The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced on July 4 a $20-million investment in innovation funds that will support small- and medium-sized businesses in southern Ontario. Minister Goodyear was accompanied by Phil McColeman, Member of Parliament for Brant.
“Innovation is critical to creating high-value jobs and securing a prosperous future for southern Ontario communities,” said Minister Goodyear. “The investment announced today will lead to new opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses in the region, allowing them to grow, develop new products, services and technologies. This will diversify the economy, encourage greater innovation and create hundreds of jobs for southern Ontario.”
“Small and medium sized businesses in southern Ontario are ready to compete and lead in the twenty-first century global economy,” said McColeman. “With the launch of this new fund, our government is taking additional steps to encourage innovation and the creation of high quality, highly skilled jobs right across this region.”
The $20-million contribution comes through FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative. This investment will support two funds, known as the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) projects. SOFII will provide a $12-million fund in the west and an $8-million fund in the east. These two funds will be delivered by southern Ontario’s two regional Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) networks: the Western CFDC Association and the Eastern CFDC Network Inc. to both smaller rural and larger urban communities.
During the projects’ first two years, the Networks will provide business loans valued between $150,000 to $500,000 each to accelerate the growth of an estimated 80 southern Ontario small- and medium-sized businesses, which will help create or maintain over 700 full-time jobs. This will support innovation and growth in small- and medium-sized businesses in southern Ontario.
“We have heard about the difficulties small businesses can have bringing new developments to market,” said Cindy Swanson, Past-President of the Western Ontario Community Futures Development Corporation Association, Inc. “This fund will provide an opportunity for small companies to secure the financing they need and get the product to market more quickly than they otherwise might be able to.”
Dan Stanford, Chair of the Eastern Ontario CFDC Network shares this sentiment. “New products, new services and new processes often need support with that last push to the market—as do other late-stage commercialization activities,” said Stanford. “SOFII can help knowledge-based businesses do this successfully and we look forward to our role in assisting the Government of Canada to create a more productive and competitive private sector in southern Ontario.”
For more information about SOFII or the Prosperity Initiative, please refer to the backgrounder.
The investment announced today supports the Government of Canada’s science, technology, and innovation agenda, which is focused on increasing the country’s productivity, creating jobs and growing the economy.
Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region’s strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region’s businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative and diversified.
To learn more, please visit www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.
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