Investing in Business Innovation - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives?
  2. What is the Investing in Business Innovation initiative?
  3. How is IBI different from the previous iteration of this program?
  4. Can previous IBI recipients or unfunded applicants apply?
  5. What types of projects are eligible?
  6. What types of activities will be funded under IBI?
  7. Who is eligible for funding?
  8. How do I apply?
  9. I am having trouble opening the application. How do I access it?
  10. What is the deadline for applications?
  11. How will projects be assessed?
  12. When will I find out if my project has been approved?
  13. When do projects need to be completed?
  14. How many applications can an organization or company submit?
  15. What costs will be supported under IBI?
  16. Do I need an environmental assessment completed for my project?
  17. Will multi-year projects be considered for funding?
  18. How will intellectual property be managed?
  19. Can we apply to IBI if we already receive or have received government funding through a similar initiative?
  20. If my project is funded, what are the next steps?
  21. How will the Government of Canada flow funding to recipients?
  22. Will this initiative have any tax implications for my business?
  23. How do I get more information about IBI?
  24. How will the Government of Canada ensure appropriate accountability for the use of public funds?
  25. Will any more economic development funding be available in southern Ontario?
  26. Would it benefit me to use a consultant to complete my program funding application?
  27. Can I use a past employee of FedDev Ontario as my consultant?

1) What are the Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives?

The Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives (SOPIs) are:

Each of these initiatives is uniquely designed to help retain, attract and grow businesses in Southern Ontario to make the region globally competitive. Over $530 million in funding is available under the SOPIs.

These initiatives, created based on feedback from stakeholders, build on the Agency’s successes to-date and reinforce a continued commitment to building a strong and prosperous southern Ontario.

2) What is the Investing in Business Innovation initiative?

The Investing in Business Innovation (IBI) initiative provides mentorship, entrepreneurial support and financing to help new businesses grow and succeed. The initiative is designed to foster a more competitive southern Ontario economy by focusing on providing business support to new entrepreneurs, helping them transform their ideas into globally-competitive products and services by, and increasing their access to advice and private sector investment, and advice.

High-growth businesses and new entrepreneurs are critical to southern Ontario’s competitiveness. Support through IBI increases the potential for businesses to succeed by strengthening angel networks and encouraging the development of partnerships between early-stage businesses and investors so that entrepreneurs have the tools and capital they need to become world-leading innovators.

3) How is IBI different from the previous iteration of this program?

Based on stakeholder feedback, the focus of IBI support for early-stage companies will expand to include activities that help these businesses position themselves to commercialize world-leading innovations.

IBI will continue the Agency’s work with not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) to deliver skills development, education, and seed financing to new entrepreneurs and businesses to then make them investment ready.

Recognizing the importance of angel investor networks to early-stage companies, this iteration of IBI commits expanded support to strengthen these organizations.

4) Can previous IBI recipients or unfunded applicants apply?

Applications will be accepted from all eligible applicants and each proposal assessed on its own merits against the program’s guidelines. An applicant’s track-record with previous Agency and other government funding will be taken into consideration.

5) What types of projects are eligible?

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) will provide funding to eligible projects that:

  • Support the development of entrepreneurs, helping them to launch new start-up enterprises and supporting them to become investment-ready businesses;
  • Accelerate the commercialization of new innovative products and services within three to five years; and
  • Build the capacity of individual angel networks to attract more investors and investments while attracting and fostering more start-up enterprises seeking angel investment.

6) What types of activities will be funded under IBI?

IBI will support projects that are aligned with the initiative’s objectives. This could include activities related to:

  • Business and market development skills programs, early-stage business development programs, and seed financing programs and support;
  • Business development, including building high-performance teams, adopting best management practices, processes and systems, improving governance and investment readiness, late-stage product development geared towards market diversification and growth, customer and market development, and developing and implementing marketing and distribution strategies; and
  • Outreach, building capacity, providing mentorship, education and resource development, and coordination and convening.

7) Who is eligible for funding?

There are three streams for funding under IBI.

Not-For-Profit Organizations

Incorporated NFPs such as, Regional Innovation Centres, incubators, accelerators, angel networks and Community Futures Development Corporations located in southern Ontario are eligible to apply for projects related to providing skills development, education, and seed financing to new entrepreneurs and businesses to help them to be investment ready.

Eligible applicants will be considered for a non-repayable contribution to a maximum of $20 million per project for up to 100 percent of eligible costs. Funding of up to $10,000 per new entrepreneur may be provided for business training, and matching funding to new start-up entrepreneurs will cover up to 50 percent of eligible costs to start a business up to a maximum of $30,000.

Early-Stage Businesses

Canadian-incorporated companies located in southern Ontario with funding commitments from angel/venture capital investors, employing fewer than 50 full-time equivalent positions whose projects meet the initiative’s requirements are eligible to apply for funding under IBI.

Eligible early-stage business applicants will be considered for a repayable contribution to a maximum of $1 million per project for up to one-third (33 1/3 percent) of eligible costs.

Angel Networks

Incorporated NFP network associations representing angel investors in southern Ontario and located in southern Ontario whose activities support the growth of investment funds for southern Ontario start-ups.

Eligible applicants will be considered for a non-repayable contribution to a maximum of $500,000 for up to 100 percent of eligible costs.

For specific details regarding the types of organizations eligible for funding under IBI, please see IBI Guidelines.

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8) How do I apply?

There is a single-phase application process in which applicants must submit the following:

  1. A completed application form; and
  2. Mandatory information requirements for for-profit applicants, angel investor networks or not-for-profit applicants applying for new entrepreneurs funding.

Incomplete applications cannot be assessed and may be deemed ineligible.

Applicants should refer to the Application Process section of the program guidelines for details.

Prior to submitting an application, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Agency at 1-866-593-5505 for help with their application and to discuss other government programs that may be applicable to their opportunity.

9) I am having trouble opening the application. How do I access it?

The application is accessible through the IBI home page and linked from the Quick Links menu. The application is in PDF format and will open automatically within Internet Explorer if you click on the link. However, if you are using another browser, right-click on the link and select ‘save target as’ or ‘save link as’ to download the file to your computer before opening with a PDF reader. Please note that the PDF application has been optimized for use in a Windows environment and may not work as expected in other operating systems.

Once the application form is complete, it can be submitted electronically by clicking on the 'Submit' button at the bottom of the form. Please note that you must include the additional application information requirements for for-profit applicants, angel investor networks or not-for-profit applicants applying for new entrepreneurs funding with your application.

If you are unable to access, complete or submit your application using the online application tool, please call the toll free line at 1-866-593-5505 for an alternate format.

10) What is the deadline for applications?

The application process for IBI is ongoing. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Applications will be received until funding is fully committed.

11) How will projects be assessed?

Please see the Application Review section of the IBI Guidelines.

12) When will I find out if my project has been approved?

FedDev Ontario will notify applicants when their projects are approved for funding.

13) When do projects need to be completed?

Multi-year projects will be considered, however, all project activities must be completed by December 31, 2018.

14) How many applications can an organization or company submit?

Normally, eligible applicants will be limited to one approval under this initiative.

15) What costs will be supported under IBI?

Only costs that are reasonable, incremental and relate directly to the eligible activities will be accepted for projects funded. Hospitality costs will not be supported. Claims for reimbursement of eligible project costs will be submitted to FedDev Ontario. Examples of eligible costs include:

  • Labour
  • Expertise
  • Non-capital
  • Capital (New Business Stream 2 only – to a maximum of 25 percent of eligible costs)

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16) Do I need an environmental assessment completed for my project

Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, a project will require a federal environmental assessment only if it is a "designated project" under the Act. Designated projects are normally large scale, complex projects and those regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board. For more information about what constitutes a designated project, contact the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Applicants should also note that projects on federal land will require a determination of the potential for significant adverse environmental effects before they can be approved.

17) Will multi-year projects be considered for funding?

Multi-year projects may be considered, however, all projects must be completed by December 31, 2018.

18) How will intellectual property be managed?

Multi-year projects may be established. Multi-year agreements considered, however, all projects must be agreed upon during the application stage completed by December 31, 2018.

When submitting the application to IBI, applicants will be asked to describe measures that would be taken to ensure that any intellectual property developed as a result of the project will provide continuing benefits for southern Ontario. Applicants will also be asked to demonstrate they have sufficient rights to any intellectual property prior to the beginning of the project so as to allow it to be further developed or commercialized.

19) Can we apply to IBI if we already receive or have received government funding through a similar initiative?

FedDev Ontario will take other government funding into consideration when determining eligibility.

In no instance will the total government assistance be allowed to exceed the eligible costs. All recipients of financial assistance are required to inform FedDev Ontario before the start and at the end of a project of any other government assistance received or requested for the eligible costs of the project that are described in the contribution agreement.

Recipients must confirm with their investors whether any of their funding comes from government sources.

The contribution agreement will contain a “continuing disclosure” obligation concerning other government assistance and provides for the right of FedDev Ontario to reduce the contribution to the extent of any such assistance or require the recipient to repay.

20) If my project is funded, what are the next steps?

Following approval of your project, an environmental assessment must be completed where required. Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, your project will require a federal environmental assessment only if it is a "designated project" under the Act. Designated projects are normally large scale, complex projects and those regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board. For more information about what constitutes a designated project, contact the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Following approval of the assessment, Agency staff will develop a contribution agreement with approved recipients to outline an implementation framework; project details; repayment terms and environmental mitigation measures, if applicable; and requirements for communications and signage for funded projects.

Approved recipients must meet the terms and conditions outlined in the contribution agreement before being reimbursed for incurred costs.

21) How will the Government of Canada flow funding to recipients?

Contributions are normally paid on a reimbursement basis through signed contribution agreements, against eligible costs incurred once the project is approved and initiated.

22) Will this initiative have any tax implications for my business?

Financial assistance from government programs may have tax implications for your business. It is recommended that advice be obtained from a qualified tax professional.

23) How do I get more information about IBI?

For further information, if you have questions, or would like to talk to a program officer, please check our websitewebsite for program details,program details, email or call 1-866-593-5505.

24) How will the Government of Canada ensure appropriate accountability for the use of public funds?

Approved projects will be monitored by FedDev Ontario and recipients will be required to report quarterly on activities and outcomes as projects are being implemented.

25) Will any more economic development funding be available in southern Ontario?

The Agency has also launched the renewed Eastern Ontario Development Program, the Investing in Business Growth and Productivity initiative, the Investing in Regional Diversification initiative, and the Investing in Commercialization Partnerships initiative. Please visit our programs page for more information.

Interested parties can also subscribe to email updates on the FedDev Ontario website.

26) Would it benefit me to use a consultant to complete my program funding application?

FedDev Ontario works directly with the organization applying for funding, also known as the “named applicant” (e.g., the SME or NFP). Some organizations hire a consultant to support the preparation of a program funding application. It is not a requirement to use a consultant to apply for funding.

27) Can I use a past employee of FedDev Ontario as my consultant?

Former Government of Canada employees who work as consultants must comply with the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. After the post-employment limitation has passed, any statements made by a past employee about their ability to secure funding belongs solely to that individual.

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