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The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund supports regional economic development by creating jobs, attracting private sector investment and promoting innovation, collaboration and cluster development in Southwestern Ontario.
For the purposes of the SWODF program, “Southwestern Ontario” is defined as the following 17 geographic areas under the Territorial Divisions Act, 2002: Brant, Bruce, Chatham-Kent, Dufferin, Elgin, Essex, Grey, Haldimand, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Niagara, Norfolk, Oxford, Perth, Waterloo, Wellington.
The fund is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. There are two funding streams, one for established businesses and a regional stream for economic development organisations including municipalities.
Under the business stream, the fund may provide up to 15% of eligible project costs to a maximum grant of $1.5 million. For project investments of $10+ million that create 50+ jobs, funding may be available in the form of a secured repayable loan, to a maximum of $5 million in provincial support.
Under the regional stream, the fund may provide up to 50% of eligible project costs to a maximum grant of $1.5 million.
Stacking with other provincial programs is not permitted under either funding streams.
In order to be eligible for the business stream, businesses must:
Employ at least 10 people and meet minimum job creation thresholds as outlined in the Business Application Guide
Be able to provide 3 years of financial statements
Be part of an eligible sector
Be located in, or plan to locate in Southwestern Ontario
Have a multi year project that involves a minimum investment of $500,000 in eligible project costs.
Businesses with 5-10 employees may be eligible under the Small Community Pilot.
Projects considered for the regional stream must:
Be focused on economic and business development and job creation initiatives in the community/region.
Align with provincial and regional priorities
Have a multi year project that involves a minimum investment of $100,000
Be used for activities that are new or incremental to the organization.
For a full list of eligibility requirements (including eligible costs) refer to the Application Guide (Business or Regional) or contact a regional staff person.
Applications are accepted on a continuous intake basis.
All applicants are encouraged to start by contacting a regional staff person for guidance in developing their application.
Applicants must complete and submit an Eligibility Checklist. This provides the ministry with an opportunity to get back to you to confirm the eligibility of your organization and project.
Once deemed eligible, refer to the Application Guidebook and complete the full application forms.
Projects are assessed on:
For more information about the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund including criteria, eligibility, application forms and program contacts, please contact:
Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment
Regional Economic Development and Co-ordination Branch
Toll Free: 800-265-4743
Exeter Road Complex
659 Exeter Rd
London ON N6E 1L3
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