The i.d.e.a. Fund was created to support and position local economies in southern Ontario for long-term growth. The goal is to provide high potential businesses with the opportunity to receive non-repayable grant money (seed funding) and business advisory supports to develop new green products, services, processes, and technologies and/or redesign existing products, services, processes, and technologies to reduce their impact on the environment.

Six Ontario Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) have combined efforts to deliver this targeted initiative to accelerate the growth of up to 240 businesses (120 per cohort) as they support the transition to a green economy, create jobs and future-proof their businesses. The Fund will also support an inclusive recovery, targeting 50% of the companies supported to be led by women and at least 30% by members of other racialized and under-represented groups.

This program will provide specialized industry expertise to develop growth plans and related strategies in the areas such as talent attraction, raising follow-on investment, product development and quantification of product benefits/market value propositions, commercialization of intellectual property, and market diversification. Each RIC will distribute up to a maximum of $30,000 in matching seed funding to select innovative businesses in various sectors.

The i.d.e.a. Fund will be delivered in partnership with the following Ontario Regional Innovation Centres (RICs): Innovation Guelph, Haltech, Innovate Niagara, WEtech Alliance, Innovation Factory and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario, to support a more sustainable economy while fostering an inclusive and equitable recovery in Southern Ontario


looking for 120 companies that are:

  • Fewer than 500 employees
  • Federally incorporated or incorporated in the Province of Ontario
  • Located in southern Ontario
  • Will develop or redesign new products, services, processes or technologies that focus on a sustainable and green recovery

Eligibility Criteria

  • One or two team members of the business’ leadership team is available to participate in the program between June 30, 2022 – February 28, 2023
  • The applicant must be early-stage business or Small to Medium Enterprises (1-499 employees) and the business must be headquartered in Southern Ontario
  • Business must be incorporated (Ontario or federal) Business owner/founder must be working in the business full-time Business must have a scalable product or serviceSelection Criteria
  • The applicant must complete the application in full The application provides enough information to address the applicable evaluation criteria
  • The intended use of funds is clear and consistent with a realistic strategy to achieve the business’ scaling goals Stacking of public funding (federal, provincial or municipal) is not permitted and will not be considered matching funds. For example, you may not use federal or provincial grant funds as matching funds.
  • The applicant must be able to provide matching funds up to a maximum of $30,000 to receive seed funding.
  • SMEs from under-represented groups would be required to provide a 25% match whereas all other recipients would have to provide at 1:1 match
  • The application falls under the eligible project types
  • The applicant has acknowledged that the funds will not be used for ineligible costs as outlined below.
  • There is a benefit (directly or indirectly) to a green recovery
  • There is an economic impact (job creation, revenue generation, add-on investment) to Ontario The business opportunity has potential to address Canadian or international markets
  • The applicant has read and agreed to a Client Services Agreement

Ineligible Costs

  • 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, or debentures;
  • Bond discount; Monthly mortgage and loan payments;
  • Refinancing of an existing debt; Losses on investments, bad debts and any other debts;
  • Fines or penalties;
  • Costs related to litigation;
  • Opportunity costs;
  • Hospitality and entertainment costs;
  • Franchise fees and franchise license costs;
  • Lobbyist fees;


You may receive

  • Non-repayable seed funding of up to $30,000 with matching funds
  • Up to 40 hours of fully funded, targeted support from business leaders

Southern Ontario includes the following 2011 Statistic Canada Census Regions:

1 Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry; 2 Prescott and Russell; 6 Ottawa; 7 Leeds and Grenville; 9 Lanark; 10 Frontenac; 11 Lennox and Addington; 12 Hastings; 13 Prince Edward; 14 Northumberland; 15 Peterborough; 16 Kawartha Lakes; 18 Durham; 19 York; 20 Toronto; 21 Peel; 22 Dufferin; 23 Wellington; 24 Halton; 25 Hamilton; 26 Niagara; 28 Haldimand-Norfolk; 29 Brant; 30 Waterloo; 31 Perth; 32 Oxford; 34 Elgin; 36 Chatham-Kent; 37 Essex; 38 Lambton; 39 Middlesex; 40 Huron; 41 Bruce; 42 Grey; 43 Simcoe; 46 Haliburton; and 47 Renfrew.

Program Dates

  • Program Launch April 1, 2022
  • Applications Open – First Cohort May 10, 2022
  • Program Information Sessions May 10, 18, 26, 2022
  • Applications Close June 7, 2022
  • Successful Applicants Announced June 24, 2022
  • Program Runs June 30, 2022 – February 28, 2023
  • Celebration Event March 17, 2023
  • Program Completion March 31, 2023

For More Information: The i.d.e.a. Fund