • Commercialization services, networking and mentoring opportunities.
  • Financing programs and support.
  • Business innovation support services for women, Indigenous peoples and young entrepreneurs.
  • Improving the availability of risk capital to address a need in the region.
  • Innovative models to support the first sale of new products and services.
  • Training needed to support the adoption or adaptation of innovative technologies, processes and practices.
  • Enhancing investment attraction, export readiness and market diversification.
  • Facilitating supply chain development.

III. Eligible Costs

Eligible costs for project activities may include:

  • Labour
  • Expertise
  • Non-Capital
  • Capital

All costs must be reasonable and directly related to the eligible project activities.

IV. Ineligible and/or Unsupported Costs include:

Any costs deemed not reasonable and/or not directly related to the eligible project activities.

Activities in support of regular maintenance and/or ongoing operation costs.

Costs typically supported by federal/provincial transfer payments.

Cost incurred prior to the eligibility date as defined in the contribution agreement.

Costs incurred after the Project completion date listed in the contribution agreement.

Any cost that is ineligible under the contribution agreement.

Acquisition of land and buildings.

Costs that result in direct benefits to a single or small number of private firms, unless specifically associated with an approved activity related to the delivery of service or program under the proposed project.

V. Ineligible Projects

Projects that have been approved for funding under Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund will normally not be supported under this Stream.


Preference will be given to projects which respond to issues and opportunities identified by FedDev Ontario. These may include priority sectors and strategic clusters, or projects that reinforce Ontario’s economic and innovation strengths in areas of comparative advantages at the regional, national or global level.

Projects that support the government’s commitment to inclusive growth (i.e., women, Indigenous peoples and LGBTQ2+ communities) and Official Language Minority Communities may be given priority.

Consideration may also be given to projects based on geographic priorities and need.


The Regional Innovation Ecosystem stream will normally target investments that range from $500,000 to $10 million. On an exceptional basis, FedDev Ontario may approve funding amounts outside of this range.

Applicants are normally eligible to receive up to 50 percent of eligible and supported costs. On an exceptional basis, FedDev Ontario may consider projects eligible for up to 100 percent of eligible and supported project costs.

For projects involving redistribution of funding to SMEs, the ultimate recipients (SMEs) must provide minimum 50 percent cash contribution. The maximum disbursement of a contribution that provides funding to SMEs as their ultimate recipient is capped at a maximum of $100,000 per SME under a FedDev Ontario project with a not-for-profit organization.

Government stacking up to 100% is allowed for the Regional Innovation Ecosystem Stream.

FedDev Ontario support is not intended to replace or duplicate funding available from other funding sources, including private-sector and/or government programs.

Financial assistance from government programs may have tax implications for an organization. It is recommended that applicants obtain advice from a qualified tax professional.

We can help with your strategy & submission:

#funding #federal #canada #innovation #business #socialenterprise #impactinvesting #socialinnovation #mba #consulting #wbs #sdgs #nonprofit #fundraising #thesectorinc