I am an Entrepreneur

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I am an Entrepreneur / Operate a business

The following funding opportunities are selected for entrepreneurs in the Forest and Freshwater Foods sector. This document contains links to foundations, social investment firms and government programs which provide funds in the form of loans, (partial) grants as well as non-financial support services. The list is by no mean exhaustive, but perhaps a place to start in your search for funds to finance a profitable and responsible business in the sector.

  • Government programs:

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs – Rural Economic Development Program

New information on the Rural Economic Development program is yet to be made available for 2013. Through this program OMAFRA provides support in the form of partial grants or repayable loans to Ontario’s food processing sector. You may apply as an individual food business (letters of support encouraged) or in a partnership. Those activities aiming at: community revitalization; improved access to skills training; creation of alliances in the sector; increased quality of participation of rural stakeholders; development of tools, information or resources to enhance rural development; and improved rural skills through innovation. Up to 50% of the project costs can be invested by the Province; combined federal and provincial funding cannot exceed 75% of the total project costs. Eligible cost include: marketing expenditures, food processing equipment, consultancy fees, studies and skills development.

Deadline: Complete applications are accepted any time and are reviewed every couple of months.

For more information: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/rural/red/index.html

 National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistant Program (NRC-IRAP) and Small Project Accelerated Review Process (ARP)

The objective of these programs is to provide support for the adaptation, development and commercialization of innovative or technology driven products, services and processes. This can be through technical and business advisory services, financial assistance, networking opportunities, and the youth employment program. To be eligible for funds, your business has to be an incorporated for-profit with less than 500 employees. The projects that qualify include: R&D; assessments of technology needs; feasibility studies; product, engineering, manufacturing design; international supply chain strategies and branding.

To apply: Contact a local Industrial Technology Advisor, or NRC-IRAP at 1-877-994-4727.

For more information: http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/irap/services/index.html

Northern Ontario Development Program – FedNor

This program’s focus is on: 1. Community Economic Development; 2. Business growth and competitiveness; 3. Innovations. Funds dispersed in this program are only for businesses in Northern Ontario. Generally, FedNor will support up to 33 percent of eligible capital costs and up to 50 percent of eligible non-capital costs. A minimum contribution of 10% of the project costs is expected from the applicant. Funding in this program can be put towards the following objectives: creating or implementing strategic economic development plans, collaborative projects, community assets development, increasing business investment and employment, increasing export, expansion of key economic sector (and more). Proposals for funding can be submitted on an ongoing basis (after discussion with FedNor Officer).

For more information: http://fednor.gc.ca/eic/site/fednor-fednor.nsf/eng/fn03467.html

Community Futures Program; ontario association of Community Futures Development Corporations (OACFDC) – FedDev and FedNor

OACFDC is a network of organizations that administer local investment funds (government of Canada) for small businesses and start-ups. They can provide repayable loans of up to $150,000 on commercial terms. OACFDC member agencies also offer the following services: 1. strategic communication planning; 2. support for community based projects; 3. business info and planning services; 4. Access to capital for SMEs and social entrepreneurs. Through the Futures Program, services are provided to community projects as well as entrepreneurs; ‘local solutions to local needs’

Contact your local CFDC office for information, see website for locations: http://www.oacfdc.com/index.php/public-information


  •  Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation

* Note: new NOHFC programs are released in October 2013*

Enterprises North Job Creation Program – Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry

The objective of this program is to create jobs and advance economic prosperity for northern communities. The program provides financial assistance to private sector actors – including businesses in ‘forest products’, agriculture, and manufacturing. Both new and existing enterprises are eligible for funding. Eligible sectors include: Agriculture, Mining, Forest products, Resource-based, cultural, adventure or nature-based tourism, Manufacturing, Technology and Telecommunications. Eligible costs (grant may cover up to 50%) include: Capital construction costs related to the establishment or expansion of a business, Leasehold improvements, Purchase of new or used equipment, Intellectual capital, Staff training, Marketing, Land servicing.

Applications accepted on an ongoing basis: http://nohfc.ca/en/programs/enterprises-north-job-creation

Infrastructure and Community Development Program – Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry (part of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund)

The objective of this program is to improve infrastructure and facilities in northern communities in order to improve economic prospects. Proposed projects must demonstrate self-sustainability; infrastructure must have a job-creation goal over any social or cultural purposes; new economic benefits will have to come from the investment (partial grants/ repayable loans). Eligible to apply are partnership and alliances between: municipalities, private sector businesses and organization, government related agencies. First nations, not-for-profit and educational institutes may apply individually. Proposal can be submitted on an ongoing basis.

Website: http://nohfc.ca/en/programs/infrastructure-and-community-development

Northern Ontario Entrepreneur Program – Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry (part of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund)

The objective of this program is to provide support for entrepreneurship in Northern Ontario. Residents of northern Ontario cam apply for up to $125.000 per project to develop a new business. The applicant must operate the business full-time and funds need to result in job creation in Northern Ontario. Through this program, 50% of the costs can be provided, with total government funding not exceeding 75%. A 10% cash investment of the entrepreneur is required.

Website: http://nohfc.ca/en/programs/northern-ontario-entrepreneur


  • Social investment funds

Renewal2 Investment Fund

Renewal2 Fund is an investment fund seeking to invest in businesses with a social mission. The fund operates in one of the following primary sectors (priorities): 1. Organic & Natural Food; 2. Green Consumer Products; and 3. Green Building Products. Your enterprise must be located in Canada or USA, have a scalable business model and generate annual revenues of $500,000 up to $20 million. Initial investments range between $250,000 and $1.5 million. Applications are made by submitting an executive summary 1-2 pages describing business model, management team and current financial situation.

Website: http://renewalfunds.com/

Angel Investments – National Angel Capital Organization (NACO)

NACO is a non-profit industry association for angel investors. They can refer entrepreneurs seeking investment to investor networks. Angel investors provide mentorship services, industry contacts and funding. Application for funds is made through registration at NACO. After submission of business plan NACO can provide a referral and listing on the Angel Investor network. In Ontario there are 10 different angel investors’ networks (based on location).

Website: http://www.angelinvestor.ca/

Investor’s Circle

Investor’s Circle is a mixture of angel investors, family offices, foundations and early stage venture funds. The target industry of this organization includes: energy and environmental solutions, sustainable agriculture, sustainable consumer products and community and economic development. Investor’s Circle is specifically looking to invest in early stage companies (one year operating experience) with a potential to bring sales to $5 million within 5 years. The target investment ranges from $250.000 to $3 million dollar. Company needs to have a potential for national growth. There is an online application to determine your eligibility for inclusion in their ‘deal database’. The registration cost is $150 and gives your enterprise a year-long exposure to the investment network.

Website: http://www.investorscircle.net/as_application-process-and-fees

Ontario Catapult Microloan fund – Centre for Social Innovation (and public, private and social partners)

Through this initiative, the Centre for Social Innovations provides low interest loans and support in the form of assessments to revenue generating social enterprises. Your business must be operating in Ontario and address a social, cultural, environmental or economic challenge with the proposed activities. Your company must have fewer than 25 employees and an annual revenue of no more than 2 million. Funds are in the form of a repayable loan. There is a pre-screening online application; full applications are due by Nov 24th 2013.

Please visit: http://socialinnovation.ca/catapult

Ecotrust (NGO) – support social enterprises and First Nations

Ecotrust Canada does not provide financial sponsorship but supports social enterprises in various other ways, for example: Developing Land Use Plans (mapping, GIS, planning activities); Training on integrated resource management; product development and feasibility studies as well as traditional land use studies.

Website: http://ecotrust.ca/


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