OCE's SmartStart program supports new ventures by Ontario's next generation entrepreneurs. These post-secondary students and recent graduates are taking the next step out of publicly funded academic institutions and research hospitals and the SmartStart program is there to facilitate next generation entrepreneurship training and development. This pilot program received funding through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
Approved student- or recent graduate-led start-ups receive up to $30,000 in seed funding to be matched by at least one other private investor. They are also provided with entrepreneurship training, introductions and connections to a vast array of networks, potential partners and customers.
The objectives of the SmartStart pilot program are to:
- Support post-secondary students and recent graduates demonstrating entrepreneurship to develop a start-up company.
- Provide a challenging and supportive environment for young entrepreneurs in their efforts to launch and grow businesses through entrepreneurship training.
- Allow next generation entrepreneurs to develop prototype products, source first customers and solve real business needs.
- Generate sustainable economic outcomes and significant job creation.
Applicants must be start-up companies led by either students at the master's or doctoral level, or graduates from university (graduate or undergraduate) or college advanced diploma programs. In all cases, the lead applicant must be from Science, Technology, Engineering or Math programs. Requirements:
- Lead applicants must be able to demonstrate they are free to use/develop the IP with no third party rights.
- The technology must form the basis for the core product or service of an Ontario-based start-up.
- The student- or recent graduate-led start-up must be a very early stage and emerging company.
- The student- or recent graduate-led start-up must be based in Southern Ontario, as defined by FedDev Ontario.
- For a $30,000 seed investment, $30,000 cash matching from non-governmental sources is required.
Decision time frames
The most recent round of SmartStart funding has closed. Dates for the next round will be posted shortly.
Overview of the Decision Process
Applications are evaluated by a committee comprised of senior OCE staff with input from external reviewers. The external reviewers are drawn from OCE's network of experts and come from academia, industry and the financial community. They are carefully selected on a case-by-case basis for their sector-specific and commercialization knowledge. The funding process is competitive.
For more information about the SmartStart program, please contact:
Tel: (416) 861 1092 x3228
Tel: (416) 861-1092 x3224