FedDev Ontario Invests in SmartStart Seed Fund to Support Companies in Southern Ontario
January 21, 2015 - More entrepreneurs in southern Ontario will benefit from support through Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE) SmartStart Seed Fund (SmartStart), thanks to an investment of up to $9 million announced today by FedDev Ontario Minister Gary Goodyear.
SmartStart provides seed financing and funding for entrepreneurship skills training to help high-potential start-up companies grow their companies and make them investment and customer ready. The program was first piloted with FedDev Ontario funding in 2012 and renewed with Government of Ontario funding in April 2014. It currently offers entrepreneurs between 18 and 29 years of age up to $40,000 for technology or innovation-based companies located in Ontario to launch and grow their businesses. After April 1, 2015, southern Ontario entrepreneurs between 18 and 29 years of age may apply for up to $70,000, while those 30 and older can apply for up to $40,000.
OCE is leveraging partnerships with private-sector accelerators, Campus Linked Accelerators (CLAs) located in academic institutions across Ontario, Regional Innovation Centres (RICs), angel investor networks, venture capital firms, industry and sector organizations to deliver this program.
The Harper Government’s contribution, through FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation initiative, aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in southern Ontario.
- FedDev Ontario’s investment in SmartStart is expected to support more than 300 companies in southern Ontario, which will maintain more than 900 jobs and create more than 1,500 jobs.
- FedDev Ontario has partnered with OCE in the past to pilot the SmartStart program, which supported 45 companies. They created a combined total of 68 full-time jobs, while securing more than $13 million in follow-on investment to build and grow their companies.
- Through the first intake of the Investing in Business Innovation initiative launched in October 2010, FedDev Ontario invested nearly $57 million in repayable contributions to 86 companies, leveraging almost three times more in private sector investments. FedDev Ontario also invested more than $3 million in 12 angel networks and associations.
“This investment will provide capital to help high-potential start-up companies transition from product development to market entry, while also providing skills training to help them position themselves to be more attractive to investors and commercial partners. We are pleased to support the entrepreneurial community in southern Ontario and contribute to economic growth and job creation.”
- Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
“Since 2012, our SmartStart program has been assisting Ontario entrepreneurs and their companies. I’m pleased that this new investment, which matches the investment from the Government of Ontario, will mean we can enhance the much-needed support provided to hundreds of start-ups at a critical time in their development.”
- Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence
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Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
FedDev Ontario’s Contribution to Ontario Centres of Excellence’s SmartStart Seed Fund
Through FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation initiative, the Harper Government is providing Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) with an investment of up to $9 million to expand its SmartStart Seed Fund (SmartStart). SmartStart supports entrepreneurs in Ontario with technology or innovation-based start-ups.
OCE is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to grow a globally competitive, knowledge-based economy in Ontario by supporting the commercialization of publicly-funded academic research and entrepreneurship activities.
The federal funding for SmartStart builds on provincial funding for the program for entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 29, which launched in April 2014.
The funding opens up SmartStart eligibility to southern Ontario entrepreneurs aged 30 and above. The investment is expected to support more than 300 companies in southern Ontario, which will maintain more than 900 jobs and create more than 1,500 jobs.
Funding is geared at companies that are in the validation stage of their business, which means they have an early version of their product or service developed and ready for testing market acceptance with pilot customers.
Currently, applicants between 18 and 29 years of age are eligible for maximum non-repayable contributions of up to $40,000 per start-up to launch and grow their businesses. After April 1, 2015, southern Ontario entrepreneurs 18 to 29 years old may apply for up to $70,000, while those 30 and older can apply for up to $40,000.This includes:
- Up to $60,000 (18-29 year olds) and up to $30,000 (over 30 years old) in seed financing to be matched dollar for dollar by the company;
- Up to $10,000 in entrepreneurship skills training and professional advisory services, specifically aimed at gaining new business and market development skills; and
- Access to regional business and investment networks and resources
Eligibility requirements and further details are available on the OCE SmartStart website.
FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation Initiative
The Investing in Business Innovation (IBI) initiative aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in southern Ontario. It helps new entrepreneurs to become investment-ready through seed financing and skills development. It helps early-stage businesses with a minimum viable product or service to further develop and bring it to market.
It helps angel organizations to expand their members and services, which increases private sector investment and mentoring opportunities for businesses. All of these activities will help build a portfolio of early-stage businesses with the ability to become world-leading innovators.
IBI Funding is available for:
- Not-for-profit organizations that provide skills development and seed financing to new entrepreneurs;
- Innovative, early-stage businesses with less than 50 employees to help leverage angel and capital investments; and
- Southern Ontario-based angel investor networks.
Applications are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis. Eligibility requirements and further details are available on the FedDev Ontario website.