Minister Goodyear announces new investments to help small- and medium-sized
businesses in Southern Ontario

HAMILTON, ON, Nov. 6 /CNW/ - Businesses in Southern Ontario will have greater opportunities to expand and improve their operations thanks to two new investments worth over $30 million announced by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

"These two investments will create jobs and help local businesses and communities grow and diversify," said Minister Goodyear. "Our government is delivering on our commitment in the Economic Action Plan to stimulate the economy and support the people in Southern Ontario."

The funding includes a $15.75-million investment under the Southern Ontario Development Program for the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) SMART program to fund approximately 300 projects that will help small- and medium-sized manufacturers increase their productivity and competitiveness in the global economy.

The CME SMART program provides up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs, to a maximum of $50,000 per project, and focuses on key areas such as lean design and manufacturing, quality improvement, energy efficiency, information technology best practices, and environmental impact reduction. For details on the CME SMART program, please see the backgrounder.

"This announcement could not have come at a more crucial time," says CME President & CEO Jayson Myers. "Companies must take the necessary steps to modernize and improve productivity despite the severe economic strains caused by the recession. The projects that will be funded by SMART will give companies the tools they need to remain competitive in this era of economic uncertainty."

A top-up of $15 million for the first application intake of the Southern Ontario Development Program, was also announced. On October 2, 2009, the Government of Canada committed $40 million to projects that can be completed by March 2010. Today's top-up brings the total amount of funding available for the first intake to $55 million. Applications will be accepted until December 1, 2009.

Overall funding for the SODP is $100 million in 2009-10. Other aspects of the program will be announced shortly.

For details regarding the intake process of the SODP, please see the backgrounder or visit the FedDev Ontario web site at 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.

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

    
    Backgrounder

                 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), is a multi-year funding program which supports productivity, innovation, commercialization, community economic development and diversification in Southern Ontario.

Total Agency funding in 2009-10 is $206 million. Of this amount, approximately $100 million has been allocated to the SODP, including $55 million for the first intake process. Other aspects of the program will be announced shortly.

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

    Eligible applicants

    An 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
    Includes 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 2W7. 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 until 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.

    
         Successful CME SMART Program renewed under Federal Economic
                   Development Agency for Southern Ontario

    About SMART
    

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev) are partnering to extend CME's successful SMART program, aimed at helping Ontario manufacturers improve productivity.

The $15.75-million commitment from the Government of Canada to extend SMART will assist approximately 300 small- and medium-sized manufacturers increase their productivity and competitiveness in the global economy. This new funding will support projects that can meet a March 31, 2010 completion date, based on original application data.

Officially launched October 2, 2008, the CME SMART program provides up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs, to a maximum of $50,000 per project and focuses on key areas such as: lean design and manufacturing; quality improvement; energy efficiency; information technology; best practice and environmental impact reduction.

Funding supports all SME manufacturers that have between 10 and 500 full-time employees at an Ontario facility.

More than 1,800 applications were originally submitted to SMART with many of the proposals qualifying for funding. To date, 435 projects, (exceeding $20 million) have been approved for funding in addition to 233 On-site assessments (exceeding $1.5 million). A total of 6,395 jobs have been retained through the successful implementation of SMART projects and it's forecasted that 3,312 new jobs will be created as a direct result of SMART projects.

This new funding will go towards funding hundreds of the qualified projects, like Hamilton's Edson Packaging Machinery Inc. , that were left in the queue when funds were exhausted.

A market leader in packaging machinery, Edson is a custom design, manufacturer and integrator of end-of-line automation. The company also provides service and parts to ensure that its fleet of more than 1500 packaging machines continues to operate at our customers facilities all over the world.

The company submitted a proposal to SMART to improve energy management and energy efficiency in their facility at a total cost of $75,000. Under the formula, Edson qualifies for $37,500 in funding.

For more information on the SMART Program, visit www.cme-smart.ca or contact the SMART team at 1-877-913-4263.

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada's leading trade and industry association and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada.

The association represents more than 10,000 leading companies nationwide. More than 85% of CME's members are small and medium-sized enterprises. As Canada's leading business network, CME, through various initiatives including icosmo.ca and the establishment of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, touches more than 100,000 companies from coast to coast, engaged in manufacturing, global business and service-related industries.

CME's membership network accounts for an estimated 82% of total manufacturing production and 90% of Canada's exports.

    
    For more information, contact:
    Louise Rubletz
    CME Smart Program Coordinator

    Tel: 1-877-913-4263 ext. 3281
    Cell: 647-241-9008
    

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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