Investing in Business Growth and Productivity - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives?
  2. What is the Investing in Business Growth and Productivity initiative?
  3. What types of projects will be funded under IBGP?
  4. How is IBGP different from the Prosperity Initiative?
  5. How much funding is available?
  6. What types of activities will be funded under IBGP?
  7. Who is eligible?
  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 IBGP?
  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 IBGP 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 IBGP?
  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:

  • Investing in Business Innovation
  • Investing in Business Growth and Productivity
  • Investing in Commercialization Partnerships
  • Investing in Regional Diversification

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 Growth and Productivity initiative?

The Investing in Business Growth and Productivity (IBGP) initiative focuses on established businesses that have the potential to be global players with innovative and unique opportunities to accelerate growth and support job creation. Through this initiative, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) supports economic growth and job creation by helping businesses to diversify markets and expand facilities, adopt new technologies and processes to improve productivity, and increase business capacity to diversify markets and integrate into global value chains.

3) What types of projects will be funded under IBGP?

Funding is available for projects that:

  • Assist established businesses in their growth through market diversification and expanding facilities;
  • Increase business capacity to participate in global markets through market diversification and integration in global value chains.

4) How is IBGP different from the Prosperity Initiative?

While the Prosperity Initiative was successful in investing in productivity, regional diversification and cluster development, IBGP is more focused on investing in established businesses and not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow and be more productive.

With this renewed focus, NFPs supporting regional diversification can now apply for funding under the Agency’s Investing in Regional Diversification (IRD) initiative.

Post-secondary institutions focusing on cluster development can now apply for funding under the Agency’s Investing in Commercialization Partnerships (ICP) initiative.

5) How much funding is available?

Funding under this initiative is available in two streams over the next five years.

In the first stream, focusing on business growth, existing SMEs will be eligible for a repayable contribution towards eligible costs to a maximum of $20 million per project for up to 25 percent of eligible project costs.

The second stream, focusing on increasing productivity, is targeted to incorporated NFPs (including industry associations and regional economic development organizations). Under this stream, successful applicants will be eligible for a non-repayable contribution to a maximum of $20 million per project for up to 100 percent of eligible project costs.

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

IBGP will support projects that are aligned with the initiative’s objectives. Eligible activities could include:

  • Adapting or adopting new technologies, processes, and related skills development;
  • Business opportunity development, growth and integration in global value chains;
  • Facilities improvement or expansion;
  • Market development and expansion; and/or
  • Business expansion to support greater economic diversification.

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7) Who is eligible?

IBGP funding is available across two funding streams: SMEs normally with at least 15 employees, a sustainable business model and a profitable track record with the potential to become a strong global player; and incorporated NFPs, including industry associations and/or regional economic development organizations, located in southern Ontario that have a history of successful delivery of productivity enhancement initiatives to SMEs.

8) How do I apply?

For-Profit Applicants

There is a two-phased application process.

In Phase I, applicants must submit the following:

  1. A completed Statement of Intent; and
  2. Mandatory information requirements.

Incomplete applications cannot be assessed and may be deemed ineligible.

Upon written direction from FedDev Ontario that applicants may proceed to Phase II, additional details and substantiation of the Phase I information will be required. Applicants should refer to the Application Process section of the program guidelines for details.

Prior to submitting a Statement of Intent, 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.

Not-for-Profit Applicants

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

  1. A completed application form; and
  2. Mandatory information requirements.

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 IBGP 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 statement of intent or 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 statement of intent information requirements (for-profit applicants) or the application information requirements (not-for-profit applicants) with your statement of intent or 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 IBGP 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 IBGP 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.

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15) What costs will be supported under IBGP?

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

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 considered 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?

When submitting the application to IBGP, applicants will be asked to describe measures that would be taken to ensure that 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 IBGP if we already receive or have received government funding through a similar initiative?

FedDev Ontario will consider other government funding when determining eligible funding.

Contributions will be conditional upon total government assistance (as defined in the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments).

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 partners 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 a project, an environmental assessment must be completed where required. 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.

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 IBGP?

For further information, if you have questions, or would like to talk to a program officer, please check our website for 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 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 Innovation 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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