Harper government launches Southern Ontario Development Program

LONDON, ON, Oct. 2 /CNW/ - FedDev Ontario is now accepting applications under the Southern Ontario Development Program (SODP) for projects that will stimulate local economies and enhance the growth and competitiveness of Southern Ontario businesses and communities.

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), was at the Small Business Centre today to announce that eligible small- and medium-sized businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits, Aboriginal organizations, colleges and universities are invited to submit applications.

"Our government is creating jobs and stimulating the Southern Ontario economy," said Minister of State Goodyear. "FedDev Ontario will support people, communities and businesses in the region and promote long-term growth."

The SODP takes into account consultations with community leaders and economic development stakeholders throughout the Southern Ontario Region. It will build upon the assets and strengths of communities to create an environment where businesses can thrive, and maximize the potential of Southern Ontario with a focus on economic development, innovation and diversification.

Overall funding for the SODP is $100 million in 2009-10; with $40 million available for this intake process.

Applications to access funding in 2009-10 will be accepted from October 2, 2009, to December 1, 2009. FedDev Ontario will favour projects that can be started quickly and completed by March 31, 2010. Applications will be assessed based on merit and against SODP criteria and will be reviewed as they are received by the Agency. The Agency, at a later date, may further refine the criteria for future calls for proposals.

Priority will be given to organizations or enterprises located in communities in Southern Ontario with populations of 500,000 or less, as well as to communities whose economies are less diversified and/or are reliant on a limited number of employers.

For additional details on program eligibility, please see the SODP Backgrounder.

To download an application form, please visit www.southernontario.gc.ca.

The Southern Ontario Development Program was established to promote economic development, economic diversification, job creation and sustainable communities in Southern Ontario. The SODP is just one in a series of initiatives introduced in the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan designed to address the short-term effects of the economic decline on communities across Canada, while preparing our communities for long-term growth.

For more information on the Agency, please see the FedDev Ontario Backgrounder.

This news release is available online at: www.southernontario.gc.ca and www.actionplan.gc.ca.

    
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                                 Backgrounder
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                 Southern Ontario Development Program (SODP)
    

Announced in Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) was established to deliver federal economic development programs to support the priorities of workers, businesses and communities in Southern Ontario. Budget 2009 allocated $1 billion over five years for the new Agency.

One of the Agency's new programs, the Southern Ontario Development Program (SODP), will be a multi-year funding program to support productivity, innovation, commercialization, community economic development and diversification in Southern Ontario.

Overall Agency funding in 2009-10 is $206 million. Of this amount, approximately $100 million has been allocated to the SODP, including $40 million for the first intake process. Other aspects of the program will be announced shortly.

    
    Eligibility Criteria
    --------------------

    Eligible applicants

    Your organization or enterprise may qualify for SODP funds if it is
located in Southern Ontario and meets one of the following criteria:
    -  Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)* with a focus on those
       with up to 1,000 employees;
    -  SME groups and/or associations;
    -  non-profit organizations whose primary mission is business support or
       economic development;
    -  organizations or institutions dedicated to the promotion and
       dissemination of knowledge and know-how, including colleges,
       polytechnic institutes, universities and teaching institutions;
    -  Aboriginal organizations; or
    -  Municipalities.

    * With respect to commercial enterprises, the focus of this program
        will be on existing businesses with a proven track record that are
        looking to expand, modernize, innovate, and/or improve their
        competitiveness. Business start-ups will not be supported.

    Eligible Projects

    Include projects that:
    -  expand capacity;
    -  improve technology or equipment;
    -  improve the productivity and competitiveness of a business;
    -  provide access to new markets;
    -  innovate products or services;
    -  promote the commercialization of innovations; and
    -  improve community-owned tourism facilities (e.g., conference centres,
       exhibition halls).
    

Funding Available

Financial assistance awarded under this program is provided in the form of contributions, which must have a direct economic impact on the region.

The contribution may be repayable, depending on the nature of the project and the requested financial assistance. Generally, contributions to commercial enterprises are repayable.

    
    Application
    -----------
    

A straight-forward application form is available to download online at www.southernontario.gc.ca. Applications should be submitted by email to sodp-pdso@feddevontario.gc.ca or by mail to 151 Yonge Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto ON, M5C 2W3. Each project must have a separate and fully completed application form to be considered. If an applicant submits more than one project, these must be ranked in order of priority.

    
    Deadline
    --------
    

Applications to access funding in 2009-10 will be accepted from October 2, 2009, to December 1, 2009. FedDev Ontario will favour projects that can be started quickly and completed by March 31, 2010. Applications will be assessed based on merit and against SODP criteria. Applications will be reviewed as they are received by the Agency. The Agency, at a later date, may further refine the criteria for future calls for proposals.

    
    Selection Criteria
    ------------------

    Projects will be assessed on the degree to which they meet the following
selection criteria:

    -  conformity with FedDev Ontario priorities;
    -  compatibility with SODP objectives;
    -  economic impact of the project;
    -  long-term economic viability of the project;
    -  incremental nature of the assistance;
    -  demonstrated financial need for implementation of the project, taking
       other existing funding sources into account;
    -  evidence that the project meets a recognized need and significantly
       contributes to a region's economic development;
    -  applicant's management capacity;
    -  track record and viability of the enterprise or organization;
    -  applicant's financial contribution to the project;
    -  degree of leveraging of commercial financing and other sources of
       financing;
    -  level of risk involved; and
    -  adverse impacts on competition.
    

Priority will be given to organizations or enterprises located in communities in Southern Ontario with populations of 500,000 or less, as well as to communities whose economies are less diversified and/or are reliant on a limited number of employers.

For more information, please refer to the Program Guidelines available on the web site at www.southernontario.gc.ca, email sodp-pdso@feddevontario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.

    
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                                 Backgrounder
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                        CANADA'S ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN
                        -----------------------------

             NEW REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO

     ABOUT THE FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO
     ------------------------------------------------------------------
                               (FEDDEV ONTARIO)
                               ----------------
    

In Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Harper Government committed to providing short-term stimulus to communities hard hit by the recession while delivering long-term funding designed to promote economic growth, job creation and innovation. Budget 2009 provided $1 billion over five years for a new economic development agency for Southern Ontario.

On August 13, 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally launched the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). This new agency is charged with delivering federal government economic development programs tailored to the specific priorities of workers, businesses and communities in Southern Ontario.

The Prime Minister announced his intent to have Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear assume responsibility for the Agency and that Dr. B.A. (Bruce) Archibald will serve as the agency's first President. Further announcements on the staffing and location of district offices are to be expected throughout the fall.

In its first year of operation, FedDev Ontario will focus on putting economic development programs into action. The Agency will assess immediate opportunities and needs, and then bridge into broader program initiatives once the agency is fully operational.

FedDev Ontario and Industry Canada will work with community stakeholders to identify and support projects that address current economic challenges.

The Agency will initially use existing programs and partnerships to expedite the provision of funds. This will start money flowing immediately into Southern Ontario communities and businesses. Funding in the first year will be approximately $206 million, including operating costs, focused on three priority areas: economic development, diversification and community development.

The Southern Ontario Development Program has been established to promote economic development, economic diversification and job creation. A core program, it will deliver close to $100 million in funding over 2009-10.

FedDev Ontario will help Southern Ontario communities diversify their local economies, including into a wider range of value-added and technology driven products and services. It will provide the tools for its partners in the region to build on their strengths, positioning Southern Ontario to succeed in the knowledge-based economy.

    
    PROGRAMS TO BE ADMINISTERED BY FEDDEV ONTARIO
    ---------------------------------------------
    

Southern Ontario programs to be administered by, or in conjunction with, FedDev Ontario include:

Community Adjustment Fund in Ontario

The Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) is a short-term economic stimulus for communities impacted by the global recession. Part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Fund supports projects that create jobs and maintain employment in and around communities that have been most severely affected by the economic downturn.

Funding is available for eligible projects that can be completed before March 31, 2010. Applications for 2010-2011 CAF project funds will be accepted by FedDev Ontario later this year.

National Research Council - Industrial Research Assistance Program

The National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) stimulates wealth creation for Canada through technological innovation. It provides financial and technological assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises, targeting those engaged in research, development, adaptation, adoption, or commercialization of innovative products, services or processes.

IRAP already has $67.3 million in funds available, and will receive an additional $27.5 million to further build the innovative capacities of Southern Ontario's small and medium-sized enterprises.

Community Futures Program

Ontario's Community Futures Program will receive an additional $30M from the Community Adjustment Fund in 2009-2010. The Community Futures Program assists rural and northern communities to strengthen and diversify their economies.

The Program is implemented through Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs), located in communities across the province, including 37 in rural Southern Ontario. Small and medium-sized enterprises as well as non-profit organizations can receive repayable financing and important support services.

Business Development Bank of Canada

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will invest a total of $50 million in Southern Ontario through venture capital firms and the BDC's own programs. These funds will help develop a high-performing, sustainable venture capital industry in the region.

SOURCE FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO

For further information: For further information: Gary Toft, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, (613) 943-7599; Media Relations, Industry Canada, (613) 943-2505

Organization Profile

FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO

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