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How it works

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund provides support for projects and investments to businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for economic development in southwestern Ontario.

SWODF is a fund designed to help businesses create new jobs, and invest in new technologies, equipment or skills training for workers. It will also support economic development projects that will attract or retain investment in Ontario-based industries and communities.

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.

Business projects

To be eligible, businesses need to:

  • have at least 3 years of operations/financial statements
  • employ at least 10 people (or 5 if you are in rural Ontario)
  • commit to creating at least 5 new jobs (or 30% increase for companies with fewer than 15 employees)
  • invest at least $500,000 in their project (or $200,000 if you are in rural Ontario) 
  • be located in, or plan to locate in, a community in southwestern Ontario

Types of support

Funding

Funding amount

Up to 15% of eligible project costs.

Loans

Up to 15% funding to a maximum of $5M, interest free during the project period (up to 4 years). If you achieve your investment and job targets, up to 30% of the loan (to a maximum of $500,000) may be forgiven.

Grants

Grants are available only for specific circumstances, up to 15% to a maximum:

  • Of $500,000 if your company has fewer than 100 employees and is based in rural Ontario (population of your community is less than 100,000 or population density is less than 100 people per square kilometre)
  • Of $1,500,000 for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments or from companies competing against other jurisdictions (in limited circumstances)

Restrictions

You are not allowed to combine (or “stack”) Southwestern Ontario Development funding with other provincial programs.

Application Periods

Application Period 8 2021-22

Application opening:
October 27, 2021 – December 14, 2021

Eligibility checklists (recommend submission for this intake period before):
December 1, 2021

*Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their eligibility checklist a minimum of 10 business days in advance of the application deadline so that they have enough time to register and complete their full applications, if deemed eligible.

Application deadline: December 14, 2021

Application assessment period (60 business days):
December 16, 2021 – March 16, 2022

Notification date (last day to notify applicants):
March 16, 2022

Application Period 9 2022

Application opening:
February 9 - March 23, 2022

Eligibility checklists (recommend submission for this intake period before):
March 9, 2022

*Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their eligibility checklist a minimum of 10 business days in advance of the application deadline so that they have enough time to register and complete their full applications, if deemed eligible.

Application deadline:
March 23, 2022

Application assessment period (60 business days):
March 28, 2022 – June 23, 2022

Notification date (last day to notify applicants):
June 23, 2022