Innovation Stream

The Innovation Stream supports the research, development and commercialization of new and innovative technologies in Northern Ontario.

Who is Eligible?

Private-sector businesses alone, or in partnership with a public sector academic or research institution.

For public-private partnership projects, the private-sector business is the lead applicant and the funding recipient.

For public-private partnership projects, the partnering academic or research institution must have the relevant expertise and resources required by the private-sector partner to complete the proposed project.

What Projects are Eligible?

Applied research & development projects, and demonstration & commercialization of new and innovative technologies.

NOHFC considers innovative technology projects based on the following definition: “the development or implementation of ideas to produce new or improved strategies, capabilities, products, services, or processes with a strong focus on ensuring to satisfy a market need or desire”.

Applicants have the choice to apply for support for applied research & development or demonstration & commercialization costs under separate applications or in one combined application.

  • In the event that an applicant chooses to include demonstration & commercialization costs in their project, NOHFC will not accept a subsequent application for the same technology.
  • For projects where the applicant elects to combine applied research & development, and demonstration & commercialization costs, before proceeding to demonstration and commercialization phase, the applicant must:
    • Own, have registered a patent for, or have the rights to exploit the intellectual property associated with the technology.
    • Be able to demonstrate that the technology has been tested and fully validated.

Eligible applied research & development activities and associated costs include, but not limited to:

  • Direct internal technical labour costs
  • Prototyping costs (engineering and design services and component purchase, fabrication and installation costs)
  • Product testing
  • Intellectual property protection costs
  • Research and development services provided by public sector partners

Eligible demonstration & commercialization activities and associated costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Direct internal technical labour costs
  • Building or renovation costs specifically related to the commercialization of the new technology
  • Prototype demonstration costs (engineering and design services and equipment purchases, fabrication and installation costs)
  • Material costs
  • Product certification costs
  • Research and development services provided by public sector partners
  • Marketing costs (in-person or virtual trade show assistance and marketing material design costs) - limited to 20% of total eligible project costs

Evaluation Criteria

Factors that will be considered during evaluation of applications will include but not limited to:

  • Innovation meets the NOHFC’s definition of Innovation
  • Strength of the project’s detailed business plan
  • Net economic benefits for Northern Ontario
  • Demonstrated market need and demand
  • Management capacity
  • Business’ financial position
  • Supply chain impacts
  • Level of Risk

Funding

Funding for Applied Research and Development only projects

  • Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution of up to 50% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $500,000.

Funding for Applied Research & Development and Demonstration & Commercialization Combined or Demonstration & Commercialization only projects

  • Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution of up to 50% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $2 million.

Combined Federal and Provincial government funding may not exceed 75% of eligible project costs.

Funding for each project is determined by the NOHFC Board of Directors, and limited funding is available. Not all projects meeting the criteria will necessarily receive funding.

What is Not Eligible?

Projects intended for internal efficiency purposes only are ineligible.

Ineligible activities and associated costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Land
  • Working capital
  • Administrative or other indirect operating costs
  • Labour costs for any person that owns 10% or more of the applicant business
  • In-kind contributions
  • Business Plans
  • Travel, accommodation and meeting costs
  • Office equipment and furnishings
  • Vehicles

Program Requirements

  • The applicant may be required to reimburse NOHFC if assets financed by NOHFC are sold within the first three years after project completion.

FAQ

Q: My innovation is not limited to serving the Northern Ontario marketplace. Am I eligible to apply for the program?

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A. Yes, provided that you meet all other program requirements.

Q: Is an applicant able to combine NOHFC funding with other government funding (stacking)?

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A. Yes. NOHFC will accept stacking of other government funding up to a maximum of 75% of eligible project costs.

Q: For prototype demonstration projects, is there a limit on the number of prototypes that are considered eligible for funding in one project?

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A. NOHFC will consider up to three prototypes per project. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Q: What is direct internal technical labour?

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A: Direct internal technical labour means labour performed by an employee of the funding recipient that has knowledge and training in a specialized complex procedure or operation that is required to complete the project.

Q: Are there any restrictions on funding under this cost category?

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A: Yes. NOHFC will only fund direct internal technical labour costs for labour performed in Northern Ontario and required to complete the project. Regular operating wages for employees of a company will not be considered eligible for funding. Additionally, costs associated with direct internal technical labour of a person who owns 10% or more of the shares of the recipient corporation (or similar ownership if the company is a different business entity) will not be considered eligible for NOHFC funding. Limited exceptions may apply for sole proprietors, in NOHFC’s sole discretion.