Winners of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund!

June 8, 2020

ventureLAB and York Region announce recipients of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund 

$100,000 annual fund supports innovative businesses in York Region

In 2019, ventureLAB and York Region partnered to introduce the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund (EIF), an annual fund awarded to innovative startups and non-profit organizations that support innovation in York Region. ventureLAB and York Region are pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural EIF call. The funds were presented to six companies and organizations that drive entrepreneurship throughout York Region, including early stage start-ups, accelerators, incubators, and community partners.

Congratulations to each of the six winners — Seneca HELIX, York Region Arts Council, York University’s YSpace, BIOSA Technologies, Memory & Company, and Stan A.I. — who were chosen amongst all of the impressive roster of applications for raising the bar for innovation in our community.

“Innovation is fundamental to business growth, and supporting innovative companies helps us strengthen York Region’s economic vitality,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “We are proud to partner with ventureLAB and work together to create jobs and expand our world-class innovation network”.

With an annual commitment of $100,000 from York Region over the next four years, the York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund will support the development of the innovation network in York Region. The fund is divided into two streams – Stream One for non-profit community partners and Stream Two for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“York Region is a hotbed of talent and innovative thinkers,” said Jane Gertner, VP of Partnerships at ventureLAB. “The competitiveness of this fund proves why the Region is the destination of choice for small businesses to build and grow their companies”.

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

Seneca HELIX is dedicated to developing the entrepreneurial mindset by providing knowledge, mentorship, sessions, workspace, access to like-minded peer community, and experiential opportunities. 

Funded Project:
The HELIX Summer Institute will support the culture of innovation in York Region’s healthcare sector. This initiative will provide healthcare partners with new solutions to existing problems. The Summer Institute will welcome participants into its online mini think-tank; to collaborate and build solutions to pressing social and operational challenges in the healthcare sector. It will invoke the participation of students, community, entrepreneurs, designers, creative thinkers and the community. Participants will be encouraged to think creatively, try new solutions and iterate based on feedback from stakeholders in the healthcare sector.

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.

Funded Project:
Artrepreneur is a 15-week business accelerator program designed for creatives who want to start or grow an arts-related business. This 50-hour course equips artists with the necessary business skills to write a business plan and run their own business.

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. 

Funded Project:
York University, through YSpace is partnering with York Region to grow the Region’s first and only Regional Food & Beverage Accelerator program. The program will impact 10 high potential and scaling food & beverage companies through engagement with various regional ecosystem stakeholders such as Smuckers, La Rocca, and Hatched Coffee. Each cohort will run for five months focused on helping the companies scale through national distribution and accessing major retailers nationally and globally.

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

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.

BIOSA’s fundamental technology enhances enzymes with a patented process that significantly improves enzyme longevity and increases its functional properties achieving maximum efficacy. As a result, various applications have emerged in multiple industries that could utilize the products from this enzyme-enhancing technology.

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. 

Memory & Company’s vision is to remain ahead of the times by focusing on innovative, new techniques in care and in technology, so that the Members and their Care Partners will receive the most up-to-date support to help them through this challenging disease, in the best way possible.

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. 

Stan was founded by two former property management executives and is live across North America. Stan was launched in 2019 and is already trusted by the largest management companies, homebuilders, and hotel chains in the world.

With York Region’s support, ventureLAB will be launching future calls for applications annually over the next four years to support innovation in York Region. If you are interested in applying for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund in the future, stay tuned for upcoming announcements of the next call later this month. Subscribe to our newsletter to get notified when applications open!


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