The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay-Superior North, and Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay-Rainy River, today announced more than $5.3 million to support seven initiatives throughout the region. The funded projects are expected to create up to 870 jobs, support recovery efforts and maximize development and growth opportunities in Thunder Bay-Superior North and across Northern Ontario. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor.
Thunder Bay-Superior North initiatives supported by FedNor
Northern Ontario Angels (NOA)
A FedNor investment of more than $1.8 million will support NOA’s continued expansion across Northern Ontario. This three-year initiative will allow NOA to work with high-potential businesses, investors, and regional partners to increase early-stage investment for start-ups in all corners of the region, resulting in business growth and job creation. Specifically, the funding will continue to enhance investment readiness through training and consultation, create 75 new Accredited Northern Ontario Angels and generate 120 investment deals over the course of the program. Once complete, this strategic initiative will help pave the way for the creation of 800 full-time jobs.
Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre (NOIC)
Business Technology Improvement Fund (BTIF)
A non-repayable FedNor investment of $1 million will enable NOIC to administer the Business Technology Improvement Fund (BTIF). The program provides qualifying Northwestern Ontario small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with financial support of up to $25,000 to adopt digital technologies and e-business solutions, helping them to innovate and scale up. Specifically, this funding will support the purchase of digital technologies and products, such as Enterprise Resource Planning, specialized design and production equipment, client relationship management, and other hardware and software technologies. The BTIF funding will also support e-business development and solutions, including new and/or updated websites, content management system integrations, search engine optimization, digital marketing, e-business sales, custom software development, and back-office improvements. Once fully implemented, this strategic initiative is expected to help up to 200 businesses adopt new technologies, access new markets and increase sales, paving the way for the creation of 35 jobs and the maintenance of 55 more.
Next Level Program
To help innovative businesses scale up, access new markets and commercialize new products, a FedNor investment of $402,000 will allow NOIC to deliver a Next Level Program (NLP). This strategic investment will enable the organization to provide qualifying businesses with up to $10,000 support late stage product development, marketing and commercialization activities that focus on market entry, strategic process and productivity improvements. Once complete, NLP is expected to help 45 businesses scale-up or modernize their operations, leading to the development of new products, services or technologies, as well as the creation of 22 jobs in Northwestern Ontario.
A FedNor investment of $160,000 will allow NOIC to facilitate planning and stakeholder engagement to support the growth and integration of Northern Ontario’s innovation ecosystem. The initiative will help entrepreneurs, businesses and pre-revenue start-ups overcome the impacts of COVID 19 so they can not only survive, but thrive as our economy reopens. Specifically, the funding will support data collection, stakeholder consultations and the development of a strategy and implementation plan to build and strengthen the region’s innovation ecosystem to improve commercialization success rates.
Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE)
A FedNor investment of $1.3 million will enable CRIBE to develop and implement the Ontario Forest Bio-Products Innovation Network Project. The initiative will create and deliver industry-driven forums with the goal of accelerating the development and commercialization of forest bio-products ready for market entry. This would be accomplished by developing value chain roadmaps, providing accelerator funding, and supporting export development partnerships for forestry, bio-product and technology development companies.
Confederation College of Applied Arts & Technology
A FedNor investment of $378,000 will allow Confederation College to hire an industry liaison coordinator and a pre-commercial research technician to initiate and complete late-stage industry-academic applied pre-commercial projects, such as prototype testing and demonstrations. The goal of this three-year initiative is to support local and regional applied research and development activities with a focus on advanced manufacturing, forestry and renewable energy.
Dawson Trail Craft Brewery
Provided through its Targeted Manufacturing Initiative for Northern Ontario, a repayable FedNor investment of $234,000 will help Dawson Trail Craft Brewery to modernize its operations and scale up. Specifically, the investment will be used to purchase and install specialty equipment, and complete various renovations to the brewery and taproom. Once complete the upgrades will allow the company to do small-batch brewing on-site to supply its new tasting room, entertainment venue and existing licensees. The project is expected to help create three full-time positions and up to five part-time jobs.