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Ontario invests over $6-million in London-area businesses to create 134 jobs

(Left to Right) VP of Shogun Maitake Canada Joe Fontana, MPP Jeff Yurek, CEO of Shogun Maitake Canada Yoshinodu Odaira, and MPP Vic Fedeli outside the Shogun Maitake manufacturing plant in southwest London. Oct. 13, 2021. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Five businesses in the London Middlesex Elgin region are getting an influx of cash from the provincial government to create 134 jobs for those in the manufacturing and agri-food sectors.

Ontario is investing over $6-million from the Regional Development Program, on top of the combined $43.2-million from London-area businesses investing their own money, to strengthen manufacturing and expand production.

“Through the Regional Development Program, our government is making targeted investments in local manufacturers to help them create good, local jobs,” said Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade.

The announcement from the province was made Wednesday morning, outside the Shogun Maitake production facility in southwest London, where they grow Maitake mushrooms for the agri-pharm and bio-pharmaceutical industries.

Shogun Maitake is investing $31.2-million to create a new production facility in Thames Centre and is receiving $4.5 million of the funding announced to help purchase new equipment.

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The investment will help the company expand production and create 60 new jobs in the region, and address a significant supply shortage.

“Shogun Maitake Canada has been operating in Canada since 2017 and has now received support from the Government of Ontario and the City of Thames Centre to expand its facility,” said Yoshinodu Odaira, CEO of Shogun Maitake Canada.

“Our black maitake mushrooms are not only delicious, but their health benefits are the most attractive feature. We will begin selling the supplement next year, expanding access to this food that has shown significant signs of various positive health effects.”

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The bulk of the mushrooms are sold to restaurants and a small portion are being sold to grocery stores like Farm Boy and Sobeys.

“The production of the new facility would allow us to do seven times more than we do here and introduce new products into Canada and the United States,” said Joe Fontana, VP of Shogun Maitake.

Shogun Maitake is investing $31.2-million to create a new production facility in Thames Centre to grow more Maitake mushrooms. Oct. 13, 2021. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Four other companies will also receive funding from the RDP, including Attica Manfurunting, which is getting $531,000 to purchase and install new machinery on top of investing $5.3-million into its facility in London. The changes will help the company create 115 new jobs.

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“This armament of both machinery and software has advanced our current and new staff and created a greater diversity in the areas we serve which include cleantech, defense, aerospace and health-care industries,” said Andy Mavrokefalos, President of Attica Manufacturing.

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Algonquin Bridge will be getting $525,000 from the fund on top of using $3.5 million of its own funding to create 10 jobs, while Arva Industries will be getting $312,000 on top of using $2.1 million of its own money to create six new jobs.

“The funds provided through this program will help Arva improve productivity and competitiveness within our market,” said Paul J. Smith, president of Arva Industries. “We have been recruiting for additional staff for several months now and anticipate that this trend will continue.”

Planet Shrimp, a brand of RAS Technologies, will be getting nearly $163,000 from the fund on top of investing $1.1-million of its own money, which will help create 43 new jobs.

Ontario is investing more than $100-million through the Regional Development Program from 2019 to 2023 to support distinct regional priorities and challenges.

The program provides cost-shared funding to businesses, municipalities and economic development organizations to help local communities attract investment, diversify their economies and create jobs.

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