Supporting a more sustainable economy while fostering an inclusive and equitable recovery in southern Ontario

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 Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) – Innovation Guelph, Haltech, Innovate Niagara, WEtech Alliance, Innovation Factory and TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario – 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.

Applications for Cohort 2 of i.d.e.a. Fund will be open March 24 to April 17, 2023. Successful applicants will be notified in May and the full list of Cohort 2 recipients will be announced publicly in Summer 2023.

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Seed Funding & Support

Non-repayable seed funding of up to $30,000 with matching funds

Up to 40 hours of fully funded, targeted support from business leaders

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Expert Help

Our experts have the knowledge and experience to help you address challenges and move your business forward in all areas including:

growth plans and strategies   talent attraction   raising follow-on investment   market diversification   product development   quantification of product benefits   market value propositions   commercialization of intellectual property   and more

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Interested in applying?

We’re looking for 120 companies that are:

Fewer than 500 employees

• Federally incorporated or incorporated in the Province of Ontario

• Located in southern Ontario

Developing or redesigning new products, services, processes or technologies that focus on a sustainable and green recovery


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How many companies will be accepted to i.d.e.a. Fund?

The i.d.e.a Fund will accept 120 clients into the program cohort.

Which Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) will I be assigned to?

Your company will be allocated to one of the partner Regional Innovation Centres (RIC) based on a number of criteria including regional proximity and any current or previous history working with a particular RIC.

How does the expert-matching work?

Once accepted into the program, your Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) will determine the best expert/mentor to match you with based on your industry, business stage and specific project goals.  There may be an opportunity to engage more than one expert, depending on project requirements.

What information will I be expected to provide for reporting requirements?

You can anticipate providing i.d.e.a. Fund regular project updates as well as general business metrics during your participation in the program, as a requirement to receive funding. Once the project(s) are complete there will also be post-program follow-up reports that will be requested for up to three years. Metrics may include but aren’t limited to: revenues, investment, employment and intellectual property.

I am a co-founder/partner in the business. Do we all participate in this program, or is there one point of contact?

We expect that all decisions around financial commitments, project plans, budgets, milestones and KPIs, and updates will involve a decision-maker in the business.  This is usually the owner/founder/C-Suite. Other members of your team can be involved in these meetings and are welcome. Once projects begin, involvement may be limited to one or more functional area and/or person depending on the project scope.

How is the seed funding distributed to participants in i.d.e.a. Fund?
The funding will be distributed as outlined below:
  • 50% of activity seed financing released once an initial diagnostic and work plan has been completed by the recipient and their assigned lead expert, including goals and milestone
  • 25% of activity seed financing released upon recommendation of the lead project expert and completion of their interim report.
  • 25% of the activity seed financing released upon completion of the project and the approval of the final reporting requirements. This means that the participant must spend both the grant money AND their matching funds before receiving the final 25% of the grant money. The project may be close to 100% complete.
What are the eligibility requirements to participate in this program?
  • One or two team members of the business’s leadership team are available to participate in the program
  • 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 must have a scalable product or service
I see that I need to have a scalable product or service to participate. Is there an opportunity, within the application form, to explain my product or service in more detail?

Yes. There are open-ended questions on the application form where you will have an opportunity to explain their product and/or service in as much detail as they’d like.

Do I have to be incorporated in Ontario?

You must be incorporated federally or in the province of Ontario in order to participate in the i.d.e.a. Fund.

If I’m not currently incorporated, am I required to incorporate my business by June 1, 2023 to participate in the program? Can this program support with the incorporation process?

No. Your business must be incorporated federally or in the province of Ontario by June 1, 2022 in order to participate in the program.  If you need support to be incorporated, please contact jordann.hunsperger@innovationguelph.ca for more information.

Can I download a copy of the application to review prior to completing it?

Yes. Prior to entering the application, there will be a PDF version available for download. Please note that this is for review purposes only; all applications must be submitted via the online application form. You will also be able to add members of your team to the intake form to collaborate online.

Is there a “save and continue later” feature for this application?

Yes. This feature will be visible once the application form is started and after the pre-qualification questions. The application also auto-saves every 10 seconds.

Will the application form time out and delete what I have completed?

If you use the “save and continue later” feature, the application will not delete completed questions.

When will the intake period open and close?

Applications for i.d.e.a. Fund Cohort 2 will open on March 24, 2023, and close on April 17, 2023.

Is there more than one intake period for this program?

Yes. Cohort 1 ended on February 28, 2023. Applications for Cohort 2 cohort of the i.d.e.a. Fund open on March 24, 2023.

How much detail do you require for the budget in the application?

The budget form is created to provide us with a high-level understanding of your project and project activities from a financial perspective so that we can review how much seed funding you are requesting, how much you are contributing, and how you expect to use that money. If you are accepted into the program, we will be working with you to develop a more comprehensive budget, KPIs and milestones.

Can I apply to this program if my business is pre-revenue? Is there a minimum revenue requirement?

There is no minimum revenue required for i.d.e.a. Fund. Companies must have fewer than 500 employees.

How can I determine what stage my business is at (idea, discovery, validation, efficiency, scale)?

There will be five (5) options for your business state.  The explanations are:

  1. Idea: Entrepreneur with idea; initial market and technology exploration.
  2. Discovery: Value proposition established; testing ideas; proof of concept; identifying customers; early financials; Friends and Family funding.
  3. Validation: Business model established; minimum viable product; customer verified; initial orders; testing go-to-market strategy; pursuing angel funding or in accelerator
  4. Efficiency: Initial market traction; scaling sales and marketing; demand creation; forecasting based on actuals; pursuing early-stage VC.
  5. Scale: Validated product and market; customer growth; established management team; pursuing later-stage investment.
How do I find my NAICS code?

Please visit the Government of Canada’s website to identify your 5-digit NAICS code. Often businesses may be categorized by more than one code, please choose the most applicable one.

What is a business model canvas and is there a resource to assist with completing this?

A business model canvas (BMC) is a visual tool intended for developing new or documenting existing business models. It quickly informs how an organization or business creates its products or services, delivers them and captures value (e.g. with your customers or revenue). Think of the business model canvas as containing nine (9) essential building blocks. We encourage you to attend one of our information sessions to see an entire walk-through of the BMC or download our Business Model Canvas Guide.


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Join us for a virtual information session to learn more about the i.d.e.a. Fund. There will be an opportunity for live Q&A with the i.d.e.a. Fund team throughout each session. Click the links below to register for one of our upcoming sessions.

To prepare for the information sessions, you can download our full Program Guide.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023 | 3:30-5pm



Wednesday, April 5, 2023 | 8:30-10am



Thursday, April 13 | 12:00-1:30pm



Thursday, March 30, 2023 | 5-6:30 pm


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Applications for Cohort 2 of i.d.e.a. Fund will be open from March 24 to April 17, 2023. Successful applicants will be notified in May and the full list of Cohort 2 recipients will be announced publicly in Summer 2023.

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WEtech Alliance provides 19 companies with $567,700 through Cohort 1 of Government of Canada-funded i.d.e.a. Fund

Across southern Ontario, approximately 120 companies received non-repayable contributions of up to $3,600,000 through Cohort 1 of the Government of Canada-supported i.d.e.a Fund. View the full list HERE.

The WEtech Alliance-supported companies in Cohort 1 are:

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Delivery Partners:

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This program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Jobs and Growth Fund, which advances economic recovery efforts, supports businesses and organizations to help create jobs, supports the transition to a green economy, and positions local economies for long-term growth.

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Contact our Director of Venture Services, Adam Castle

Email: acastle@wetech-alliance.com  |  Phone: 226.246.0287