Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII)
This program supports high-growth, innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in rural and urban communities by offering loans of $150,000 to $500,000 to support all aspects of growth challenges facing them. SOFII provides interest-bearing business loans to support innovation and growth in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the region.
The Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) loan fund acts as a catalyst for increased investment in and support for innovation and is one element in the emerging climate of support for high-growth companies in Southern Ontario. Launched by the Government of Canada in July 2012, SOFII is supported through FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative and is delivered by Community Futures Ontario East. SOFII is a $20 million, self-sustaining fund available to eligible organizations across Eastern Ontario.
- Late stage commercialization
- New product or service development
- New applications or markets
- Development or implementation of new processes or technologies
- $150,000 to $500,000 loan amounts
- Interest Bearing term loans
- No Fees
- Repayable anytime without penalties
Application Process Details
Community Futures Ontario East follows this process, when considering an eligible organization’s submission. We would like to have a conversation with you first, to share information and to make this process easier.
- "Statement of Interest” submitted by eligible organization
- Statement of Interest reviewed by SOFII staff for eligibility within 5 business days
- Organization informed whether to proceed to full application and provided with guidance pertaining to SOFII and other sources of support
- The applicant will be asked to engage in either face to face or virtual meetings including scheduled onsite visits by SOFII staff
- Organization submits full application including all requested attachments (detailed checklist is provided with the SOFII Loan Application)
- SOFII staff will check for application completeness and begin due diligence analysis. Further information may be required.
- SOFII Staff seek 3rd party expert advice as needed
- SOFII Staff provides a summary and formal recommendation to Investment Review Committee
- Investment Review Committee reviews application and makes the decision to approve/decline or defer and applicant will be asked to present in person or virtually depending on location and timing.
- Community Futures Ontario East Board of Directors ratifies decision of the Investment Review Committee
- Application decisions are communicated to the Applicant, including formal written notification in all cases
- Formal Letter of Offer sent to Applicant, where Approved.
- Loan documentation and security arranged, all arrangements made and loan funds disbursed by Community Futures Ontario East legal counsel.
Our process typically takes 4 – 11 weeks from receipt of completed application with all documentation, to notification of decision. This program has a continuous, open intake period.
Evaluation Criteria and Process
Eligible applicants are private sector innovative SMEs located in South Eastern Ontario who are engaged in projects that will result in the adaptation and adoption of new technologies, projects, processes or markets. Eligible organizations will:
- Employ 50 to 500 employees, or identify that there is a strong likelihood that they will reach 50 employees within a three-year period.
- Be unable to obtain adequate and reasonable financing from other lending sources
- Operate in Southern Ontario
- Demonstrate job creation/retention for Southern Ontario residents
- Be suitable for public funding
- Establish a reasonable expectation of economic viability
- Demonstrate the ability to repay funds advanced by Community Futures Ontario East
- Have secured the required matching funding through private investment, financial or equity partnerships or working capital.
- Provide evidence of their ability or experience to operate the business
- Federal and provincial government departments (eg: agencies, boards, corporations and commissions
- Post-secondary institutions (eg; colleges, polytechnic institutes, universities and teaching institutions)
- Not-for-Profit corporations, and
- Municipal governments
Statement of Interest
Organizations wishing to apply for a loan from SOFII will be required to first complete a Statement of Interest. Projects meeting the eligibility guidelines will be encouraged to, and counselled in how to, apply for support.
Your Statement of Interest should be completed on-line or, scanned and emailed, to our office. Organizations providing a Statement of Interest will receive a response within 5 business days of submission. The Statement of Interest will be reviewed and assessed by SOFII program staff.
We invite you to contact us to discuss further the program.
Eligible businesses must be situated in or planning to locate within the geographic area described as Southern Ontario, Eastern Region
Community Futures Ontario East serves the following areas as defined by Stats Canada census divisions: Durham, Frontenac, Haliburton, Hastings, Kawartha Lakes, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, Lennox and Addington, Northumberland, Ottawa, Peterborough, Prescott and Russell, Prince Edward, Renfrew, Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, Toronto and York.
If you are not located in one of the above areas, you may be supported by the South West Ontario Region. Please go to the South West Ontario Region's website.