Southwestern Ontario Development Fund Opens for New Round of Applications

Sarnia, ON – The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund is now accepting applications for its latest round of funding, aimed at supporting projects and investments by businesses, municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations to drive economic development in Southwestern Ontario.

The objective of the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund is to provide financial support and services to help growing companies in southwestern Ontario make investments that will grow their businesses, improve productivity, invest in innovation and skills development, pursue new markets, generate broad positive regional economic impact, and create new sustainable jobs. A project is a distinct undertaking, separate from ongoing operations, that will result in benefits such as business growth or access to new markets.

Eligibility & Types of Support
The fund supports both business and community economic development projects; specifically, for business projects:

A. To be eligible, businesses need to:

  • Have at least 3 years of operations/financial statements
  • Employ at least 10 people (or 5 if you are in rural Ontario)
  • Commit to creating at least 5 new jobs (or a 30% increase for companies with fewer than 15 employees)
  • Invest at least $500,000 in their project (or $200,000 if you are in rural Ontario)
  • Be located in, or plan to locate in, a community in southwestern Ontario.

B. Funding support:

  • Funding amount of up to 15% of eligible project costs.
  • Loans of up to 15% funding to a maximum of $5M, interest-free during the project period (up to 4 years). If you achieve your investment and job targets, up to 30% of the loan (to a maximum of $500,000) may be forgiven.
  • Grants are available only for specific circumstances, up to 15% to a maximum:
    • Of $500,000 if your company has fewer than 100 employees and is based in rural Ontario (the population of your community is less than 100,000 or the population density is less than 100 people per square kilometre)
    • Of $1,500,000 for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments or from companies competing against other jurisdictions (in limited circumstances)

Complementary Services and Support
Complementary Services and Supports are available when you submit a complete application to the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund through the Regional Development Program. These services are available for the duration of your project regardless of the funding outcome. Services will be coordinated by working with partner ministries until they are delivered, closed out or finalized. Businesses may be eligible for other assistance related to advisory services, assistance with environmental compliance approvals, assistance in accessing skills and talent, and information related to available tax credits.

Application Deadlines and Decisions

  • Application submission period: July 2, 2024 – September 17, 2024
  • Application deadline: September 17, 2024
  • Notification date: December 11, 2024

Before applying, applicants are encouraged to contact our team of economic development officers who can help assess the fit with the program and provide advice on application preparation.

For more information about the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund and to apply, please visit

About Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership:

The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP) is the lead economic development agency for the Sarnia-Lambton area. Funded by the County of Lambton, we have a focus on promoting the distinct advantages that Sarnia-Lambton proudly offers companies and residents. By coordinating community-based economic development initiatives and maintaining a commercially attractive environment, we foster new business creation, help ensure that established firms remain and grow here, and work to attract growing businesses to the Sarnia-Lambton area. Visit to learn more.

For Inquiries:

Matthew Slotwinski
Chief Executive Officer
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
(519) 332 1820

Posted in: SLEP News