Many entrepreneurs and small business owners have made the Walkerton area a successful place of business. One of the key strengths of the area is the firmly rooted base of companies that have demonstrated high levels of entrepreneurial energy and competitiveness.

Learn more here about business incentives programs, local business costs, local planning policies and testimonials from business owners who have emerged as key leaders in the business community.

Businesses in the area have access to a both federal and provincial incentive programs.

FedDev Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) has a range of programs focused on strengthening the economy and positioning the region to compete at a global level and scale. The programs most relevant for innovative small business owners and entrepreneurs are:

  • Graduate Enterprise Internship: Designed to help develop business and management skills of graduate students and recent graduates of programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by providing funding for internships with small and medium sized companies.
  • Investing in Business Innovation: Designed to boost private sector investment in start-up businesses to accelerate the development of new products, processes and practices and bring them to market. This program also helps angel investor networks and associations attract new investment.
  • Prosperity Initiative: Three funding program opportunities were developed to support:

    • Productivity enhancement - improvements to enhance the productivity of an industry and the adaption and adoption of new technologies, processes and skills development
    • Regional diversification - support activities that create new opportunities for economic diversification, market development and expansion, business attraction to diversify regional or community economies, and business expansion supporting greater diversification
    • Building a competitive advantage for southern Ontario - support activities to enhance the competitiveness of an industry cluster such as the adaptation and adoption of new technologies, processes and skills development in an industry, business opportunity development and expansion, and facilities improvement or expansion.
  • Scientists and Engineers in Business: Designed to help recent graduates and graduate students in the STEM fields by improving access to financing and providing business support services to successfully launch and manage start-up businesses.
  • Technology Development Program: Designed to help research, innovation and commercialization organizations, the private sector, post-secondary institutions and not-for-profit organizations work together to accelerate the development of technologies that will result in new market opportunities.
  • Youth STEM: Designed to encourage southern Ontario students from kindergarten to grade 12 to pursue an education and career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Ministry of Economic Development and Growth

The Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG) has a number of programs that can support innovation. These programs include:

  • Innovation Demonstration Fund: Designed to provide funding for the development and demonstration of new energy and water technologies. This program will support pilot demonstrations that will lead to the commercialization of processes or products in Ontario that are globally competitive. By supporting pilot demonstrations this fund addresses the financing gap that exists between R&D and the commercialization of new technologies.
  • Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund: Co-invests with qualified venture capital funds and other private investors directly into companies working within the focus areas that include clean technologies.
  • Investment Accelerator Fund: Designed to help eligible start-up companies develop their technology and gain entrepreneurial expertise to bring their product or service to market.
  • Ontario-China Research and Innovation Fund (OCRIF): Supports collaborative projects between researchers and innovative companies in Ontario and China. Funding proposals focus on four research themes. Water and water-related technologies is one of the themes.
  • Ontario Network of Excellence: Designed to focus on the needs of clients, which include technology-based entrepreneurs, companies or researchers who are commercializing new approaches to new technologies. ONE also supports businesses that want to pursue innovation at a globally competitive scale. The ONE programs can be accessed through Regional Innovation Centres (RICs). The nearest RICs to Walkerton would include Communitech Technology Association (Waterloo), Innovation Guelph, and TechAlliance of SouthWestern Ontario (London). The directors at these RICs are valuable resources to direct entrepreneurs to funding sources.
  • Ontario Research Fund: Designed to provide researchers with the support they need to undertake cutting-edge research. This fund will support the direct and indirect operational costs of water and wastewater-related research.
  • Ontario Tax Exemption for Commercialization: Designed to encourage the commercialization of intellectual property that has been developed by qualifying Canadian universities or colleges. OTEC provides a refund of corporate income tax and corporate minimum tax paid for a qualifying corporation's first ten taxation years. Priority areas include the bioeconomy.