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What is the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund?

In response to the current economic environment the City of Calgary established the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund as a tool to attract and support transformative investments in the city.

The $100-million fund offers opportunities for private sector companies, non-profits and public institutions making transformative investments in Calgary that will be catalysts for economic growth, diversification, increased employment, and expansion of the property tax assessment base.

Who is eligible?

Innovative and catalytic projects don’t necessarily fit in an easily defined box. In order to promote innovation and creativity the eligibility criteria are minimal and general.  

To qualify for OCIF funding, the applicant:

  • Must be registered to do business in Canada
  • Cannot be an individual
  • Can be locally, nationally or internationally based
  • Can be for-profit, non-profit or a public institution
  • Can be a partnership, although a lead applicant must be identified

To qualify for OCIF funding the project must:

  • Be located in Calgary
  • Be catalytic and innovative
  • Create economic benefits that are realized in Calgary
  • Create jobs

Eligible projects can apply for up to 50% of the project budget. Early stage operations and startup costs are not eligible for funding. For more information please see the Program Guide or contact the OCIF team.

To be successful in receiving OCIF funding, applicants must demonstrate how their project is aligned with the following assessment criteria:


Economic Benefits

Increases in direct investment, revenues, and property tax 


Job Creation

Increase in the quantity and quality of full-time direct and indirect jobs

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Innovation and Sector Benefits

Strategic projects that spur and facilitate growth

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Alignment with Key Industries and Emerging Sectors

Investment in key industries and emerging, high potential sectors

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Alignment with Strategic Initiatives

Align with other public and private initiatives

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Social Benefits

Benefits to citizens or the environment

For more information, please view the Program Guide.


Application Process

Applicants must submit the Application Form through the portal. It will then be evaluated against the eligibility and assessment factors. Organizations are encouraged to read both the Program Guide and the Application Guide before beginning their application.

Applicants with significant OCIF funding potential will progress to the next phase and will be required to submit a detailed Business Case.

Successful applicants who are approved for funding will be required to complete ongoing monitoring and reporting on the funds received during the development phase as well as during ongoing project operations.






OCIF will be accepting continuous applications until all funds are allocated. Applicants can expect a response approximately four to six weeks from the date of submission.


Application Form

We highly recommend speaking to an OCIF representative prior to beginning your application form.

Click here to

Apply Now ➤


Click here for a PDF copy of the application form. This is for informational purposes only, all applications must be submitted through the online portal. 

All information provided in the application form and business case will be held in confidence.




Frequently Asked Questions

Calgary’s economy was deeply impacted by a structural change the energy sector and the 2014-2015 recession. It prompted municipal and business leaders to take the bold action to support growth in key sectors and diversify Calgary’s economy. At the Downtown Economic Summit in March 2017, it was determined a business-as-usual approach wouldn’t be enough to fill vacant office space or create good-paying jobs so the Fund was proposed by City Council.

The Fund has intentionally stayed away from narrowly defining eligible projects because it’s recognized that innovation and creativity are possible in any business and sector. Successful projects will create jobs and create an economic return. Applications for projects carrying out “business as usual” growth strategies that are not catalytic and innovative for the city’s economy will not be funded.


Examples of ineligible costs include but are not limited to:

  • Working capital
  • Events
  • Marketing
  • Market research
  • Prototype development

 OCIF reserves the right to make the final determination on eligible and ineligible expenses.

Yes. The Fund is intended to attract business investment to Calgary but also support local companies making ground-breaking investments or creating new business lines which will spur catalytic growth and economic diversification.

All applications will be assessed on the same criteria, regardless of the size of the grant to be awarded, on the degree to which the investment creates benefits and is aligned with the assessment areas:

  • Economic benefits
  • Job creation
  • Alignment with key industries
  • Innovation and sector benefits
  • Alignment with strategic initiatives
  • Social benefits

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary. Oversight is provided by a board of directors comprised of 10 volunteers who are prominent leaders from Calgary’s business community and municipal government.

The board of directors provides oversight and guidance to ensure the Fund aligns with the Economic Strategy for Calgary and that efficient processes, rigorous reviews and validation, transparency and accountability are maintained.

The members of the board of directors, as of August 2019, are:

  • Barry Munro, Partner, EY – Chair
  • Joe Lougheed, Chair of the Board, Calgary Economic Development
  • Steve Allan, Former Chair of the Board, Calgary Economic Development – Vice Chair
  • Mayor Naheed Nenshi
  • Councillor Jeff Davison
  • Cheryl Gottselig, Q.C., Partner, Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer Law Firm
  • Ian Bruce, Former CEO, Peters & Co. Limited
  • Geeta Sankappanavar, President & COO, Grafton Asset Management
  • Michael Brown, President and CEO, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation
  • Mark Blackwell, Partner, Builders VC
  • Nancy Laird, Corporate Director
  • Mary Moran, CEO
  • Sheila Will, CFO

Many governments in Canada and the United States have similar funds to the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund. Two prominent examples are The Texas Enterprise Fund that supports business attraction in the state, and in Ontario, Waterloo used $110 million to support its highly successful economic development fund.

The program is funded entirely from the City’s existing fiscal reserves and will have no impact on property tax rates.

The City of Calgary’s goal is to support job creation and increase the municipal property assessment base. It is prohibited from providing loans or becoming a partner in commercial ventures.

The funding is intended to be a non-repayable contribution. However there are stringent reporting requirements for recipients to ensure they comply with all provisions of the funding. Recipients that do not meet all terms laid out in the funding agreement may be subject to repaying all or some of the funds.

Contact us

Calgary Economic Development oversees the intake process and administration for the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund. Fill out this form to drop us an email or call 403-221-7831 or more information.


Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund