York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

ventureLAB's 2023 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund supports nonprofits that serve underrepresented communities and founders developing Agri-tech and Cleantech innovations.

2023 APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED

Tech hub for semiconductor companies in Canada.

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund encourages innovation by fully supporting promising early stage start-ups, accelerators, incubators, and community partners. With a contribution of $100,000 from York Region for 2023, this fund will support further development in York Region and beyond. 

Highlights

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$400,000+
funds allocated
40+
Companies supported by the fund
9
community partners supported
4
years running

Key Dates (subject to change)*:

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Sep 5, 2023 | All Applications Open 

Oct 13, 2023 | All Applications Close 

November 13- 17, 2023 | Review Panels (Stream 2 only)

November 2023 | All Winners and Non-Winners Notified

December 2023 | Winner Announcement

Stream 1: Non-Profits / Community Partners that Serve Underrepresented Communities

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ventureLAB and The Regional Municipality of York are committed to cultivating an inclusive community where diversity is celebrated and where individuals can freely participate in society and live with respect, dignity and freedom from discrimination.

In recognition of this, Stream 1 of the 2023 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund will award two qualified non-profit organizations with $10,000 each in funding for activities or initiatives that promote, support, or enhance entrepreneurship or innovation for underrepresented communities operating in York Region and beyond.

Applications are now closed.

Application Requirements

Completed aincluding:

  • Project work plan
  • Proposed budget
  • Most recent financial statements (no more than 12 months old)

Who can Apply?

Non-profit organizations must be able to showcase their proven track record of delivering programs and services in York Region, specifically for underrepresented communities

Eligibility

Applicant organizations are limited to one application per project each round fulfilling the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicant must be a not-for-profit York Region-based organization or the proposed activities take place in, or benefit York Region
  • Must contribute to innovation in York Region and have a proven track record of delivering programs and services that support innovation and sustainability
  • Demonstrate innovative solutions or services that expand inclusion, diversity, or accessibility in York Region 
  • Must be able to match the $10,000 fund
  • A project cannot be funded for more than twice, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds of funding
  • Previously funded recipients must put forward a new project or initiative in order to apply for another round of funding

Fund Guidelines

  • Projects could be up to 10 months in length
  • Fund recipients are required to show access to matching funds of the amount received
  • 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
Frequently Asked Questions
What is “Underrepresented”? 
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According to the Government of Canada1, the four groups designated by the Employment Equity Act are: Indigenous, Racialized Individuals, Persons with disabilities, and Women.

In the Innovation and Entrepreneurship sector, the LGBTQ2+2, Refugee, and Immigrant3 communities also make up underrepresented groups 

1https://www.canada.ca/en/public-service-commission/jobs/services/gc-jobs/employment-equity.html 
2https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210615/dq210615a-eng.htm 
3https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/campaigns/immigration-matters/growing-canada-future/business.html, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/36-28-0001/2021009/article/00001-eng.htm  

What are some examples of eligible projects:
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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.

  • Information and knowledge dissemination through workshops
  • Community outreach and engagement 
  • Digitizing communities
What’s not supported by the fund?
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  • Individuals or for-profit entities
  • Any companies or organizations participating as part of the selection committee 
What Evaluation Criteria will be used to determine the two fund recipients?
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Upon the successful submission of application form and accompanying documents (project plan, budget, financial statements) 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
I have been previously funded by EIF, can I still apply?
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Previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds of funding, so if you are looking to reapply, you cannot be a 2022 EIF recipient. You must put forward a new project or initiative in order to apply for another round of funding

Stream 2: Small Businesses or Entrepreneurs Developing Agri-tech and Cleantech Solutions

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York Region is Canada’s second largest tech hub and fourth-largest food and beverage processing hub. Home to growing urban centers and a mix of players spanning the entire Agri-food value chain, the Region is undergoing an Agri-food evolution. 

To stimulate, promote, and support innovations in this sector, Stream Two of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund is dedicated to encourage and enhance entrepreneurship and innovation in Agri-tech and/or cleantech by opening more doors to capital. The fund will award 7 qualified small businesses and entrepreneurs  with $10,000 each to support the growth of innovative Cleantech and Agri-tech solutions that support and enhance social and environmental sustainability in York Region and beyond.

Applications are now closed.

Application Requirements

Completedincluding:

  • Company Pitch deck (will be attached to the application)

Your application should showcase how the funding will accelerate your company’s growth and/or support innovation and sustainability in York Region among other targeted impact areas. 

Eligibility 

Applicant organizations are limited to one application per project each round fulfilling the following eligibility criteria:

  • The company is incorporated and based in Canada
  • The company is 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 can match the $10,000 fund*
  • 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
  • Venture is developing Agri-tech, Agri-food, or Cleantech innovative solutions or services in areas including but not limited to:

            - Precision agriculture

            - Robotics, and AI applications in agriculture

            - Vertical Farming

            - Automation in the food value chain / Smart Food product Development 

            - Food Ecosystem sustainability

            - Decarbonization 

            - Electric vehicles

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
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s not supported by the fund?
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  • 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
What is the selection criteria?
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A Review Committee, comprised of ventureLAB, Regional Staff and key innovation stakeholders, will evaluate the applications based on the following areas:

  • 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
I have been previously funded by EIF, can I still apply?
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Previously funded recipients will not be eligible for two consecutive rounds of funding, so if you are looking to reapply, you cannot be a 2022 EIF recipient. You must put forward a new project or initiative in order to apply for another round of funding

Past Recipients

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Featured News & Events

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News
|
December 19, 2023

Announcing the 2023 Winners of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

Community news
ventureLAB News
York Region
EIF
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News
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December 16, 2022

Announcing the 2022 Winners of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

Community news
ventureLAB News
York Region
EIF
learn more
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New-link
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News
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December 17, 2021

2021 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund Recipients

EIF
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