About the Initiative
NCFDC has launched thriveFORWARD to accelerate sustainable industrial investment in innovation capital across southern Ontario. By making forward investments in the talent, technology and industries of the future, we can enhance entrepreneur-led growth in strategic sectors and across multiple priority pathways.
Eligible projects include the commercialization of innovation or the adoption of an innovation by a startup or SME, prioritizing critical sectors, diverse organizations and equity-deserving entrepreneurs that are investing in clean inclusive growth. Funding amounts and conditions vary in each case (see below). For more information about equity and diversity, we encourage entrepreneurs to explore GBA+ and the Government of Canada’s 50–30 Challenge.
The thriveFORWARD initiative will help participants future-proof their businesses, build resiliency and prepare for long-term growth by transitioning to a green economy, fostering an inclusive recovery, enhancing competitiveness, and by creating jobs across southern Ontario.
Now is the time to innovate, grow and thriveFORWARD.
Your thriveFORWARD Team
Both startups and SMEs (small- and medium-sized Enterprises) are eligible for thriveFORWARD.
“Startup” means an early-stage technology-driven company that is:
- A registered for-profit incorporated business, partnership or cooperative;
- Located in southern Ontario;
- Formed on or after January 1, 2020; and
- At the pre-revenue/prototype stage to early commercialization stage.
Approved startups receive performance-based funding matching up to $25,000 in certified incremental private investment as of April 19, 2021, with funding released based upon satisfactory achievement of agreed-upon major milestones demonstrating investment in the adoption of advanced technologies. The leverage minimum is 1:1.
- A registered industrial for-profit incorporated business, partnership or cooperative;
- Located in southern Ontario;
- Having fewer than 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees; and
- Having $100,000 to $100 million in annual revenue declared in Canada during its last complete tax reporting year (or during the last 12 months for monthly and quarterly filers).
Approved SMEs will receive performance-based funding for incremental project activities that invest in innovation capital (talent and technology) with 50% reimbursement of eligible and approved costs up to $100,000 (project leverage minimum 1:1).
Other Key Definitions
“Clean technology” or “Cleantech” is any process, product, or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities. This includes a broad range of technology related to recycling, renewable energy, information technology, green transportation, electric motors, green chemistry, lighting, grey water, and more.
“Green projects” include supporting a clean growth economy and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. This could include, for example, projects with benefits related to renewable energy, the adoption of practices with benefits related to renewable energy, the adoption of practices or technologies to reduce carbon footprint or waste, the commercialization of clean technologies, products or services, lightweighting/advanced materials, supply chain localization and other applications.
“Digital projects” include digital solutions and/or advanced manufacturing processes to improve operations and must enhance competitiveness, increase productivity and improve efficiency.
“Southern Ontario” means the following Statistics Canada Census Divisions: Brant, Bruce, Chatham-Kent, Dufferin, Durham, Elgin, Essex, Frontenac, Grey, Haldimand-Norfolk, Haliburton, Halton, Hamilton, Hastings, Huron, Kawartha Lakes, Lambton, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Lennox and, Addington, Middlesex, Niagara, Northumberland, Ottawa, Oxford, Peel, Perth, Peterborough, Prescott and Russell, Prince Edward, Renfrew, Simcoe, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington, and York.
Additional Terms and Conditions
Recipients of thriveFORWARD funding shall obtain and maintain General Liability and Property Damage insurance for the duration of the project, and will provide certificate(s) of insurance upon the request of NCFDC.
An applicant may only submit one project application at a time. No Recipient of funding can have more than one approved thriveFORWARD contribution agreement.
Other terms and conditions may apply.
- New incremental labour;
- Capital; and
All costs must be reasonable and directly related to the eligible project activities.
Ineligible and/or unsupported costs include, but are not limited to the following:
- Any costs deemed not reasonable and/or not directly related to the eligible project activities;
- Activities in support of regular maintenance and/or ongoing operational costs;
- Cost incurred prior to the eligibility date as defined in the Contribution Agreement;
- Costs incurred after December 31, 2023;
- Costs of land, building or vehicle purchase;
- Costs of intangible assets such as goodwill, whether capitalized or expensed;
- Depreciation or amortization expenses;
- Interest on invested capital, bonds, debentures, or mortgages;
- Bond discount;
- Losses on investments, bad debts and any other debts;
- Fines or penalties;
- Costs related to litigation;
- Non-incremental wages;
- Fees for administrators, including payments to any member or officer of the Recipient’s Board of Directors;
- Opportunity costs;
- Hospitality and entertainment costs;
- Costs of individual membership in a professional body (e.g. professional designations); and
- Lobbyist fees.
All costs must be reasonable and directly related to the eligible project activities.
How to Apply
- For the Startup Stream click here to apply (or preview the application PDF here).
- For the SME Stream click here to apply (or preview the application PDF here).
The PDF is for preview only.
Only complete applications will be considered.
Your application will be reviewed by NCFDC and funding decisions will normally be made within 30 days from submission of a complete application.
What you will need to complete your application:
- Business information (articles, registrations, business number, and other key documentation);
- Financial information (historical financial statements for the last 2 fiscal years and the most recent interim financial statement—YTD Profit & Loss and Consolidated Balance Sheet);
- Project summary and rationale;
- Key personnel;
- Any other documentation or substantiation you may wish to include with your application (project proposal and/or company backgrounder, pitch deck, business plan, links to websites and social media, etc.);
- List of any government funding (including tax credits, e.g. SR&ED Program) currently received or anticipated to be received by your organization;
- Additional relevant business documentation that may be required.
Startups only must also provide proof of non-government-sourced Private Investment of at least $25,000 in total (as of April 19, 2021). You will be asked to provide a copy of associated term sheet(s) and a copy of your bank statement showing deposit of the proceeds of the Private Investment.
“Private Investment” means non-government-sourced equity or financing inclusive of:
- Commercial loans;
- Convertible debt;
- Venture debt;
- Founders Share Capital; and
- Other Venture Capital and Private Equity instruments.
How Funding Decisions are Made
Applicants will be notified in writing of funding decisions (Approve, Decline or On Hold). Each element of the thriveFORWARD initiative is equally weighted for a total possible score of 100, as follows:
1. Future-proofing, Resilience and Business Growth (20 Points)
Assessment of the viability and impact of proposed project outcomes in terms of business growth, resiliency/future-proofing, scale-up/market expansion, increased sales (domestic and/or foreign), supply chain adaptation, market diversification and other activities that will contribute to sustainable economic growth and support identified Critical Sectors.
2. Job Impacts (20 Points)
Consideration of the number of FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) jobs the project will create and/or maintain in Southern Ontario.
3. Going Green, or Digital Technology Adoption (20 Points)
Investing in adoption of advanced technology, with prioritization of:
- Cleantech, OR;
- Digital adoption (such as cybersecurity readiness, productivity enhancement, operational resilience).
4. Critical Sectors (20 Points)
Within or impacting food production, medical supplies or bio-manufacturing sectors.
5. Priority Client Pathways: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (20 Points)
- Business owned or majority-led by underrepresented groups, such as: Indigenous peoples, members of racialized communities, women, youth, LGBTQ2IA+, persons with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, and members of official language minority communities; AND/OR
- Businesses with a diverse workforce, active HR/workforce development programs, businesses that are GBA+ certified, signatories to the 50-30 Challenge, and/or have other progressive policy and governance initiatives in place that substantially address diversity and inclusion.
Judy Selvig is an accomplished regional program manager with complimentary experience in the municipal sector as an experienced economic development professional. Her work at NCFDC has focused on driving significant industrial innovation both locally and across Eastern and Southern Ontario—impacting hundreds of advanced manufacturers and growth firms—including the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP), CEDP (Collaborative Economic Development Projects), RIIEO (Rural Innovation Initiative – Eastern Ontario) and RE3, with the support of FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada.
At NCFDC, Judy works with innovators, intrapreneurs and industrial leaders to accelerate their timelines for investment in innovation capital and to maximize success—driving business development, export market expansion, sales growth and job creation.
John Hayden (B.A., University of Toronto, M.A., American University of Beirut) has over fifteen years’ experience working with entrepreneurs and innovators with a special interest in early-stage technology-driven enterprises. He completed a certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School (Exec Ed) including the Entrepreneurial Development Program (EDP) and practices Customer Focused Technology Planning®. His own startup experience includes: They Innovate, Zoomaal and General Civilian.
At NCFDC, John has led the development and execution of regional startup acceleration and funding initiatives (N1M) as well as equity financing, fintech, cybersecurity projects and more, with the support of FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada. He is a member of the CVCA and enjoys running (roads and trails).
Braden Kemp Biography
With more than a decade of experience in Canada’s technology commercialization industry, Braden Kemp has held senior roles in both the public and private sectors. As an entrepreneur, Braden founded and currently operates a manufacturing and e-commerce company along with a consulting practice.
Braden has held various positions in growth companies and the organizations that support them—most recently as Director of Operations at National Prostaff Inc. and previously as Director of Client Services at Spark Centre, Durham and Northumberland’s Regional Innovation Centre.
Braden has been an advisor to a variety of technology companies in food and agricultural technology, military technology and training, engineering and design, influencer marketing, e-commerce, wearables and more. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of Guelph and is a graduate of Ryerson DMZ accelerator.
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