This week the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s SmartStart program was awarded an additional $500,000 by the Federal Government, the additional funds will help continue to provide mentorship and seed funding to new ventures by Ontario’s next generation entrepreneurs.
“The SmartStart program has been a tremendous success for us,” says OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. “This additional funding will ensure we can continue to support entrepreneurs in the science and engineering fields.”
The program was launched in January, 2012 as a pilot program, SmartStart supports student or recent graduate-led start-ups with up to $30,000 in seed funding to be matched by at least one other private investor. Entrepreneurs at this stage benefit enormously from this funding and the expertise and time provided by OCE and its partners through a business skills boot camp. They are also provided with introductions and connections to a vast array of networks, potential partners and customers.
SmartStart has already helped 15 companies grow, just in the past year. The new funding announced today will allow OCE to support 15 more – five of those through a partnership with Extreme Startups.
The additional SmartStart funding is part of the Scientists and Engineers in Business initiative which improves the success rate of start-up businesses in Southern Ontario by developing business skills of young entrepreneurs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields and providing targeted support to help them bring innovative ideas and products to market. It was announced by Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), at this week’s Conference Board of Canada’s Business Innovation Summit.
In addition to funding for SmartStart, several OCE-supported companies are receiving money to grow their business and create jobs:
- CellAegis Devices received $750,000 to complete trials to commercialize its automatic Remote Ischemic (autoRIC) medical device which strengthens hearts, improving recovery time and reducing treatment costs.
- Rna Diagnostics received $462,500 to complete research for its diagnostic test which assesses the efficacy of chemotherapy for individual breast cancer patients undergoing treatment.
- TopHatMonocle Corp. received $750,000 to develop software enhancements for its Classroom Response System, which connects teachers with students electronically.
- Viafoura received $980,000 to complete development of its software platform that maximizes audience interactions on digital publishers’ web sites.
- Vive Crop Protection Inc. received $728,000 to develop two new formulas for its proprietary technology that avoids the over spraying of crops, by using formulations that are bio-inert or biodegradable.
- Xagenic received $990,000 to accelerate design and development of its clinical diagnostic testing system which helps medical professionals more accurately diagnose infections during a patient’s initial clinical visit.