Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! The holiday season is upon us, with festive events on the rise and business events on the decline. As a result, this is the last newsletter issue of 2021, which is a year I’m glad to get behind me. I’ll be back in 2022, which I hope will be a year that you’ll want to remember.
Just in time for the holiday season, I bring you two new local opportunities to build and grow your startup. The first is for companies focused on building applied AI and intelligent supply chain products and services. Supply Chain AI at MaRS
is a six-month program designed to support the acceleration of high-potential ventures and foster emerging global leaders. Its deadline is right before Christmas on December 23, so you’ll be able to rest easy during the holidays knowing the application is done and out of your way.
You have until January 18 to get your application in to eCommerce North’s Accelerator
program. This is also a six-month program, focused on early-stage ecommerce startups, with an emphasis on social innovation and impact. Participants will also gain a funding advantage with access to a network of fundraising pros.
The initial Entrepreneur First Toronto
cohort only started in September, and their four startups have already raised a collective $5.7 million in seed funding
. These include TriplePlay
, with virtual spaces to make it easier for employees to socialize; Vivid Machines
, whose software enables growers of produce to see the healthiness and ripeness of every single plant and fruit in their care; getware.ai
, which uses natural language processing to extract product and customer insights from interactions and aggregate them for product and marketing teams; and finally OutPoint
, helping B2C businesses understand and diversify the value of their marketing spend with machine learning. Congratulations to all four of them!
Lastly, if you’re a Black student at the University of Toronto, have a look at its new Black Founders Support Network
, an inclusive community with the resources necessary to nurture and boost member businesses. The network was built in consultation with over 100 Black founders and 50 partners
, and has so far held five events focused on community-building. Its goal is to support entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey, whether just starting out, or needing help scaling up their businesses.
That’s it everyone. Enjoy yourselves and stay well!
Here are some upcoming deadlines for applying to accelerators, grants and funding, or other competitions. Don’t miss out! If you know of others, please submit any application deadlines and I’ll post them if they’re relevant.
Supply Chain AI at MaRS is a program in partnership with Scale AI, a program stemming from the AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster, created in partnership with the Government of Canada. It aims to support the emergence and acceleration of high-potential, Canadian venture companies that are focused on building applied AI and intelligent supply chain products and services. Scale AI partners with organizations like MaRS to provide ventures access to growth and scale-up support services, with the added objective of fostering emerging global leaders. Selected companies will participate in a six-month program, and will receive access to benefits, over and above the existing MaRS Growth Services offerings.
Less than 1% of venture capital deals go to 2SLGBTQIA+ founders. Let’s change that. Our mission is to increase the visibility, diversity, and impact of 2SLGBTQIA+ founders in Canada’s innovation economy. The Gradient Spaces Founder Program is partnering with Georgian to build Canada’s first accelerator for 2SLGBTQI+ and underestimated early-stage founders. This 12-week long intensive focuses on what startups need most: education, mentorship, and community. Participants will tackle everything from customer discovery to identifying product-market-fit and building a go-to-market strategy. The program culminates in a final pitch day where founders have the opportunity to meet with investors.
The Venture Catalyst program is a free six-week training and mentorship program that supports early-stage tech entrepreneurs in testing their start-up ideas and bringing a proof-of-concept to life. Program participants gain access to interactive online workshops, expert mentorship, peer support, and start-up resources to transform their ideas into a successful business. If selected, you will refine and validate your concept through interactive virtual training and curated mentorship, engage with industry experts to gain foundational knowledge into building and growing a technology startup, and join a network of like-minded individuals intent on discussing business challenges in peer to peer circles. Upon completion, select companies have the opportunity to join the YSpace Virtual Membership Program for continued growth through our support system.
Techstars Toronto is looking for startups to join its hybrid accelerator program, which starts this coming April, running virtually with some optional in-person events. Apply today. If selected, over the course of three months your team will gain access to funding and dozens of mentors — individuals with deep industry, investment, or entrepreneurship experience. These experts are matched to your needs, and are committed to contribute to your long-term success. Once you complete the program, you’re not on your own. You’ll still have access to Techstars resources, with its worldwide network of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and alumni.
Today’s investors care about more than profitability; they care about social innovation. That’s why we offer a highly specialized program that grows ecommerce startups into high-potential titans — but we don’t stop there. We teach you to consider social impact at every step, so your business is profitable and meaningful. This six-month program for early-stage companies offers participants a mentor network, with exclusive access to wildly successful founders, executives and subject matter experts, as well as one-on-one coaching from our hand-selected Industry Advisory Council. You’ll also get a funding advantage with a big network of fundraising pros and Capital in Residence, as well as high visibility with Elevate’s Platform which puts hot startups in front of big audiences.
The York Entrepreneurship Development Institute’s incubator program offers a free, intensive 16-week program, including formal academic lectures by Schulich Executive Education Centre instructors, workshop-based training in entrepreneurship, and mentorship by key industry leaders. At the end of the incubator, entrepreneurs will have a professionally developed business plan, an executive summary, and a proper business model that is ready to pitch and potentially bring to the market. Program graduates are also eligible for seed funding.
The Founder Institute is the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator. We help you get to traction and funding with a support network of startup experts that are invested in your success, and through a structured business-building process that has helped our alumni raise over $1 billion. The Founder Institute focuses on helping tech or tech-enabled businesses at the pre-seed stage, including both solo-founders and teams. This includes established businesses that are pre-funding and traction, MVP and prototype-stage projects, and even part-time founders with just ideas. Apply before December 12 for special early-bird pricing!
BHive is an initiative powered by the City of Brampton with a goal to empower the next generation of innovators, accelerate their journey, and create a positive impact for the entrepreneur, economy, and community as a whole. The program has been strategically designed to ensure startups have everything they need to scale and grow. Successful applicants will have access to an unrivaled ecosystem and expertise to support exceptional founders in building successful companies. Our integrated approach involves thoughtfully designed programs, one-to-one mentorships, and access to our entire portfolio of service.
This program, delivered by Futurpreneur, will provide young, Black entrepreneurs age 18-39 across Canada with a comprehensive offering of $5,000–$60,000 in startup loan financing, as well as up to two years of mentorship, opportunities to engage with a national network of Black entrepreneurs, leaders and community organizations at a range of entrepreneurship events, and a variety of relevant tools and resources. Participants who are keen to scale their businesses even further will also be eligible for up to $40,000 in follow-on financing funded by RBC, based on the first two years of successful business performance.
ATS Labs is a Canadian first — a unique 3-month program tailored to startups serving people with disabilities. Ever been told your product is not scalable, or won’t have a large enough market? So have we. We understand the unique problems you face, so we created sessions specifically tailored for accessibility startups, such as inclusive design, inclusive marketing, co-creation, and more. Starting in August, you’ll learn directly from founders of later-stage accessibility startups, world-renowned inclusive design practitioners, experienced accessibility innovators, healthtech specialists, and successful investors. We’re bringing together founders of accessibility startups from all over the world.