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i.d.e.a. Fund

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!

Applications for Cohort 2 of i.d.e.a. Fund closed on April 17, 2023. Successful applicants will be notified in May and the full list of Cohort 2 recipients will be announced publicly in Summer 2023.

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

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

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 or technologies

Innovate Niagara provides 22 companies with $660,000 through Cohort 2 of Government of Canada-funded i.d.e.a. Fund

Across southern Ontario, 125 companies will receive non-repayable contributions of $3,750,000 in Cohort 2 of the Government of Canada-supported i.d.e.a Fund. View the full list HERE. The Innovate Niagara-supported companies in Cohort 2 are:

Innovate Niagara provides 19 companies with $547,619 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 Innovate Niagara-supported companies in Cohort 1 are:

For full selection criteria, consult the i.d.e.a. Fund Program Guide.

How to Apply

Cohort 2 applications are now closed. 

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Frequently Asked Questions


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Eligibility Criteria

Application Form

Delivery Partners

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.

How to Become a Client

Becoming an Innovate Niagara client is quick and easy, and there’s no fee. 


Complete the Become a Client form online.


We’ll schedule you a meeting with an advisor.


Meet with that advisor to plan your next steps.

Become a Client

(905) 685-3460 Contact

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