Announcing the recipients of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund

November 24, 2020
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The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund (EIF) encourages innovation towards business continuity and business recovery efforts by supporting promising early stage start-ups, accelerators, incubators, and community partners. ventureLAB and York Region are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund. The funds were presented to seven companies and organizations in York Region that demonstrate innovative solutions or services that support business continuity and recovery efforts. Funded with the generous support of the Regional Municipality of York, the EIF allows local organizations to reposition and pivot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on regional innovation opportunities. Congratulations to each of the seven winners — York Angel Investors Inc., York Farm Fresh, Bionic-i, Phyxable, Studio 1 Labs, TakuLabs Ltd., and TIEIT AI — who were chosen amongst all of the incredible applications for their business resilience and for raising the bar for innovation in our community. The fund is divided into two streams – one for non-profit community partners and the other for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Stream One Recipients

These non-profit community partners were selected to receive $10,000 in funding.

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. Funded Project: Angel investors not only assist start-ups and entrepreneurs with access to pre-seed funding, but in many cases provide strategic advice and mentorship. The angel funding landscape in Canada is predominantly male dominated. This lack of diversity at the early stage of funding can inhibit, or even kill off women-led start-up opportunities. York Angels looks to address this critical gap by creating an educational series specifically designed to reach and foster women investors, The program aims to double the population of women angel investors in 12 months. Increasing the number of women investors should have a net benefit on the number of women-led start-ups applying to and getting funded by York Angel Investors.

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. Funded Project: In response to COVID-19, consumer food trends have shifted towards greater demand for locally grown food. York Farm Fresh Association (YFF) is partnering with their 38 farm business and farmers’ market members, York Region, and the York Region Food Network (YRFN) to digitize the York Farm Fresh Guide Map into a multilingual mobile app. The project will increase impact and reach for 1.2 million residents of York Region and the surrounding GTA to access healthy, local, farm fresh food. This digital innovation will promote agri-tourism and strengthen direct farm marketing and local food opportunities in York Region.

Stream Two Recipients

These startups and small businesses were selected to receive up to $15,000 in funding.

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. Funded Project: They are launching a product/service designed for the sterilization of COVID-19 viral aerosols using HEPA filtration, ultra-high powered UVC irradiation and heated sterile laminar flow. The awarded funds will allow them to make adjustments to their device, originally designed for the operating room environment, to be used in supporting the safe reopening of schools, public spaces and businesses.

Phyxable is an online solution for physiotherapy, chiropractic and occupational therapy care with our end-to-end virtual rehab platform. They empower people in pain to quickly diagnose, self-care and prevent their injuries from coming back, without stepping outside of their home or workplace. 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. Funded Project: Funds will be used to further develop an augmented reality (AR) tool to support practitioners in remote monitoring, motion detection, and tracking of their patients’ movement progression, providing better care to their patients during these trying times. They have also been directing efforts to service remote, underserved areas with an internet connection, establishing an accessible means of care, further redefining how physical therapy can 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. Funded Project: Funds will be used to hire 2 Highly Qualified Personnel under Mitacs program for a government approved project to model a Severity Index for health deterioration from declining lung function, due to respiratory diseases such as Coronavirus.

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. Funded Project: Funds will be used to support the launch of their cloud omni-channel platform for mid-to-large retailers. At the beginning of COVID-19, they offered the e-commerce portion of their cloud platform for free until July 2020. They are also offering COVID-19 plans whereby merchants can get access to their all-in-one system at 50% off for the first year.

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. Funded Project: Funds will be used to help establish the TIEIT for Startups program so businesses with limited resources or funds within the York Region community and Canada can grow their business and operate their company more efficiently through a reduced subscription rate. This program will give TIEIT the opportunity to help grow the Canadian economy by enabling and supporting small businesses with the tools they need to grow and scale their businesses.

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