As our economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is stepping up efforts to help Northern Ontario businesses start-up, scale-up and adopt new technologies or e-commerce solutions to modernize their operations.
Terry Sheehan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for FedNor, announced a FedNor investment of more than $2.6 million for 5 strategic initiatives that will help accelerate business development and growth, while creating local jobs and supporting local recovery efforts in Sault Ste. Marie.
Sault Ste. Marie initiatives supported by FedNor
Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC)
Innovation Accelerator Program $745,000
A FedNor investment of $745,000 will be used by SSMIC to administer an Innovation Accelerator Program. Designed to enhance innovation, commercialization, management and trade capacity of businesses in the Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma region, the program will provide qualifying firms with up to $10,000 in non-repayable funding to support innovative business and product development activities. The program will target key sectors of the economy such as advanced manufacturing, digital and clean-tech, agri-food, health and bio-sciences, natural resources, and tourism.
Business Technology Improvement Fund $660,000
To help local businesses adopt digital technology and e-commerce solutions, a FedNor investment of $660,000 will enable SSMIC to administer a Business Technology Improvement Fund. This strategic investment will provide qualifying businesses with up to $25,000 in non-repayable funding to support the purchase of new technologies, specialized design and production equipment, client management systems, as well as hardware and software designed to modernize their operations.
Sustainable New Agri-Food Products and Productivity Program $498,000
To deliver emergency COVID-19 response funding to help farm and food-processing businesses as they adapt to new market requirements so that they can survive, maintain local jobs, and support regional food security and distribution models.
FedNor funding of $400,000 will enable Heliene Canada to expand its Sault Ste. Marie facility by 4000 sq. ft to create more production and office space, build a new high-voltage testing lab and install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. This project would elevate the solar panel manufacturer’s production facility to a best in class level, ensuring it has the space and production environment to commercialize new products under development, assisting with its recovery from COVID-19.
Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology
To help facilitate industry and academic partnerships for research and development projects, FedNor funding of $378,000 will allow Sault College to hire an industry liaison coordinator and a pre-commercial research technician to work with industry partners and provide assistance supporting business scale-up and enhanced productivity.
The focus of this three-year initiative that supports local and regional applied research and development activities will be on automation and advanced manufacturing, robotics and ICT.