York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund (EIF)

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The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund encourages innovation towards business continuity and business recovery efforts by supporting promising early stage start-ups, accelerators, incubators, and community partners. With an annual commitment of $100,000 from York Region until 2023, the fund will support the development of the innovation network in York Region.

 

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This joint initiative provides an opportunity to increase innovation in two streams:

 

 

Stream One: Qualified Community Partners receive up to $10,000 in funding for activities or initiatives that promote, support, or enhance entrepreneurship or innovation in York Region.

 

Stream Two: Qualified Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs receive up to $15,000 in funding to support the growth of your innovative business and/or to provide additional support towards business continuity and recovery efforts post-COVID.

 

Stream One: Community Partners

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Stream One of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund program provides qualified community partners with up to $10,000 in funding for activities or initiatives that promote, support, or enhance entrepreneurship or innovation in York Region.

Application Requirements

  • Applications are open until August 28, 2020
  • Completed application form
  • Project work plan (reflecting COVID-19 adjustments)
  • Proposed budget
  • Most recent financial statements (from your last AGM but no more than 12 months old)

Eligibility

  • Your application should showcase that you have a proven track record of delivering programs and services that supports innovation and sustainability in York Region.
  • The following criteria has been established for eligible applicants:
    • Applicant must be a not-for-profit York Region-based organization or the proposed activities must take place in York Region
    • Demonstrate innovative solutions or services that expand inclusion, diversity, or accessibility in York Region
    • Must contribute to innovation in York Region
    • Applicant organization/entity are limited to one application/project each round
    • Previously funded recipients must put forward a net new project or initiative in order to apply for another round of funding
    • Have been operational prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with plans to continue or resume operations.

 

Here are some examples of eligible Projects:

The definition of innovation is relative and dynamic and we look for projects that engage and generate excitement to drive innovation and elevate sustainability in York Region while expanding inclusion, diversity, and accessibility.

Examples of eligible Projects:

    • Expansion and adaptation of existing programs and services to support economic recovery
    • Provide COVID-19 support by implementing new service models, tools, programming or resources to address the needs of the community
    • Information and knowledge dissemination through workshops
    • Educational programming for entrepreneurs
    • Community outreach and engagement 
    • Digitizing communities

What’s not supported by the Fund?

  • Individuals or for-profit entities
  • Any companies or organizations participating as part of the selection committee will not be eligible to apply for any of the Streams

Fund Guidelines

  • Projects could be up to 10 months in length.
  • Fund recipients are required to supply or show access to matching funds of the amount requested. 
    • For example, if requesting $5,000 from the fund, the applicant would need to supply a cash contribution of $5,000. 
  • Fund applications are reviewed by ventureLAB, in collaboration with York Region’s Economic Strategy team, and a number of volunteer reviewers from key innovation ecosystem partners.
  • Awarded funds will be disbursed after the signing of the Funding Agreement, within 10 business days. 
  • Applicant organization/entity are limited to one application/project each round.
  • Any project cannot be funded for more than twice, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds of funding.
  • Fund recipients are asked to demonstrate project completion by submitting a Final Project Report.

Selection Criteria

A Review Committee, comprised of ventureLAB, Regional Staff and key innovation stakeholders, will evaluate the applications based on the following areas:

  • Potential community impact and economic benefits for York Region
  • Project alignment with Regional and ventureLAB goals and priorities, i.e. promote and support entrepreneurship and innovation within the Region
  • Collaborative Innovation, i.e. are you collaborating with other regional partners for this project
  • Equity and Inclusion, i.e. how are you meeting the needs of communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • Organization capacity and governance
  • COVID-19’s impact on business and resiliency post-pandemic
  • Clarity and completeness of the project application

Stream Two: Small Businesses or Entrepreneurs

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Stream Two of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund program provides qualified small businesses and entrepreneurs with up to $15,000 in funding to support the growth of your innovative business and/or to provide additional support towards business continuity and recovery efforts post-COVID.

Application Requirements

  • Applications are open until August 28, 2020
  • Completed application form.
  • Outline of key milestones
  • Cash flow forecast (includes at least next 12 months)

Eligibility

  • Your application should showcase how the funding will accelerate your company’s growth and/or support your business recovery efforts post-COVID
  • The following criteria has been established for eligible applicants:
    • Incorporated in Canada
    • Operational in York Region and/or actively engaged with a York Region innovation partner
    • Company size of 1-99 employees
    • A sustainable business model, with potential for market growth
    • Minimum of three months of recurring monthly revenue of $5,000 or more
    • Have been an operational business before the COVID-19 pandemic with plans to continue or resume operations 
  • Applicants across all industries and sectors will be eligible

 

Here are some examples of eligible Projects:

  • Launching or adapting an existing product/service to support economic recovery
  • Legal advice, such as IP strategy or regulatory issues
  • Market validation activities
  • Hiring an external consultant with subject matter expertise that contributes to the company’s commercialization or growth
  • Lead generation opportunities, service provider services, website development, or projects that will help the company achieve a critical objective or milestone

What’s not supported by the Fund?

  • Sole-proprietors
  • Activities in support of regular maintenance and/or ongoing operation costs
  • Regularly scheduled capital expenditures and/or asset replacement
  • Refinancing of an existing debt
  • Acquisition of land and buildings

Fund Guidelines:

  • Fund recipients are required to supply or show access to matching funds of the amount requested. 
  • For example, if requesting $5,000 from the fund, the applicant would need to supply a cash contribution of $5,000. 
  • Fund applications are reviewed by ventureLAB, in collaboration with York Region’s Economic Strategy team, and a number of volunteer reviewers from key innovation ecosystem partners.
  • Awarded funds will be disbursed after the signing of the Funding Agreement, within 10 business days. 
  • Applicants are limited to one application each round, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for a second round of funding.
  • Fund recipients are asked to demonstrate project completion by submitting a Final Project Report.

Selection Criteria:

A Review Committee, comprised of ventureLAB, Regional Staff and key innovation stakeholders, will evaluate the applications based on the following areas:

  • Business viability and potential for growth (i.e. value proposition, business & revenue model, team, market, finances)
  • Potential community impact and economic benefits for York Region
  • Equity and Inclusion, i.e. how are you meeting the needs of communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • COVID-19’s impact on business and resiliency post-pandemic
  • Clarity and completeness of the project application

Frequently Asked Questions

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Application and Evaluation

How do I apply?

Please fill out and submit the application form with the required documents by August 28, 2020.

 

How often will calls be issued?

Call for applications will be issued once a year.

 

Can I apply more than once?

Stream 1:
Applicant organizations/entities are limited to one application/project each round. Previously funded recipients must put forward a net new project or initiative in order to apply for another round of funding and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds of funding. 

 

Stream 2: 

Applicants are limited to one application each round, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for a second round of funding.

 

How will the applicants be evaluated?

Please refer to the “Selection Criteria” section for your respective streams.

 

How long before we find out if we have been selected?

Every applicant organization/company will be notified of their status, whether successful or not, by the end of October 2020 . 

 

Project Activation

What’s required for the project/fund activation?

Successful Applicants must complete the following requirements within 30 days of award notification:

  • Sign the standard, non-negotiable funding agreement, which will be sent to the Applicant upon project approval.
  • Provide proof of matching funds of the amount requested and the necessary banking information to ventureLAB for the fund contributions to be transferred through a direct deposit.
  • Provide applicant’s logo, website link, 100-word description of the company, links to any active social media channels, and other relevant information/promotional video links.

The project will be activated upon completion of the above requirements. The start date of the project will be by default the date of activation and may not be changed.

 

Project Finance

If awarded the requested project funds, how will this be disbursed?

These are 1:1 matching funds, meaning successful Applicants are required to provide proof of matching funds of the amount requested, as well as provide ventureLAB with the necessary banking information for the funds to be transferred through a direct deposit. More related information will be sent to the Applicant upon project approval.

 

Awarded funds will be disbursed after the signing of the Funding Agreement, within 10 business days. 

 

What documentation is required for proof of matching funds?

To prove matching funds, the applicant is required to submit a current bank statement dated within 30 days of the award notice. For this bank statement to be accepted, it must show the matching funds stated in the approved application.

 

Project Reporting and Closure

What are the reporting requirements?

Projects must be completed within ten months, and the completion of a Final Project Report would be required. Details and instructions on report submission will be sent to the Applicant upon project activation.

 

What other requirements are there for project closure?

Besides the Final Project Report, recipients are expected to provide a Letter of Support for ventureLAB and York Region, outlining the impact of funds on their business. Both documents must be received by ventureLAB within 30 days of project completion.

 

Meet our 2019 EIF Recipients

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The non-profit community partners selected to receive $10,000 in funding through Stream One:

 

Seneca HELIX is dedicated to developing the entrepreneurial mindset by providing knowledge, mentorship, sessions, workspace, access to like-minded peer community, and experiential opportunities.
York Region Arts Council is the leading York Region-wide nonprofit charitable arts service organization focused on capacity building, creative placemaking and community engagement in support of artists, arts organizations and creative entrepreneurs.
YSpace is York University’s community innovation hub that supports high potential innovators in both the technology and consumer packaged goods space. They help a growing number of entrepreneurs, community members, and youth build and scale their sustainable and impactful businesses in the York Region.

 

The startups and small businesses selected to receive up to $15,000 in funding through Stream Two:

BIOSA Technologies is an eco-friendly polymer-based biotechnology company headquartered in Markham. BIOSA has developed a unique, proprietary technology platform for the optimization of both enzymes and chemicals.
Memory & Company provides bespoke, specialized care to suit different needs – the world’s first Premium Day Program and Respite Resort for people living with Memory Loss, and the Gold Standard in Memory Care.
Stan A.I. is the first A.I. assistant for residential property managers that uses artificial intelligence to respond to all resident inquiries. And, it works all by text message, with no apps or software needed. Stan reduces a property manager’s emails by 30% in 16 days by responding to condo residents in seconds, 24/7 with a 98% accuracy rate.

 

Meet our 2020 EIF Recipients

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The non-profit community partners selected to receive $10,000 in funding through Stream One:

 

York Angels provides a linkage between entrepreneurs seeking early and mid-stage capital, investors committed to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of their community, and partners that can support the growth of these startup companies through their products and services
York Farm Fresh Association (YFF) is a not-for-profit representing York Region farms offering direct from farm gate sales and farmers markets. YFF exists to connect customers and community to York Region grown local food, beverages and products at farms, farmers markets and farm experiences by joint marketing, promotion and education initiatives with a goal to increase revenue for members.

 

The startups and small businesses selected to receive up to $15,000 in funding through Stream Two:

Bionic-i has developed patent pending implantable sterilizable optics with circuitry, and leverages over 16 years of core expertise in designing clinical and surgical sterilization protocols and spaces, services, products, and proprietary research.
Phyxable is an online solution for physiotherapy, chiropractic and occupational therapy care with our end-to-end virtual rehab platform. With the help of telemedicine, virtual 1-on-1 video chat, self-help exercise prescription with machine learning, and augmented reality motion detection, Phyxable is reinventing how physical rehab should be delivered.
Studio 1 Labs is a global leader in advanced fabric systems. Pivoting during Covid to supply PPE fabrics to the Government of Canada, and modernizing education with remote tools for real-time feedback between professors and students.
TakuLabs The future of retail is about selling wherever your customer is. Whether they want to buy in your store, online or on social media, TAKU lets you handle it all in real-time. TAKU is the most flexible and cost-effective unified commerce platform for established or growing retailers.
TIEIT AI offers a unique all-in-one platform that helps support growing businesses become more efficient and scale up in today’s environment by bringing them closer to their customers and helping them to grow by empowering them with the ability to easily organize and view their CRM, marketing, analytics, finance and sales with TIEIT’s built-in applications

Questions?

If you have any questions regarding the fund, please contact yrfund@venturelab.ca.

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