York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

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The York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund will support the development of the innovation network in York Region. The fund will drive innovation and entrepreneurship throughout York Region by supporting promising early stage start-ups, accelerators, incubators, and community partners.

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With an annual commitment of $100,000 from York Region over the next five years, the York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund will support the development of the innovation network in York Region. Parties interested in submitting projects to receive funding need to fit one of the following funding streams:

  1. Community Partners
  2. Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Additionally, an annual Pitch Competition will be held in the fall. Details will be posted as they become available.

 

The York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund offers 1:1 matching funds, meaning successful applicants 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. The fund will be administered by ventureLAB, in collaboration with York Region’s Economic Strategy team. Multiple awards may be granted each year.

Stream 1: Community Partners

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Stream 1 of the York Region 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.

 

Community partners can propose activities and initiatives in (but not limited to): arts, youth, health, tech, education, skills and training development, environmental, etc. Proposals under Stream 1 should aim to grow businesses and integrate innovation into the applicant organization’s community. Proposed projects should address how they will impact the community as well as demonstrate sustainability for the Region (i.e. talent and investment).

 

Eligibility Criteria

 

Eligible Applicants:

  • Applicant must be a not-for-profit York Region-based organization and/or the proposed activities must take place in York Region
  • Demonstrate innovative solutions or services that expand inclusion, diversity, and/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

 

Ineligible Applicants:

  • Any companies or organizations participating as part of the selection committee will not be eligible to apply for any of the Streams
  • Any project cannot be funded for more than twice, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds of funding

 

Eligible Projects:

Funds under Stream 1 may be used for net new projects or initiatives such as:

  • Workshops or clinics
  • Educational programming for entrepreneurs
  • Upgrading technology or digitizing communities

 

Application Requirements

 

Submissions will require:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Project Work Plan
  • Proposed Budget
  • Most recent Financial Statements

 

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
  • Alignment with key industries and emerging sectors in York Region
  • Organization capacity and governance
  • Clarity and completeness of the project application

 

Application Form

Download the application form here.

Stream 2: Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

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Stream 2 of the York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund program provides qualified small businesses or entrepreneurs up to $15,000 for activities or initiatives related to key business or market development projects.

 

Proposals under Stream 2 should aim to advance the applicant’s business idea and better define, produce, validate, or sell their minimum viable product. Successful applicants may receive additional business advisory by working with ventureLAB’s team of advisors.

 

Eligibility Criteria

 

Eligible Applicants:

  • Be incorporated in Canada
  • Have operations in York Region and/or actively engaged with a York Region innovation partner
  • Have 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
  • Applicants across all industries and sectors will be eligible
  • Each successful recipient would be required to participate in entrepreneurship education, skills development, and/or mentoring programming delivered by a York Region service delivery partner.

 

Ineligible Applicants:

  • Applicants cannot be a sole-proprietor
  • Applicants can only apply to one Stream at a time
  • Any project cannot be funded for more than twice, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds of funding

 

Eligible Use of Funds:

Funds under Stream 2 should be used to enable and accelerate a company’s growth or development, including but not limited to:

  • Developing or launching a product
  • Market validation activities
  • Developing specialized programming
  • Legal advice such as IP strategy or regulatory issues
  • Hiring an external consultant with subject matter expertise that contributes to the company’s commercialization or growth
  • Trade Show registrations, service provider services, website development, or projects that will help the company achieve a critical objective or milestone

 

Ineligible Use of Funds:

  • Activities in support of regular maintenance and/or ongoing operation costs
  • Regularly scheduled capital expenditures and/or asset replacement
  • Salaries or payments to founders or staff
  • Refinancing of an existing debt
  • Acquisition of land and buildings

 

Application Requirements

 

Submissions will require:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Outline of Key Milestones
  • Financial Projections

 

Selection Criteria

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

  • Innovation: proposed project offers a unique service that differentiates from services in the market
  • Market: product/service is ready for market with a feasible commercialization strategy; considerable market size
  • Finance: reasonable cash flow projections, with potential leveraged funds
  • Talent: team’s composition and experience; alignment with Regional and ventureLAB priorities, i.e. hires from York Region
  • Application: clear, concise, and complete

 

Application Form

Download the application form here.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Application and Evaluation

How do I apply?

Please download the respective application form for the stream you are applying for and refer to the “Application Process” section for more detailed instructions.

 

How often will calls be issued?

Call for applications will be issued twice a year.

 

Can I apply more than once?

Applicant organization/company are limited to one application each round.

Previously funded recipients must put forward a net new project or initiative in order to apply for another round of funding. Any project cannot be funded more than twice and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds 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 January 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, information/promotional video links, and links to any news stories and/or awards the company has received, to be included on the York Region Innovation Portal.

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.

 

In terms of the flow of funds, the initial payment will be released right after project activation, with the final payment to be released upon completion of the project and receipt of both the Final Project Report and a Letter of Support for ventureLAB and York Region.

 

Flow of Funds – Example:

Project award amount: $10,000

Fund released at project activation: $5,000

Fund released upon completion of the project: $5,000

 

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 both an Interim Progress Report and Final Project Report would be required. Details and instructions on report submission will be sent to the Applicant upon project activation.

 

What happens if I do not complete a project report?

Completion of reports is a contractual obligation of the applicant organization/company. Failure to comply with this reporting request will result in forfeiture of the release of the final payment, as well as jeopardize future funding potential.

 

What other requirements are there for project closure and release of the final payment?

The Final Project Report, along with a Letter of Support for ventureLAB and York Region, must be received by ventureLAB within 30 days of project completion for the release of the final payment.

Application Process

  1. Download the respective application form (fillable PDF).
  2. Ensure you meet all the criteria within the Eligibility Checklist before proceeding.
  3. Please send the completed application form plus all required documentation to yrfund@venturelab.ca. Applicants may submit their applications at any time between November 21, 2019 and December 15, 2019 (11:59 pm EST). Late submissions will not be accepted.

Stream 1

          • Completed Application Form
          • Project Work Plan
          • Proposed Budget
          • Most recent Financial Statements

Stream 2

          • Completed Application Form
          • Outline of Key Milestones
          • Financial Projections

 

All applicants will receive an email within 48 hours confirming receipt of their application.

 

 

 

Timeline

Application Period: November 21 – December 15, 2019

Evaluation Period: January 2020

Announcement of Successful Applicants: February 2020

Project Duration: Up to 10 months (from project activation date)

 

 

Questions?

If you have any questions concerning the York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund, please contact yrfund@venturelab.ca.