VentureStart is an exciting new program designed to help technology entrepreneurs in Southern Ontario with the launch of new enterprises. The VentureStart program is being delivered by the RIC Centre, in partnership with the Canadian Innovation Centre and the members of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). The program is designed to enhance the success rate of start-up ventures by providing business skills training, business launch mentoring and up to $30,000 in seed capital to qualified entrepreneurs.
The program has two stages: Business Skills Development and Business Launch Support.
The Business Skills Development stage is designed to equip the entrepreneur with the knowledge and skills to start a new venture, and lead them through the development of a robust business plan.
The Business Launch Support stage provides the entrepreneur with access to an expert mentor and seed capital to help get their business off the ground.
In the Business Skills Development stage the entrepreneur goes through a comprehensive business skills training program, which leads them through the development of a business plan for their new venture. Training is offered in an online, on-demand format.
As part of this stage, the entrepreneur must complete a Critical Factor Assessment (CFA), an evaluation which identifies issues to be addressed to improve the likelihood of success for their new venture.
Once the technology entrepreneur has completed these two steps, they are eligible to proceed to the Business Launch Support stage, where they may qualify to receive up to $30,000 in seed financing. The amount of eligible funding is determined by the results of the CFA evaluation. Note that the program is highly competitive and not all companies that complete the training will be approved for funding.
If awarded, financing is provided on a matching funds basis (the entrepreneur must raise an equivalent amount of seed funding to match the funding provided through VentureStart).
The financing is a non-repayable grant and is designed to assist with business start-up costs including, prototyping, intellectual property protection, market validation studies, and professional services for accounting and legal issues. Must be a registered corporation to receive monies.
In addition, for entrepreneurs who successfully complete the first stage, RIC Centre and its partners from the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), will provide mentoring by their Entrepreneurs in Residence, together with an extensive portfolio of the key support services that are typically required for the successful launch and operation of a new business. These services may include assistance with legal, accounting, intellectual property protection, business registration and market research.
To be eligible for VentureStart, you must reside in Southern Ontario, be a graduate of a university or college program in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, and intend to start your business in Southern Ontario. There is no age restriction.
VentureStart applicants must be the founder or co-founder of their new start-up business. To be eligible, a business must meet the following definition of a start-up:
a company that has been in operation for less than a year and has received no more than $100,000 in investment or revenue.
Please contact sarah@ventureStart.ca if you have questions or concerns about eligibility.
A fee of $1,700 (+tax) applies for the business skills training protion of the program. This covers one-half of the $3,400 cost of the Business Skills Development training. The remaining $1,700 (+tax) is paid for by the RIC Centre. There are no other costs for the entrepreneur, other than the requirement of matching funds for any seed financing received.