Q: What is the NOW Program?

A: The NOW (Northern Ontario Women) is a program that allows for Northern Ontario women in business to apply for funding to assist them with procuring business development resources.


Q: How long has the NOW Program been assisting Northern Ontario women- owned/women-led businesses?

A: Since the fall of 2019.


Q: What does SME stand for?

A: SME stands for Small to Medium-sized Enterprises.


Q: What qualifies as a Small to Medium-sized Enterprise?

A: An enterprise or business that has between 1-499 paid employees.


Q: How does one determine if a business is majority women-owned?

A: A women-owned business is one that is at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled daily by one or more women.


Q: What is the definition of a women-led business?

A: A business that is led by a woman or women with long-term control and management of the business, equity stake and an active role in both strategic and day to day decision making.


Q: How is “long-term control and management of the business’ defined?

A: Having been engaged in the operation, management, and ownership of the business for at least two years.


Q: How is having an ‘active role in strategic decision making’ defined?

A: Being involved in elements related to the establishment of priorities, objectives and goals for the business, overall operations of the business.


Q: How is ‘Day to day decision making’ defined?

A: Being involved in elements related to financial management, human resources, supply management, logistics or customer services (for example).


Q: What is meant by ‘Equity stake’?

A: The ability to demonstrate ownership in a company.


Q: Do women need to reside and operate their business within Northern Ontario to be eligible for the NOW Program?

A: Yes


Q: Does an applicant’s business need to have an Ontario Business Number to be eligible for NOW funding?

A: Yes. Ontario Business Numbers can be obtained via www.ontario.ca.


Q: Does an applicant’s business need to have a CRA # to be eligible for NOW funding?

A: No.


Q: What are considered eligible items that applicants may request funding to assist with?

A: One-time professional services that an applicant might not typically be able to afford, the cost of setting up a mentoring/coaching relationship and education courses that pertain to an applicant’s business needs and priorities.


Q: How long with the SME Initiative accept applications?

A: The SME Initiative is a continuous intake program, thus applications will be accepted and either approved or declined until the funding has all been distributed for the particular fiscal year in which the application was submitted. 


* It is important to note that there are limits around support for digital projects. Only those projects that are ineligible for other government programs such as CDAP and Digital Main Street will be considered eligible for NOW funding*

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