Rural Innovation Initiative Guidelines
We provide access to capital to enterprises and projects creating employment and contributing to economic diversification in rural communities in pursuit of social and financial returns, in the form of equity investments, debt, and non-repayable contributions
Rural Innovation Initiative (RII) supports high-potential enterprises and the transition of traditional rural sectors and business to the new rural economy, aiming to stimulate direct investments by the private sector and social enterprises in innovation capital, with the goal of producing aggregate economic effects locally and regionally.
Innovation capital is investment in new or next generation equipment, technology, products, and processes that lead to: growth; access to new markets; and investment in people – and that can help build sustainable rural communities.
Supported projects will strengthen competitiveness, productivity, business growth, process innovation, new market access, creation and retention of employment opportunities, incremental sales and increased income, and, as a result, diversify and transform rural communities.
Recipients will also be expected to begin developing metrics on the social impacts of their organization. To be eligible, a project must be targeted for completion no later than December 1st, 2020.
Applicants from the agtech and sustainable food sectors may be selected to participate in an accelerator program that will include a three-day bootcamp in fall 2019.
Intake for RII, which is supported by FedDev Ontario, began June 6th, 2019 and will close July 12th, 2019. Further intakes will be dependent on available funding.
To Apply – Download the RII Application and Guide (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) and submit it with all mandatory support information (as attachments) to firstname.lastname@example.org before July 12th, 2019 at 17:00 EDT.
Mandatory Support Information:
– Proof of legal name, business registration, or if incorporated, a copy of Articles of Incorporation
– Financial Statements (at minimum, a YTD Profit & Loss Statement and Consolidated Balance Sheet)
– Project Budget Form by Fiscal Year
– List of Board of Directors (Not-for-Profit)
Additional Information You May Include:
- Business Plan or Executive Summary
- Business Model Canvas
- Third Party Quotes for Eligible Project Costs
- Letters of Support
- Other Relevant Documentation
Overall it is the intent of Community Futures and the Upper Canada Social Impact Fund to carefully invest in local projects that support high-potential enterprises and the transition of traditional rural sectors and business to the new rural economy.
Projects will demonstrate sustainability, drive prosperity and job creation/sustainment through innovation, research and development, commercialization, and business practices that work to position the region for global competitiveness, export markets, and economic diversification.
Recipients will work with partners and service providers to identify and measure the social impacts of their project, and will be encouraged to develop metrics tailored to their organization that they can report on periodically.
Applicants from the agtech and sustainable food sectors may be selected to participate in an accelerator program that will include a three-day bootcamp in fall 2019 delivered by the Upper Canada Social Impact and SVX, an impact investing platform for ventures, funds, and investors seeking social and/or environmental impact alongside the potential for financial return.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE
Eligible recipients with operations located in Prince Edward County and Lennox & Addington County may include:
- Private, for-profit, traditional SMEs with the potential to grow through innovation;
- Not-for-profits and social purpose organizations supporting business and community transition into the new rural economy.
WHAT IS ELIGIBLE
Projects in the following priority sectors will be considered:
- Food Processing
- Digital Industries
- Clean Tech
- Priority will be given to projects that advance the economic participation of: youth, women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, newcomers, and visible minorities
Eligible activities should drive business growth and transition enterprises to the new rural economy by supporting the adoption of advanced business practices and innovation processes such as:
- Rapid prototyping and new products
- Scaling and automating production processes
- Export facing market products and services
- Internet of things, sensors
- Data driven solutions
- Emerging sustainable technology
- Machine learning
- Blockchain, digitization, and interconnected knowledge management
Projects proposed by not-for-profits and social purpose organizations should be business-focussed, align with federal government economic development priorities, support priority industry sectors, and advance inclusiveness.
Examples of eligible project activities could include:
- Business hubs supporting economic diversification
- Workshops that help farm-to-table food enterprises reach new markets
Selected projects will be eligible for a non-repayable performance-based contribution and require a minimum 50 percent cash contribution by the recipient on eligible expenses net of HST. The minimum project size is $50,000 resulting in a minimum contribution of $25,000 by the recipient.
The total support to for-profit recipients will not exceed $100,000.
Eligible costs for project activities may include:
All costs must be reasonable and directly related to the eligible project activities.
INELIGIBLE AND/OR UNSUPPORTED COSTS INCLUDE:
- Any costs deemed not reasonable and/or not directly related to the eligible project activities.
- Activities in support of regular maintenance and/or ongoing operational costs.
- Cost incurred prior to the eligibility date as defined in the Contribution Agreement.
- Costs incurred after December 1, 2020.
- Any cost that is ineligible under the Contribution Agreement.
- Acquisition of land or buildings.
Eligible recipients must demonstrate that they are prepared to and have mechanisms in place to submit data, schedules, plans and reports in sufficient detail for the Community Futures to:
- Assess project progress
- Post project completion monitoring
- Evaluate the outcomes and effectiveness of the contributions
Eligible recipients will provide the Community Futures organization with Progress/Activity Reports and financial claims on a monthly basis, quarterly or as required and outlined in the Contribution Agreement.
HOW TO APPLY
1. Start – Download the RII Application and Guide (spreadsheet).
2. Submit – Send your completed application with all mandatory support information (as attachments) to email@example.com before July 12th, 2019 at 17:00 EDT.
3. Due Diligence – Community Futures staff carry out review, due diligence, and project development.
4. Investment Committee Review – Review and select recipients.
Applicants notified typically within 6 weeks of date of completed application, or the close of an intake round, whichever is later.
If a project is selected for support, Community Futures will prepare a Contribution Agreement with terms and conditions.
Financial contributions are performance-based and subject to a 10% holdback until the applicant has completed the project, and met all project requirements as outlined in the Contribution agreement. No project is expected to extend past December 1, 2020
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the Program Manager to discuss proposed projects prior to submitting an online application.