Accelerators and incubators provide a combination of services for online and mobile startups, including mentorship, funding, networking, training and/or office space. Most accelerator programs run a few months long and they often take equity in exchange for providing their services.
This page consists of the following sections:
I. General information on accelerators and incubators
Thinking of Joining an Incubator? Check Off These 5 Things First (Entrepreneur, 2014): This article provides a quick overview of finding and joining incubators.
Incubators vs. Accelerators—Understanding the Difference: This infographic makes it easier to understand the difference between the two.
Seed-DB: Started by Jed Christiansen, this site shares his findings from the research he completed for his master’s thesis on seed accelerator programs. This site is a centralized resources for information on seed accelerators and the companies that have gone through them.
Startup Support Programmes: What’s the Difference? (NESTA, 2015): The United Kingdom—based National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) published published this report on the different types of startup accelerator programs, which may be helpful for finding the right type for your venture.
Global Accelerator Report 2015 (Gust): This report provides a look at accelerator programs around the world.
II. Accelerators and incubators in Canada
This is a selective listing of accelerators and incubators only.
- Innovate Calgary: Innovate Calgary is the technology-transfer and business-incubation centre for the University of Calgary. It supports research-driven ventures with various services and programs.
- Flightpath: Flightpath’s first cohort began in 2012, focused on software and digital media startups. This is a four-month program in partnership with Flightpath Ventures and Startup Edmonton.
- TEC Edmonton: A joint venture between the University of Alberta, TEC Edmonton provides various programs, services and partnerships to technology startups.
- Accelerate Okanagan: This organization takes no equity and provides programs, mentorship, and resources to support technology startups.
- New Ventures BC: This group supports early-stage tech companies. It also runs the BCIC – New Ventures Competition, offering over $300,000 in cash and prizes.
- Innovate Manitoba (IM): IM offers various programs to help entrepreneurs, startups and researchers.
- Manitoba Technology Accelerator: Its business incubation program provides business coaching, office space, financing and investment for science and technology sector startups.
- VennCentre: Established in 2010 by a group of entrepreneurs, VennCentre provides mentorship, education programming, capital and connections for early-stage tech companies.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Genesis Centre: Located in St. John’s, the Genesis Centre is Memorial University’s business incubator for technology-based startups. It offers many programs and services, such as marketing, finance, mentorship, office space and management resources.
- Innovacorp: Supporting ventures in information technology, cleantech, oceantech and life sciences, Innovacorp is an early-stage venture capital organization. It also provides programming and business-advisory services.
- Volta Labs: Volta Labs supports early-stage technology product companies. It provides various services, such as free legal advice, HR and recruiting, marketing and work space.
- Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre: The RIC Centre in partnership with Xerox Research Centre of Canada launched its incubator program in 2014. RIC Centre does not pursue an equity position in their client’s business nor in their intellectual property.
- Invest Ottawa: The Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation (OCRI) launched this accelerator for Ottawa-based entrepreneurs in December 2011.
- Generator at One: This production facility built by Innovate Niagara provides mentorship, networking, collaboration, prototyping, production, business development, as well as access to technology, projects, and seminars for interactive digital media companies.
- Creative Destruction Lab (CDL): The Creative Destruction Lab is a 9 month program open to scalable technology-based ventures. CDL does not take any equity from its ventures.
- Founder Institute: The Founder Institute requires applicants to take a predictive test to find out whether the founders are cut out to be entrepreneurs. They charge a course fee of $999 USD, and employs a unique equity model where everyone shares equity in the companies formed from each program cohort. The Founder Institute currently operates in 100 cities worldwide.
- The Next 36: Open to Canadian undergraduate students, The Next 36 provides $50,000 in seed capital to each team.
- Ryerson Digital Media Zone (DMZ): The Ryerson DMZ is open to both Ryerson students and outside startups. The DMZ does not take any equity in DMZ startups. The intellectual property remains with the startup.
- Tract9: Tract 9 is an innovation centre supporting ventures across all dimensions. Tract9 has a co-working space, holds events, and has a range of programs designed to accelerate innovative ventures. They are currently accepting membership applications.
Business Accelerator Program: The Business Accelerator Program, or BAP, is a suite of programs and services designed to help strengthen and accelerate the growth of Ontario’s entrepreneurial talent and globally competitive innovative companies. BAP equips Ontario’s innovation entrepreneurs with the skills they need to move successfully into the global marketplace through programs and services such as: entrepreneur education, market intelligence services, advisory services and central funding programs.
- Accelerator Centre: The Accelerator Centre is open to startups and includes options for office space and infrastructure.
- Communitech Hub: The Hub accelerates the growth of digital media companies by helping entrepreneurs focus on their business, commercialize their technology and ultimately graduate market-ready organizations.
- Rev: Rev, a six-month Communitech program provides a framework in which the best and brightest can create their own success. Upon completing the program, companies will pitch to an investment panel with the opportunity to win a substantial cash prize.
- Fierce Founders: The Fierce Founders Accelerator is designed to give you the tools necessary to move from MVP to scalable business. This 6-month learn-by-doing accelerator will expose you and your team to almost everything you need to make your company successful.
- Communitech Edge: Communitech Edge is designed for validation-stage companies who have a product in the market, have paying customers and are generating $1K-$5K MRR. Edge is best for companies that are ready to start building out their sales process and team.
- The Velocity Garage: Velocity supports startups through through a highly supportive peer-group, structured resources, deep advisor/founder relationships (5+ full time business advisors) and comprehensive infrastructure (37,000 sq ft of office space, science labs, workshop, etc). Application to the program is open to any early-stage startup (pre-series-A, less than 10 people) — it is not exclusive to University of Waterloo students/alumni.
Prince Edward Island
- PEI BioAlliance: The BioAlliance supports companies engaged in bioactive-based human and animal health and nutrition products.
- Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal (CEIM): CEIM provides management support and other services to ventures in the ICT, cleantech and life science industries.
- FounderFuel: FounderFuel is a 13-week program run by Real Ventures. Teams receive a $100,000 investment in exchange for 5% equity in the company.
III. Campus-Linked Accelerators in Ontario
Funded by the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) runs various programs to support entrepreneurs from universities and colleges. Funding is provided to support student entrepreneurs and student-led enterprises through two programs—On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) and Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLAs). All academic institutions in Ontario are part of this program. Many of the campus accelerators and incubators are open not just to students, staff, and alumni but also to the general public. Below is a
Brock University (St. Catharines): BioLinc
Canadore College (North Bay): E-Hub
Carlton University (Ottawa): Lead to Win
Centennial College (Toronto): ACCEL at the Centre of Entrepreneurship
Fanshawe College (London): Leap Junction
George Brown College (Toronto): StartGBC
Georgian College (Barrie): Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre
McMaster University (Hamilton): The Forge
OCAD University (Toronto): The Imagination Catalyst
Queen’s University (Kingston): Queen’s Innovation Connector (QIC) Summer Initiative Program
Ryerson University (Toronto): Zone Learning
Seneca College (Toronto): HELIX
University of Toronto (Toronto): Banting & Best Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
University of Waterloo (Waterloo): Velocity, Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, St. Paul’s GreenHouse, Accelerator Centre
University of Windsor (Windsor): EPICentre
Western University (London): Propel
Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo): LaunchPad
IV. International accelerators and incubators
Here are some links to international programs with excellent track records.
500 Startups: 500 Startups provides early-stage companies with up to $150K in funding for 6% of the company.
TechStars: TechStars is a competitive program that runs in cities across the United States, including Boston, Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; New York City, New York; Seattle, Washington; and San Antonio, Texas, with affiliates around the world. TechStars openly publishes the metrics of their companies.
Y Combinator: The accelerator that started it all, Y Combinator is the most competitive program with an acceptance rate of just 3%.
Start-Up Chile: Start-Up Chile has accepted several Canadian companies. This government-sponsored initiative provides US$30,000 for its six-month program. In exchange, entrepreneurs help to build the local startup community.
For a more global perspective, check out these lists: