The AC JumpStart program, which is operated in partnership with FedDev Ontario, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College, was launched in January 2015 with the objective of providing funding grants to startups across southwestern Ontario. The program provides $30,000 in seed capital and professional, one-to-one mentorship in sales, marketing, human resources, technology, and product development, as well as access to market research and connections to additional investors.
The program fills a critical role in the local startup ecosystem, providing the early-stage capital that is required in order to get innovative ideas off the ground. Now in its fourth year, the program has supported 194 startup companies utilizing almost 8,000 professional mentorship hours. Together, these companies have brought hundreds of new products to markets and created more than 500 full-time jobs in the region.
The renewed funding from FedDev Ontario will allow the Accelerator Centre to support an additional 126 companies through four cohorts, seeing it run to the end of 2021.
Applications for Cohort 9 of the program are open until January 7, 2019, with the recipients starting the program in February 2019.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support Canada’s innovators, helping them succeed on a global scale. This continued investment in the AC JumpStart program from FedDev Ontario will allow more early-stage technology companies to thrive, which strengthens the innovation ecosystem in southern Ontario and creates highly-skilled jobs for Canadians.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Science, Innovation and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario
“The AC JumpStart Program is an essential source of capital for startup companies in this community. We are pleased to continue to partner with FedDev Ontario and our local academic institutions to provide both the funding and the mentorship that make the program so impactful. We are incredibly proud of the success and impact that the first 8 cohorts of AC JumpStart have made in the community and we are looking forward to supporting an addition 126 startups over the next two years.
Dr. Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre
“What we do requires a specialized skill around deep analysis of data. AC JumpStart enabled us to bring in key personnel offering unique value to our customers. It really helped accelerate our focus. One of the biggest benefits coming out of the AC is the mentor guidance it provides. Mentors give you that real feedback that most people don’t have the heart to tell you. They understand business. That sincere perspective is what makes the AC different from other incubator spaces out there.” – Charles Chung, CEO, Brisk Synergies
“The AC JumpStart program has helped our business tremendously. The funding helped us assemble our first order of inventory and fuel marketing and awareness efforts. However, the coaching from the AC’s incredible mentors has provided us with the most benefit. The Accelerator Centre community is warm, supportive, and full of entrepreneurial spirit and it is fair to say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without the program and the mentors’ amazing support.” – Emily Rudow, CEO, Oneiric
“AC JumpStart is a great program and it was super valuable to have access to mentors. The program gave us the time to prototype and build a business model that works. Because of the AC JumpStart funding, we were able to really research and understand the market and hire our first employees to build out our product and sales. I can confidently say we wouldn’t be here at all without AC JumpStart. – Jeremy Hedges, CEO, InkSmith