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.

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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.