SFEP (August 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021)

Please note that the SFEP is currently tapped out and not accepting submissions.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a backlog of companies in an economic holding pattern with severe economic stress characterized by uncertainty; stagnant and even broken supply chains and delayed and/or cancelled orders. IION is pleased to provide companies with a new iteration of the Step Forward Entrepreneurs Program (SFEP) effective August 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

The previous eligibility and cost categories remain the same; sales and marketing, product development and business enhancement. Examples of these costs include, but are not limited to;

However, to help overcome the inertia and to assist the re-starting and acceleration of economic activity among innovative SMEs additional eligibility will be granted for projects that include:

Is my business eligible?

Please note that the SFEP (August 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) is open to innovative companies who have previously used any iteration of the initiative.

The SFEP (August 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) is targeted toward innovative companies who are looking for support to overcome obstacles associated with the Covid-19 pandemic to maintain business operations.

The applicant must be a for-profit entity, registered as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation located in the district of Nipissing, Timiskaming, Parry Sound or Muskoka looking to develop its ability to advance the growth of its business along the commercialization path as defined by the program objectives. The program is not intended to support, nor is applicable to, businesses operating as distributors or re-sellers. Existing staff wages or administrative costs, website development, rolling stock, on-going operational project costs, or any other internal costs associated with the project are not eligible. The SFEP (August 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) is not able to support projects where FedNor assistance is otherwise available. Applications must be received prior to incurring costs associated with the project and are subject to a monthly competitive review process. Projects will be reimbursed upon receipt of final invoice(s) and proof of payment to be completed within a 6-month time frame or by March 31, 2021, whichever comes first.

Are there costs to me?


The SFEP (August 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) will support up to 75% of eligible costs, before tax, at one of three funding levels.

Level 1: $5,000 grant for a minimum project spend before tax of $6,667

Level 2: $7,500 grant for a minimum project spend before tax of $10,000 

Level 3: $10,000 grant for a minimum project spend before tax of $13,334

The applicant will be required to register as an IION client and fill out occasional surveys as a reporting requirement for up to five years. This is to properly capture aggregate economic data. Failure to fill out annual surveys and the SFEP (August 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) survey could result in making the applicant ineligible for future IION funding programs. IION will maintain the confidentiality of collected data, meaning it will only be used in terms of total results from all projects, and no particular company is ever individually identified.

How do I get started?

*To ensure clarity on the program and it’s qualifying conditions, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact IION prior to applying. *

The SFEP (August 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) has a continual intake process, with monthly reviews. The last day of every month is the submission deadline, however applicants are encouraged to submit sooner to allow time for suggested revisions.


Contact Matthew at:

705-845-0616, or email at [email protected]





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