Launched by the Government of Canada in July 2012, the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) is supported through FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative and is being delivered by the Western Ontario Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) Association and the Eastern Ontario CFDC Network Inc. SOFII provides interest-bearing business loans to support innovation and growth in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the region. A total of $20 million was contributed to the two regional SOFII funds, which are self-sustaining, revolving loan funds, delivered in their respective territories.
Effective March 18th, 2014, FedDev Ontario announced a further $20-million, non-repayable contribution to the two SOFII funds, to enable continued delivery of the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII).This contribution comes through FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative.
As of April 2016 SOFII Ontario East has invested $15 million and leveraged approximately $44 million in 30 projects, creating an estimated 340 jobs to date across Eastern Ontario, while maintaining 619 full-time positions. Additionally, funded SOFII applicants have forecasted an additional 1200 full-time positions will be created over the course of their projects.
Data for SOFII Ontario West will be available in the near future.
The Southern Ontario Fund for Investing in Innovation supports high-growth, innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in rural and urban communities by offering loans of usually $150,000 to $500,000 to support all aspects of growth challenges facing them. The loans are intended to help finance:
- Late stage commercialization;
- New product or service development;
- New applications or markets; or
- Development or implementation of new processes or technologies.
The SOFII loan fund acts as a catalyst for increased investment in and support for innovation and are one element in the emerging climate of support for these high-growth companies in Southern Ontario.