Business Growth and Competitiveness

FedNor is committed to fostering economic growth and increased competitiveness of Northern Ontario's businesses by working with community and industry stakeholders to invest in projects that improve productivity, reach new markets, facilitate access to capital, foster investment, encourage entrepreneurship and cultivate industry collaboration.

Expected Results

Results generated by FedNor's investments in business growth and competitiveness will include:

  • enhanced productivity, competitiveness and business management capacity;
  • improved trade and export performance and supply chain integration in the short- to medium-term (up to five years);
  • enhanced level of investment from outside the region that increases the number of enterprises established and/or expanded in Northern Ontario; and
  • diversified traditional industries and emerging sectors producing more value-added and knowledge-based products and services.

Eligible Applicants

  • Not-for-profit organizations in Northern Ontario, such as community economic development, Aboriginal and Francophone organizations, industry and business associations, networks, or alliances.
  • Municipalities; municipal organizations; and First Nations in Northern Ontario.
  • SMEs with fewer than 500 employees within Northern Ontario seeking youth internships.

Eligible Project Activities

Activities related to helping Northern Ontario SMEs get established, grow and increase their competitiveness in key sectors, such as the mining and forest industries, tourism, agri-food, information and communications technology, renewable energy and manufacturing. Examples of eligible project activities include:

  • business management capacity development, such as planning, training, research, access to business management expertise and export readiness;
  • access to new markets outside Northern Ontario with emphasis on foreign markets, such as trade and export development advisory services, supply chain integration, trade missions, business-to-business matchmaking, market research and analysis, promotional or marketing campaigns;
  • investment attraction, including developing and implementing investment attraction strategies and marketing strategies;
  • industry collaboration and support for SMEs, such as business incubators, industry networks, and regional and sectoral initiatives;
  • development, promotion and expansion of business associations, sector alliances or networks to facilitate industry growth through information sharing and collaboration; and
  • youth internships to assist with projects related to innovation, the digital economy and trade for a period of 12 months.

Other activities related to business growth and competitiveness necessary to further an economic goal in Northern Ontario may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible Costs

Eligible costs include all incremental expenses directly related to the project and deemed reasonable and necessary for its execution.

Non-capital costs may include:

  • fees for professional and technical services, including market, trade and export expertise;
  • costs related to business management training;
  • costs related to producing and disseminating results of studies/plans;
  • marketing costs, including design, promotional materials, advertising, product demonstrations and participation at trade shows; and
  • travel expenses and labour costs.

Capital costs may include:

  • servicing of industrial lands;
  • leasehold improvements; and
  • machinery, equipment and technology.

Ineligible Project Activities and Costs

Certain activities and costs will not be considered eligible, including:

  • community profiles;
  • retail, real estate, government services; and
  • land and rolling stock.

Funding Conditions

  • Assistance available from FedNor includes repayable and non-repayable contributions. Contributions will normally be repayable where proposed projects generate profits for the eligible applicant. All youth internships are non-repayable.
  • Generally, FedNor will support up to 33 percent of eligible capital and up to 50 percent of eligible non-capital costs.
  • Eligible applicants are expected to contribute a minimum of 10 percent of project costs.
  • If applicants incur costs to implement their projects prior to approval of funding, these costs will not be considered eligible for reimbursement unless written consent is provided by FedNor.
  • For youth internships with not-for-profit organizations, FedNor may contribute up to $31,500 (90 percent) for employee salary and benefits.
  • For youth internships with SMEs, FedNor may contribute up to $31,500 (50 percent) for employee salary, benefits, and professional/business skills development and associated travel costs.

Other Considerations

Project applications are reviewed and funding levels determined based on criteria, such as:

  • net economic benefit to Northern Ontario, especially in the short- to medium-term (up to five years);
  • development, growth and increased competitiveness of SMEs;
  • creation and retention of jobs in Northern Ontario;
  • competitive impacts on existing businesses;
  • alignment with community economic priorities;
  • need for assistance to make the project viable;
  • requested assistance complements and does not displace other available government funding programs;
  • availability of FedNor's NODP funds;
  • opportunities to leverage investment from other funding sources;
  • projects that are deemed to enhance the vitality and support the development of Official Language Minority Communities and/or foster the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society.

Where applicable, FedNor requires that:

  • projects address the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and reflect the spirit and intent of the Official Languages Act;
  • applicants use a fair, competitive and transparent procurement process to ensure the best value for money when supplies, equipment and services are purchased or personnel hired; and
  • an appropriate authority or regulatory body endorses the project.

Service Standards

FedNor is committed to providing quality service to all applicants and funding recipients in the official language of their choice.

Our goal is to:

  • acknowledge receipt of an application within three (3) working days; and,
  • provide a decision on applications within eighty (80) working days of receipt of a fully completed application.

How to Apply

Please call 1-877-333-6673 to discuss your proposal with a FedNor Officer in your area or begin your application process.