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


The Community Services Block Grant [CSBG] is a federal anti-poverty program administered by the NYS Department of State DCS since 1982. Its purpose in NYS is to provide assistance to a network of Community Action Agencies [CAAs] or Community Action Programs [CAPs] and other neighborhood organizations in the reduction of poverty, revitalization of low-income communities, and to provide economic opportunities for low-income families. CSBG provides funds to 49 Community Action Agencies located throughout the state, including three Indian tribes/tribal organizations. When available, CSBG funding also supports workforce initiatives in selected regions through the NYS.

we can help with your strategy & submission:


The CSBG is implemented through a network of Community Action Agencies that provide services such as workforce development, child care and head start, weatherization, emergency food and clothing, domestic violence intervention, afterschool care, and other like services. DCS ensures program and fiscal compliance through routine on site reviews of fiscal and program services. For more information on CSBG, CSBG programming and fiscal monitoring, or the use of CSBG discretionary funding, click on the following link,, or go to the Reports, Application and Management Plans and Guides page.


Organizations which were officially designated as CAAs or CAPs under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 and were specifically designated by the 1981 CSBG Act as eligible entities to receive CSBG funds. An eligible entity may have its designation terminated if it fails to meet standards, goals, or requirements established by New York State, or if it fails to provide contractual services under the CSBG Act. [42 U.S.C. §9915] The State must initiate proceedings to terminate designation of the eligible entity or reduce its funding if a deficiency is not corrected after notice and an opportunity to be heard. [42 U.S.C. §9915(a)(5)] A determination by the State to terminate the designation or reduce the funding of an eligible entity is reviewable by the Secretary of HHS. [42 U.S.C. §9915(b)]


The Secretary of State has been designated to act as official agent of the state in administering, carrying out, and otherwise cooperating with the federal government in connection with CSBG. In addition, the Secretary allocates CSBG funds to recipients in the manner required by 42 USC §9906, assists the Governor in applying to the federal government for the state CSBG allocation, cooperates with the legislature in conducting public hearings on the use and distribution of funds, and monitors and evaluates use of funds received by the state under CSBG. [Executive Law, §159-f]


Programs are administered in accordance with the CSBG statutory purposes and goals, and in compliance with all applicable statutes, rules, regulations, policies and procedures set forth by federal and state government. To that end, all recipients of CSBG funds submit work plans and budgets detailing the programs, services, and activities to be conducted using CSBG funds. In addition, DCS implemented the Triennial Review for Accountability and Compliance with Standards (TRACS) in order to assess each eligible entity for compliance with new federal requirements. Based on review results, DCS makes recommendations to agencies for continued progress and improvement of existing conditions.

For more information on CSBG, CSBG program and fiscal monitoring, or the use of CSBG discretionary funding, click on the following link, or go to the Reports, Application and Management Plans and Guides page.

we can help with your strategy & submission:

#funding #fundraising #strategy #government #newyork #unitedstates #thesectorinc #consulting #charity #sdgs #mba #consulting #impactinvesting #socialenterprise #wbs

9 March 2017

MBA students set up consultancy to streamline public services

  • Aiming to save taxpayers thousands of pounds
  • The Sector involves students from five different countries
  • Company set-up over a pub meeting on Warwick Week

When Canadian Bradford Turner started moving the pepper and salt around the table at the Dirty Duck he had little idea that it would lead to a start-up operation whose founders span three continents.

Explaining to Elena Dimova the intricacies of the business idea Turner had been carrying around for nearly a decade – essentially a consultancy that would save taxpayers money – involved several napkins and the re-arranging of the condiments.

Explaining to Elena Dimova the intricacies of the business idea Turner had been carrying around for nearly a decade – essentially a consultancy that would save taxpayers money – involved several napkins and the re-arranging of the condiments.

Russian Elena, who works as a client specialists team leader in Thomson Reuters’s C&E and capital markets division, said: “Bradford was so passionate about this business idea, so I interrogated him about it over a drink and made him go through the business model properly – the salt and pepper were moved around a lot! ”

After seven years working for non-profit organisations and in the public sector, and seeing budgets slashed in Canada since the financial crisis, Bradford, a Distance learning MBA student, felt an opportunity had opened up for an organisation that specialised in delivering better public services in the most cost efficient way.

While working with NGO Save the Children, non-profit education organisation Junior Achievement Canada, and on various Canadian healthcare infrastructure projects, Bradford had seen how Government departments in Canada – so removed from the ground – had wasted their money on layers of inefficient bureaucracy when delivering social projects.

A niche opening was available for a consultancy that could provide Government departments a strategy to deliver more with less money, or as Bradford puts it “optimizing socioeconomic outcomes in government services by implementing integrated planning and client-focused service delivery models”.

Frederick Peters, a Research Fellow at Canada’s City Institute at York University, with a PhD in Political Science and a consulting focus on social infrastructure, partnered Bradford to grow the concept and look into building it into a business.

Dreaming in the Dirty Duck

“I had been looking at starting this firm for 10 years,” says 35-year-old Bradford. “I have the experience and the niche idea but I didn’t want to go into it without the 360 degree understanding of how to run a business, that’s why I decided to do an MBA before taking the plunge.”

Bradford signed up for Warwick Business School’s Distance learning MBA but he soon discovered he had everything he needed in the course to start his business straight away and The Sector Inc was born.

“It was a huge realisation,” says Bradford. “On the MBA I have met like-minded people from all over the world, all the advice I need is there from fellow students and academics. Also, the course has the flexibility to allow me to build a business from scratch and continue with my studies.”

At the first of six Warwick Weeks – where distance learning MBAs fly to the school from all over the world for a week of lectures – Turner got chatting at the Dirty Duck pub on the university campus with some of his classmates. And over a pint and the condiments he pitched his idea.

As well as Elena, Belgium-based Londoner Remon Fahim, Mark-Andre Casper, of Cologne, and Chafic Filfili, of Lebanon, were also recruited from his MBA class. Dimova is exploring opportunities in Russia, while Fahim is focusing on the UK operation.

Remon is also familiar with government cuts as a commercial manager with Serco, a FTSE 250 company that specialises in running outsourced public services from prisons to London’s Boris bikes.

“While on a drive down to London after a long weekend at Warwick, I was discussing my experiences in public services and community development with Bradford,” says Remon. “It became apparent that I could compliment Bradford’s NGO background with my private sector knowledge. I have spent seven years working with government departments and I immediately understood Bradford’s vision.”

With colleagues in Russia, Canada, Germany, the UK and Lebanon it can be a challenge having a management meeting, but modern technology certainly helps.

“It is hard sometimes finding a good time for conference calls,” says Bradford. “But we have to collaborate in teams on the MBA so you quickly get used to communicating via the internet, it has not been a problem.

“Thanks to the MBA I have got to know them and seen how clever they are by working on assignments together, it has allowed us to demonstrate our knowledge and skills. We are learning from each other and being from different countries means we have new markets to target, while leveraging our business networks.”

For now The Sector is concentrating on Canada and its first job saw them research and put together a feasibility study on a proposed community hub for the York Region in Southern Ontario.

“It took eight months and we produced a 150-page report assessing the viability of the community hub,” says Bradford. “Instead of having these social and community groups working separately we looked at how they could be integrated under one roof, the savings that would produce and if it would improve delivery.

“We provided a series of recommendations on how it would go ahead as we found it would produce efficiencies and improve services. Hopefully it will go ahead and that could become a blueprint for other cities.”

Turner and Peters are full-time on The Sector, while the rest of the team carry on with their jobs. They all bring different skills, Remon does the quantitative modelling and financial analysis; Chafic is the big data analyst; Mark-Andre looks after risk and governance thanks to his insurance background, while Elena has financial expertise.

“I am involved in investigating what markets there are in Russia for The Sector,” says Elena. “At the moment it is really tough fitting it in around a job and the MBA – I’m not getting much sleep. But this is an exciting opportunity and not something I dreamed of embarking on when I signed up for the MBA.”

See this story featured in the Financial Times.

Original Story:

#mba #wbs #thesectorinc #impactinvesting #socialfinance #csr #sdgs #philanthropy #sustainability