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Local 'clean growth' companies split $567K in government funding

Innovative companies in Southern Ontario with a focus on environmental impacts are getting a big support from the federal government’s i.d.e.a. Fund, to the tune of $567,700.

The i.d.e.a. Fund was formed to help ‘clean growth’ companies grow and succeed through financial and business advisory supports to develop green products and services that reduce impacts on the environment.

FedDev Ontario is providing roughly $3.6 million for 120 businesses through this phase of the program, which include 19 companies supported by WEtech Alliance based in southern Ontario.

“The Government of Canada-funded i.d.e.a. Fund is providing Canadian entrepreneurs and businesses with the support they need to produce innovative solutions that continue Canada’s transition to a green economy,” said Helena Jaczek, the minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “This investment will create good, secure jobs for Canadians, protect Canadian supply chains, and ensure that the Canadian economy is positioned to be a global leader, now and into the future.”

The WEtech Alliance-supported companies to receive funding under this phase of the project are:

  • Advanced Hi-Tech Centre Ltd.
  • Affinity Custom Designs Inc. - recycled plastic custom outdoor furniture – transform
  • Cedar Valley Selections Inc.
  • CanGro AgriFoods Inc
  • DC Farms
  • Dock Shield Inc.
  • Harbour Technologies
  • IdeaCuria Inc.
  • IPM Scoutek
  • Metra Signs Inc.
  • Midstream Research Inc.
  • ONtech Rapid Coatings Inc.
  • Ortaliza Urban Farms
  • REEL Outline
  • Shantz Ag Products Ltd.
  • SkiviYaan
  • TDL Systems Inc.
  • THREESEVEN Consulting Services Inc.
  • WaveDirect Telecommunications

"Today’s announcement is an example of what can be accomplished when industry and government work together to accelerate the evolution to a green, net-zero future,” said Yvonne Pilon, president and CEO of WEtech Alliance.

Pilon says companies in a wide variety of economic sectors stand to benefit from the funding, including regional food production, renewable energy, transportation, telecommunications, healthcare and manufacturing.

“Entrepreneurs are drivers of change and innovation and WEtech Alliance is proud to partner with FedDev Ontario and fellow Regional Innovation Centres to help shape a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future for Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and beyond,” said Pilon.

One of those companies is Affinity Custom Designs, which takes 90 per cent recycled plastic and converts it into outdoor yard furniture.

“I saw the opportunities with recycled plastics and the environmental responsibilities that I feel are necessary for manufacturers that gave me the kind of the light bulb moment,” said company founder, James Gibb. “How can I utilize these goods and these materials to make products that are that are sustainable and part of that circular economy.”

Another is CanGro agrifoods Inc., which is a social enterprise consisting of farmers growing African vegetables, a product in high demand but because many of these products are traditionally shipped from overseas, the quality isn’t there.

“Most of the time by the time they get here, it's either damaged or it's not good anymore,” said Fuseinat Brimah, the company’s founder.

CanGro Agrifoods just wrapped up its proof-of-concept for outdoor growing and will use the i.d.e.a fund grant money to test out indoor automated hydroponic growth, with net-zero carbon emissions.

“As a company, we really, really are environmentally friendly, and we insist on that. So that is why we want to go to the next step in a sustainable way,” Brimah said.

Adam Castle, the director of venture services for WEtech Alliance, says the challenges faced by these small businesses in recent years have been overcome through innovative thinking.

”Climate change is a challenge that our entire world faces, and once again, entrepreneurs and their ability to adapt will be a major key to the perseverance of our communities, our economy, and our country,” Castle said. “It is an honour to assist in the delivery of these funds, and in the execution of the brilliant, equitable, and environmentally sustainable projects that make up the first cohort of this transformative program.”

Applications for Cohort 2 of the i.d.e.a. Fund will open in March 2023. For additional details and eligibility criteria, visit Top Stories

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