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

i.d.e.a. Fund is a program that fosters inclusion, diversity, environment and acceleration while contributing to a green recovery, and is 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.

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.

If your company is in southern Ontario, has a project that might fit the criteria and is interested in benefiting from a financial injection of seed funding and executive-level mentorship – keep reading!

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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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Who can apply?

We’re looking for 120 companies that are:

high potential businesses that have growth potential

committed to reducing their impact on the environment by developing new or redesigning:  products  services  processes  technologies

The first cohort of this program begins June 30 and continues to February 28, 2023. For full selection criteria, consult the i.d.e.a. Fund Program Guide.


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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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Applications for the 2022 i.d.e.a. Fund closed on June 7th, 2022.  Successful applicants will be notified in late June and the full list of Cohort 1 recipients will be announced publicly on August 3rd, 2022.

Cohort 2 applications will open in March 2023.

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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.

Where can I find a list of eligible costs?

The Program Guide, available for download on the homepage of this website, outlines eligible costs

I have received another government grant to partially fund some capital equipment I intend to purchase. Can I use the seed funding through i.d.e.a. Fund to fund the remainder of the equipment? Is this considered Stacking funds?

Yes, Given the equipment is only partially funded, using the FedDev funding for the remainder of the equipment would not be stacking unless the costs provided exceed the total cost of the equipment. Under Jobs and Growth stacking is allowed up to 100% of the cost of the equipment   The total funds used must still be a maximum of 25% of the total project costs.

Can I use seed funding to make purchases (within the bounds of eligible costs) outside of Ontario? What if we are developing Intellectual Property in partnership with an out-of-province entity?

Yes, as long as the business supported is located in Ontario, and the business is incurring the costs, their purchases (software, equipment, etc.) could occur from vendors elsewhere in Canada or internationally. The costs being funded must be attributed back to the expenses of the business located in Ontario.

Can the seed funding be used to cover costs that have already been incurred?

No, all costs incurred must be due to your unique project, specific to the fund. Seed funding cannot be used to cover costs that were incurred prior to your acceptance into the program.

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 between June 30, 2022 and 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 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, 2022 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.

Is franchising considered a scaleable business?

Yes, franchising and/or licensing is considered scaling.

What are some examples of acceptable matching funds?

Matching funds must be cash equivalent (i.e., not “in kind” contributions). This could include but isn’t limited to: operating funds (bank statements), bank loans, VISA credit or credit lines, personal loans (from friends and family), general investment.

Do I need to be a current client of a Regional Innovation Centre to apply?

No, you do not need to be a current or previous client of RIC to apply. We are accepting applications from any eligible companies in southern Ontario. All applications will be evaluated the same way, whether you’ve been a client or not.

If an SME business is applying for funding, and collaborating with a smaller early-stage company on a tangent project with them. Can they both access funding?

No, each application for the program must be for a unique project. Two companies cannot apply for the program with the intention of using the seed funding for the same project.

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.

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 the i.d.e.a. Fund will open on May 10, 2022 and close on June 7, 2022.

Is there more than one intake period for this program?

Yes. Applications for the next cohort of the i.d.e.a. Fund will open in March 2023. Updates will be posted on the i.d.e.a. Fund website. At the bottom of this page you can also sign up to receive email updates and to be notified when the applications open.

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.

How will my application be evaluated?

Applications are evaluated with a rubric by an internal selection committee at the RIC you’re assigned to. This rubric is available for download on the SM Apply portal (see link to apply on the website homepage).


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Join us for a virtual information session to learn more about this exciting new program! 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.

Info Sessions

Tuesday, May 10 | 4-5pm

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Wednesday, May 18 | 12-1pm

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Thursday, May 26 | 8:30-9:30am

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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