York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund (EIF)

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The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund encourages innovation by fully supporting promising early stage start-ups, accelerators, incubators, and community partners. With a contribution of $90,000 from York Region for 2021, this fund will support further development in York Region and beyond. 

 

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This joint initiative provides an opportunity to increase innovation and elevate sustainability, both in York Region and beyond, while expanding inclusion, diversity, and accessibility through two streams:

Stream One: Community Partners

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Stream One of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund program provides 2 qualified community partners with $10,000 each in funding for activities or initiatives that promote, support, or enhance entrepreneurship or innovation in York Region and beyond.

 

 

Apply Now

 

Application Requirements

  • Applications are open until October 14, 2021
  • Completed application form
  • Project work plan
  • Proposed budget
  • Most recent financial statements (from your last AGM but no more than 12 months old)

 

Eligibility

  • Your application can showcase that you have a proven track record of delivering programs and services that support 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 have activities that benefit York Region
    • Must contribute to innovation in York Region as part of overall national or global impact
    • Demonstrate innovative solutions or services that expand inclusion, diversity, or accessibility in part 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

 

Some examples of eligible projects:

Innovation is relative and dynamic. We are seeking projects that will generate excitement and drive innovation, elevating sustainability in York Region and beyond while expanding inclusion, diversity, and accessibility.

  • Expansion and adaptation of existing programs and services to support economic recovery
  • Information and knowledge dissemination through workshops
  • 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 show access to matching funds of the amount requested. For example, if requesting $5,000 from the fund, the applicant would need to match a contribution of $5,000. 
  • Awarded funds will be disbursed after the signing of the Funding Agreement, within 30 business days. 
  • Fund recipients are asked to demonstrate project completion by submitting a Final Project Report.
  • Any project cannot be funded for more than twice, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds of funding.

 

Selection Criteria

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

  • Community impact and economic benefits for York Region
  • Organizational capacity and governance 
  • Collaborative innovation, i.e. are you collaborating with other regional partners for this project
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion, i.e. how are you meeting the needs of underrepresented communities 
  • Clarity and completeness of the project application

 

Apply Now

Stream Two: Small Businesses or Entrepreneurs

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Stream Two of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund program provides 7 qualified small businesses and entrepreneurs with $10,000 in funding solutions each to boost productivity and innovation across supply chains by leveraging AI. An example of the following business solutions could be:

  • Sourcing & Procurement
  • Capacity & Inventory
  • Demand Forecasting
  • Scheduling & Predictive Disruption
  • In-Plant Logistics/Warehousing
  • Real-Time Traceability and Visibility 
  • Quality Control & Risk Management

 

Apply Now

 

Application Requirements

  • Applications are open until October 14, 2021
  • Completed application form
  • Pitch deck
  • AI Canvas
  • Cash flow forecast (includes at least next 12 months)

 

Eligibility

  • Your application may showcase how the funding will accelerate your company’s growth and/or support innovation and sustainability in York Region among other targeted impact areas.
  • The following criteria has been established for eligible applicants:
    • Incorporated and based in Canada
    • Operational in York Region, actively engaged and/or willing to engage with a York Region innovation partner for at least six months upon being awarded the funds
    • Venture size of 1-99 employees; minimum one business and one technical co-founder
    • Venture has a minimum viable product and/or is at the validation stage with initial customer traction
    • Product or solution is aligned with the challenge areas above, and directly or indirectly impacts supply chain management and logistical operations
    • Venture has capabilities in AI, and is currently leveraging AI, or will be able to leverage AI, as a key technology component of their business.
    • Applicants across all industries and sectors will be eligible

 

Some examples of eligible projects:

  • Legal advice, such as IP strategy or regulatory issues
  • Market validation activities
  • Lead generation opportunities, technology development, or projects that will help the company achieve a critical objective or milestone
  • Adapting an applied AI product to address supply chain inefficiencies
  • Hiring an external consultant with subject matter expertise that contributes to the company’s commercialization or growth

 

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 show access to matching funds of the amount requested. For example, if requesting $5,000 from the fund, the applicant would need to match a contribution of $5,000. 
  • Awarded funds will be disbursed after the signing of the Funding Agreement, within 30 business days. 
  • Fund recipients are asked to demonstrate project completion by submitting a Final Project Report.
  • Applicants are limited to one application each round, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for a second round of funding.

 

Selection Criteria:

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

 

  • Challenge alignment, i.e. relation to supply chain and how is AI being applied in the venture’s proposed solution 
  • Business viability and growth/scaling potential, i.e. value proposition, team, market, financing, business model & customer traction
  • Community impact and economic benefits for, in part, York Region, i.e. IP & revenue generation, job creation/retention, diversity & inclusion, etc.
  • Proposed use of funds and impact on business
  • Quality of application, i.e. clear, concise, and complete

 

Apply Now

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 September 30, 2021.

 

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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