Start-up Visa Program Canada: Why you should apply today

Start-up Visa Program Canada: Why you should apply today

1. What is the Start-up Visa Program?

Our startup visa program is expertly designed to support international entrepreneurs who wish to bring and grow their startup businesses in Canada. 

We start with a virtual 3-month Accelerator where you learn how to launch, operate and grow a successful business in Canada.

Once you’re in Canada, our warm and welcoming environment helps international entrepreneurs successfully build their businesses and explore the potential of rural Canada. 

We strive to ensure that startups have a solid foundation for growth, with access to resources and connections to help them thrive in our community and ecosystem.


2. How to apply for the Start-up Visa Program

To apply for the Start-up Visa Program at the Innovation Cluster, business owners should first complete our application. We will assess your application and provide guidance for any further information we may need. Please reach out to us with any questions, we are happy to support you throughout the application process.


3. Benefits of the Start-up Visa Program

By participating in our Start-up Visa Program, business owners can gain access to a range of business resources and support. Our program provides entrepreneurs with the chance to develop their startups with guidance from experienced mentors and access to professional networks, which can help them in growing their businesses. With our guidance, entrepreneurs can make sure they’re more likely to gain permanent residence and build successful businesses in Canada. 

The deadline for applications is fast approaching – don’t miss this great opportunity!  Apply now and get started on your dream of bringing and growing your business in Canada.


3. Requirements for the Start-up Visa Program

In order to be eligible for this business incubator program, the Canadian government requires that you have a qualifying business, meet the language requirements, and bring enough money to settle. You will also need to obtain a letter of support from us in order to move forward with your application. Don’t worry, our team of experts is here to help you every step of the way. We want to see you succeed, and we know that with the right support, you can achieve anything.


Why apply to the Start-up Visa Program at the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas?

The Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas is a welcoming environment and not like the big city tech hubs. We understand that it can be daunting for business owners to move their businesses to Canada. Our business incubator is more personalized, providing founders with the tools they need to succeed in a unique business community. Our business incubator team is committed to helping business entrepreneurs stay on track with their business plans and achieve success in Canada.

We are one of the few rural business incubators in Canada to offer the Start-up Visa Program

We pride ourselves on being a business incubator in a rural environment. We recognize that people need to be able to achieve a balance between work and life commitments. Our start-up visa program allows business entrepreneurs to create a business plan that works for them and their lifestyle. They receive ongoing guidance from our business incubator team in a beautiful rural setting, amidst forests and lakes. With flexible hours, entrepreneurs can make sure they’re able to balance business goals with personal obligations.

Last call for 2022 – Apply today!

This is your final call to apply to our Startup Visa Program. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have business expertise and access to business networks in beautiful rural Canada. Take advantage of our unique business incubator and start your journey toward business success.  Apply now. We look forward to having you join us!


By Camila Duarte, Senior Innovation Specialist, and Startup Visa Program Manager

10 Cleantech trends to watch for in 2023

10 Cleantech trends to watch for in 2023

In the past, cleantech was often seen as an altruistic endeavor with a questionable business case. That perception is rapidly changing as the economics of cleantech become increasingly compelling. With over $40B in venture funding in 2022, cleantech startups are poised to take off in the coming years. While there are still challenges to be overcome – the cleantech sector is attracting more and more attention from both the public and private spheres. It’s an exciting time to be involved in cleantech, and the future looks bright for those dedicated to finding cleaner, more sustainable ways to power our world. So read on and learn more about the exciting cleantech trends that are creating a future that’s cleaner and smarter for us all.


1. Renewable Energy

With the cost of renewable energy sources falling and the cost of fossil fuels rising, cleantech is becoming one of the most attractive investment opportunities in the world. By the end of 2023, nearly 33 percent of the world’s electricity is forecast to come from renewables. As more and more countries commit to decarbonizing their economies, the renewable energy sector is poised for explosive growth in the years to come. Solar and wind energy are becoming increasingly cost-competitive with traditional forms of power generation, making them a more attractive option for businesses and households. The falling costs of storage technologies are also making it easier for renewable energy to be used on the grid. In the coming years, we are likely to see more cleantech solutions being implemented in the renewable energy sector.


2. Green Buildings

Green buildings are designed to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable. They can use less energy and water and generate less waste. Green buildings are an increasingly popular cleantech trend, as more people are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact. In the coming years, we can expect to see more green buildings being constructed. This trend is being driven by both the private and public sectors. In the private sector, companies are looking to green buildings as a way to reduce operating costs. The public sector is also investing in green buildings, as they offer social and environmental benefits.


3. Alternative Mobility

The traditional automotive industry is facing a number of challenges. As a result, the automotive industry is undergoing a period of transformation. This is creating opportunities for cleantech startups to develop new technologies and business models. One noticeable cleantech trend is alternative mobility. These include the rise of electric vehicles, the sharing economy, and autonomous vehicles. 

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a number of benefits over traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. Electric vehicles are cheaper to operate and maintain, and they generate zero emissions. In addition, electric vehicles are becoming increasingly affordable, as the cost of batteries continues to decline. As a result, electric vehicles are expected to make up a significant portion of the vehicle market in the coming years.

Shared Mobility

The sharing economy is having a major impact on the automotive industry. One area that is being affected is shared mobility. This refers to the sharing of vehicles, such as cars, bikes, and scooters. Shared mobility is convenient, efficient, and environmentally friendly. As a result, it is expected to grow in popularity in the coming years.

Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are another area of opportunity for cleantech startups. Autonomous vehicles are expected to have a major impact on the automotive industry, as they have the potential to revolutionize transportation. In addition, autonomous vehicles offer a number of benefits over traditional vehicles, including improved safety and efficiency. As a result, we can expect to see more cleantech startups developing autonomous vehicle technologies in the coming years.


4. Carbon capture, use, and storage

Carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) is a cleantech technology that refers to the process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions from sources like power plants and industrial facilities, then transporting and storing it so that it doesn’t enter the atmosphere. CCUS has been identified as a critical technology for mitigating climate change, as it has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent. Despite its potential, CCUS faces significant challenges, including high costs, technical feasibility, and public perception. In order to overcome these challenges, cleantech startups are working to develop CCUS solutions that are economically viable and technologically feasible. With continued investment and innovation, CCUS has the potential to be a cleantech trend that plays a major role in fighting climate change.


5. Green materials

More and more, builders and homeowners are looking for ways to use green materials in their construction projects. Green materials are those that have been sourced from sustainable sources and have a low environmental impact. This can include using cleantech materials, such as bamboo, that have a lower carbon footprint.  Hemp-based flooring, for example, has a lower carbon footprint than traditional flooring. Green materials are not only better for the environment, but they can also be cheaper, more efficient, more durable, and easier to maintain than traditional materials. The cleantech alliance suggests this trend is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, as the construction industry looks for ways to reduce its environmental impact.


6. Water Conservation

In recent years, there has been a growing cleantech trend of startups focused on water conservation. This is in response to the increasing global demand for clean water, as well as the ever-growing problem of water pollution. These startups are developing new technologies to help consumers and businesses save water and reduce their water footprint. In addition, they are working to develop new ways to purify and recycle water, making it easier and more affordable for people to access clean water. As the world becomes more aware of the importance of water conservation, these startups are likely to continue to gain traction.


7. Circular Waste Management

Waste management is a critical issue that needs to be addressed in order to protect our environment. In the past, most waste management strategies have focused on landfill disposal. However, this method is no longer sustainable, as we are running out of space to build more landfills. In addition, landfills can release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. As a result, startups are developing to find new ways to manage our waste. One promising solution is circular waste management. This approach focuses on a circular economy — reducing, reusing, and recycling waste instead of simply disposing of it. By adopting a circular waste management strategy, we can reduce our impact on the environment and help to preserve our resources for future generations.


8. Energy consumption management

As the world’s population continues to grow, so does our demand for energy. This increase in energy consumption is putting a strain on our resources and contributing to climate change. In order to mitigate these effects, cleantech startups in energy consumption management are working on innovative solutions to help us better manage our energy consumption. One way to do this is through energy efficiency. Energy efficiency refers to using less energy to achieve the same results. For example, you can save energy by using energy-efficient appliances or insulating your home. Another way to reduce energy consumption is through demand management. Demand management is a strategy that involves managing our demand for energy so that we don’t exceed our supply. This can be done through things like energy conservation and load shedding.

Smart Meters

Smart meters are devices that measure electricity usage and communicate this information to the utility company. This allows for more accurate billing and can help people save money by reducing their energy consumption. Smart grids are electrical grids that use smart meters and other technologies to deliver electricity more efficiently. They can also help utilities provide power during times of peak demand, reducing the need for rolling blackouts.


9. Sustainable Automation

Sustainable automation is the practice of using renewable energy sources to power our machines and devices. This includes things like solar-powered robots and wind-powered factories. Automation can help us to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and other damaging energy sources. In addition, sustainable automation can help to reduce our carbon footprint and conserve our resources. As the world becomes more automated, cleantech startups are developing data technologies for optimization and conservation. Automation is an important part of the cleantech industry, and it is only going to become more so in 2023.


10. Battery storage systems

As more and more people install solar panels in their homes, the need for home battery storage systems is on the rise. Home battery storage systems allow homeowners to store energy from solar panels so that they can use it later, even when the sun isn’t shining. This is a great way for homeowners to reduce their reliance on the grid and save money on their energy bills. In addition, home battery storage systems can help to reduce your carbon footprint as they allow homeowners to use renewable energy even when the sun isn’t shining. Startups in this industry are working on making home battery storage systems more affordable and accessible for homeowners. With the continued development of home battery storage systems, we can expect to see an increase in their popularity in the years to come.


Launch your own Cleantech Startup 

These are all exciting trends that point to a bright future for cleantech startups. Now is a great time to be involved in cleantech, and with the right mentorship, your startup has the potential to be successful like our alumnus Horizon Aircraft

At the Innovation Cluster, we love helping startups make their vision a reality. Click here to learn more about our startup program. 

Don’t hesitate to call or email us to learn more about the resources and support we can provide your startup.

Can I Get Funding for My Startup with Just an Idea?

Can I Get Funding for My Startup with Just an Idea?

All startups begin with an idea. The greatest products and services on the market were at one time just a thought. Your idea has the potential to revolutionize an industry, but do you have the necessary funds to transform your idea into a business? Can you get funding for your startup with just an idea?


To prepare for success, you must understand where funding comes from and consider who can invest in your business idea. 


What is idea stage funding? 

For entrepreneurs, the idea stage is when you have to explore the feasibility of building your idea into a product or service and develop a minimum viable product (MVP) that can be tested, improved, and launched in your target market

Idea stage funding is the investment entrepreneurs receive before launching their product or service. The goal of this stage is to raise funds for a startup idea while developing marketing and sales plans to launch your business. 


Types of Funding for Your Startup Idea

1.Venture Capital

Venture capital (VC) is a type of private equity that provides funding to startups with growth potential in exchange for an equity stake. VC firms allow startups to expand and gain equities in the market, and typically require entrepreneurs to submit business proposals for their consideration.

2. Angel Investors

Attracting angel investors who are knowledgeable in your sector and have experience working with startups is a great route to take. They can financially invest in ideas and provide startup mentorship and business expertise to help you succeed.

To learn two other types of funding and if you can get funding without having a product, read our full blog!

3.Government Grants

There are many grants available to startup entrepreneurs and small businesses. However, grants may take time to be approved so you must plan your startup with that in mind. 


Financial institutions can offer various financing options for entrepreneurs and small businesses based on individual needs. Check if you are eligible for small business and micro-loans in your area. 


Can you get funding without a product?

The short answer is yes. But for this to happen, you must focus on finding investors who will invest in your ideas.

A crucial step to attract this type of investor is to be effective when networking including having an elevator pitch. If invited for a meeting with an investor, you should prepare a polished investment proposal that outlines the potential of your business idea with relevant information and research. 

You will also need a business plan with financial projections, and it helps if you have an active presence on social media so investors can see what you’re all about.


Who do I talk to if I have a business idea?

Talk to a startup incubator if you have a business idea but don’t know where to start. Their expertise can help refine your business ideas as well as connect you with the right investors.


What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

When first developing a product, it can take a lot of time, effort, research, testing, and funding before a product is finalized and ready for the market. After such a large investment, the last thing you want is to discover that consumers don’t want to buy your product or have found major flaws. To avoid finding yourself in this situation, we recommend developing a minimum viable product (MVP) a basic model of your product that will attract early-adopter customers and give you the opportunity to finesse the final version based on their feedback.


Why is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) so important?


MVPs were introduced by Eric Ries as part of his Lean Startup Methodology — a process that builds businesses and products based on consumer needs rather than developing a product and then hoping it sells.

Having an MVP allows you to learn the maximum amount of information about your customers by using minimum resources and effort, and observing how they respond to the earliest version of your product.

Collecting valuable data about your customers and their feedback gives you the opportunity to make adjustments before launching your final version, eliminating the risk of pouring thousands of hours and dollars into a product that is not desired by consumers.


What are the key characteristics of a Minimum Viable Product?


1. Fast and Cheap

If your MVP takes two years to create and piles of cash to produce, it is not an MVP. 


2. Enough features to attract early customers

Your MVP only needs basic features, but at the same time, it needs to have enough features to attract early adopters.


3. The positives of releasing the MVP outweigh the negatives

Releasing an MVP means leads to first customer impressions and it also gives your competitors the chance to see what you’ve developed. The benefits you gain from your MVP such as retrieving valuable customer feedback should outweigh any risks.


4. Your method for submitting customer feedback must be easy and work 

The primary purpose of a minimum viable product is to know what customers think about it. You need to create a convenient and easy way for people to send in feedback.


An example is a software company offering a free upgrade of their next released software version to all customers in exchange for submitting their thoughts about your MVP.


When is it good to release a Minimum Viable Product?


Your startup may choose to develop an MVP because you want to:

  1. Launch a version of your product into the market as quickly as possible.
  2. Test an idea or feature with real customers before committing to full development. 
  3. Learn what your target market likes, dislikes, and would change about your product. 


What are the next steps after developing an MVP?


After releasing an MVP and collecting early adopters’ feedback, you should be able to answer one big question: “Is my product viable?” You will know if a wider audience will purchase your product and if continuing its development should be your next step. 

If you discover that customers would not purchase your product due to a lack of interest or having too many flaws, this is not a failure. In fact, your MVP has done its job by avoiding you from spending further time and resources developing your product. You can either go back to the drawing board to develop a different product altogether or keep with the same product but make significant changes.


What is a Minimum Marketable Product (MMP)?


If early adopters of your MVP demonstrate that a larger audience would purchase your product, you can continue product development to create a Minimum Marketable Product (MMP).

A Minimum Marketable Product (sometimes referred to as a Minimum Marketable Release MMR) is a progressed version of your MVP that is ready to be sold to a much larger audience. An MMR is still not the final version of your product and has minimal features, but it is more advanced than an MVP so more people are attracted to buy it.  


What is the difference between an MVP and MMP?

A textbook MMP is a solution to a customer problem they are willing to pay for, as opposed to an MVP which may not quite yet hit the mark. 

When releasing an MVP, it is early adopters who purchase the product who have a passion for testing out the latest products. When launching an MMP however, you are trying to appeal to a much wider customer base who will have much higher expectations than early adopters. 


How will having an MVP benefit my business?

Developing a minimum viable product is beneficial for the long-term success of your business. It sets you up to become a scalable startup, a quality that most startup investors look for when deciding to invest in a business.

As an entrepreneur, it can be exciting to keep developing your product until it reaches your full vision, but starting with an MVP will save you from making large business errors, wasting time on unwanted features, and spending large quantities of money that does not lead to any revenue.

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