BRANTFORD, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 4, 2012) - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced today 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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This news release is available online at: www.actionplan.gc.ca.
Contribution to the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation
FedDev Ontario is providing a $20-million investment through its Prosperity Initiative that will support two funds for innovation and growth in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural and urban communities across southern Ontario.
This investment will provide a $12-million fund in the west and an $8-million fund in the east. These funds, known as the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) will be delivered by southern Ontario's regional Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) networks: the Eastern CFDC Network and the Western CFDC Network. The CFDC Networks are private, non-profit organizations whose mandates are to encourage the development, implementation and maintenance of local initiatives that promote community development, job creation and the growth of SMEs.
In their first two years, the SOFII funds will provide loans to approximately 80 southern Ontario SMEs, creating or maintaining over 700 full-time jobs. The Networks will provide business loans valued between $150,000 and $500,000 to address all aspects of innovative SME growth challenges, including: late stage commercialization; new product or service development; new applications or markets; and development or implementation of new processes or technologies.
In addition, the funds will continue to create jobs and be self-sustaining over the medium to long term, and will be reinvested into the communities through innovative SMEs again and again.
The SOFII funds will help to increase the competitiveness of southern Ontario businesses, the economic diversification of southern Ontario communities and to create high-value jobs.
For more information on the funds, please visit http://www.SOFII.ca.
FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative is designed to encourage businesses, not-for-profit organizations and post-secondary institutions in southern Ontario to undertake projects that will result in a more productive, diversified and competitive economy in the region.
Funding is available for projects that:
- enhance productivity by accelerating the adoption of new technologies, processes and skills to enhance businesses and sectors in southern Ontario to achieve higher output in relation to their investments;
- diversify the regional economy by increasing the number of new industries or opportunities in southern Ontario communities or regions with the potential to have long-term impacts on their economic diversity; and
- build a competitive advantage for southern Ontario by building on the assets and strengths of southern Ontario businesses and regions to create or expand economic clusters and enhance their global competitiveness.
Applications for Prosperity Initiative funding are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis. For more information and to apply, please refer to the Program Guidelines available on the website at www.feddevontario.gc.ca.