Investment - Launch Stream

Who is Eligible?

Businesses starting-up operations in Northern Ontario.

What Projects are Eligible?

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

  • Capital construction
  • Leasehold improvements
  • New or used equipment including capital leases
  • Land servicing costs
  • Information & communications technology (ICT) investments
  • Marketing for new products and business initiatives (limited to a maximum of 20% of all other eligible project costs, or $75,000, whichever is less)
  • Training costs incurred with third parties (limited to a maximum of 20% of all other eligible project costs)

Evaluation Criteria

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

  • Job creation
  • Level of investment from other sources to be secured by the applicant
  • Strength of the applicant’s detailed business plan
  • Does not unreasonably impact existing Northern Ontario businesses
  • Net economic benefits for Northern Ontario

Other business activities that, in the opinion of the NOHFC Board of Directors, will result in an economic development advantage for Northern Ontario may be considered.

The NOHFC Board of Directors may consider exceptions to these eligibility criteria for projects that address a priority economic need in Northern Ontario.


Funding is in the form of a conditional contribution of up to 50% of total eligible project costs to a maximum of $200,000.

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?

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

  • Retail and consumer service businesses that primarily earn revenue by providing products and services directly to individuals
  • Ongoing operating costs including maintenance
  • In-kind contributions
  • Restructuring or refinancing of existing business operations
  • Accommodation & food service businesses and related business activities
  • Businesses that are primarily involved in wholesale activities
  • Business plans / strategic plans / feasibility studies etc.
  • Assets acquired through operating leases
  • Research and development
  • Land purchase/lease
  • Rolling stock (e.g. cars, trucks & boats and motors)
  • Project management costs / consulting costs / administration costs
  • Mineral exploration, mine development and milling operations
  • Working capital
  • Cost of inventory
  • Cellular and internet service projects
  • Capital projects or leasehold improvements to residential or personal properties
  • Acquisitions and buy-outs of existing businesses
  • Electricity generation projects

The NOHFC Board of Directors may consider exceptions to these eligibility criteria for projects that address a priority economic need in Northern Ontario.

Program Requirements

  • The applicant is expected to secure balance of funding/financing necessary to implement the project.
  • When launching a new business:
    • It will be expected to operate on a full-time basis and the entrepreneur/owner must work at the business on a full-time basis
    • Launch applicants are required to contribute (from their own resources) an amount equal to at least 15% of total eligible project costs towards the project.
  • The applicant may be required to reimburse NOHFC if assets financed by NOHFC are sold after project completion.


If I receive NOHFC funding, can I access funding from other federal and provincial sources to finance the remainder of my project?


Combined federal and provincial government funding may not exceed 50% of eligible project costs.

Are beverage alcohol manufacturing companies, including spirit distilleries, breweries, wineries and cideries, eligible for support under NOHFC’s INVEST North Program – Launch, Grow or Locate Streams?


No, beverage alcohol manufacturing companies are not considered eligible under NOHFC’s INVEST North ProgramLaunch, Grow or Locate Streams. However, Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has a number of resources available on their website in support of beverage manufacturing in Ontario.

What does NOHFC consider as a “new business” under the Launch Program?


NOHFC will consider businesses as new businesses if they have been operating for 6 months or less before they submit their initial application to the NOHFC for funding.

My business is currently a hobby business. Am I eligible to apply for launch funding to transition my hobby business to a full-time sustainable operation?


Yes. NOHFC will consider an application to transition a hobby business to a full-time sustainable and commercially viable business, if the owner intends to work at the business full-time.

Do I have to work at my business on a full-time basis to receive NOHFC assistance?


Business owners must work at their business on a full-time basis.

How long will I have to retain the assets acquired with NOHFC’s funding support to ensure I do not have to repay any of my funding to NOHFC?


Disposing of assets supported with NOHFC funding, or moving such assets outside Northern Ontario, will require NOHFC’s advance consent. This requirement will last for up to 3-years. The terms will be set out in your individual funding agreement.

Are tourism businesses potentially eligible given that the Invest North - Launch Stream guidelines reference accommodation services as ineligible?


Many tourism businesses that provide accommodation services are potentially eligible under the program. To clarify, these include tourism businesses that operate as a tourist destination for local, regional and international visitors for extended stays (e.g., remote outfitter, family vacation resort). Those businesses that only serve the overnight travelling public are considered ineligible (e.g. hotels and motels)

Are professional service businesses eligible for funding under the Invest North Program – Launch Stream?


Yes, professional service businesses, as defined by the NOHFC, are eligible for funding under the Invest North Program – Launch Stream, where the new business is starting operations in a small community with no existing full-time service provider or no reasonable access to those services is available within an adjacent urban centre. Your proposal must demonstrate how the additional service offering will improve quality of life.

Q: Are projects that develop land for re-sale or lease eligible under the Invest North program?


A: No. Commercial land, industrial land and building development is not eligible under the Invest North program. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • capital infrastructure for the purpose of being leased or sold,
  • commercial or industrial land development, and;
  • projects that include standalone site servicing and/or site development costs.