12 Must-Know Funding Sources for Tech Startups in Canada

12 Must-Know Funding Sources for Tech Startups in Canada

Starting a tech biz is thrilling, but it also takes a big investment to bring your ideas to life and make your biz a success. You need to cover the costs of gear, software, office space, and staff salaries, which adds up fast.

Thankfully, funding can give your startup the cash infusion it needs to focus on developing your product and growing your biz without stressing about the costs of starting a company.

Luckily, plenty of funding options are available in Canada to help fuel your startup. In this article, we’ll talk about the best funding sources for tech startups.

Futurpreneur Canada

Futurpreneur Canada is a financing program that provides collateral-free loans to startups at a better interest rate than most banks. With the ability to finance up to $20,000 per business (minimum $5,000), the program also offers additional funding of up to $40,000 through its partner, BDC. The program provides funding and two years of expert mentoring support to help startups get started on the right track. The loan is repayable over five years, with interest-only payments required in the first year. There is no penalty for early repayment of the Futurpreneur portion of the loan.

Amount: Up to $60,000

Eligibility: Canadian citizens or permanent residents aged 18-39, who have a business idea and are ready to start a business.

Application Process: The application process is straightforward, with just one application required for both financing options on the Futurpreneur website. The application process involves filling out an online application form, submitting a business plan, and completing an in-person interview.

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

The Business Development Bank of Canada provides financing and support to Canadian entrepreneurs. The BDC offers a range of financing options, including loans, venture capital, and equity financing, to help startups grow and succeed.

It’s worth noting that if you’re located in the Peterborough and Kawarthas area of Ontario, the Business Development Bank of Canada has partnered with the Innovation Cluster to provide additional support to startups in the region. 

Through this partnership, entrepreneurs can access expert advice, networking opportunities, and funding to help them start and grow their businesses.

Amount: Varies depending on the financing option selected.

Eligibility: Canadian businesses looking for financing and support to grow and succeed.

Application Process: The application process involves filling out an online application form, submitting financial statements and a business plan, and undergoing an assessment by a BDC financing specialist.

Community Futures Peterborough

Community Futures Peterborough is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance, business counselling, and training services to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Peterborough region. The organization offers three types of loans for tech startups:

Inventory Loan: Up to $10,000

Micro Loan: Up to $20,000

Expansion Loan: Up to $300,000

Eligibility: Tech startups must have a solid business plan and a clear path to profitability. Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and the business must be located in the Peterborough and Kawarthas region.

Application Process:

  1. Connect with an advisor to discuss your project and needs.
  2. Complete the application form and provide all supplemental information to Community Futures Peterborough.
  3. The Loan Committee reviews your application, and a decision is made.

The startup must sign a loan agreement and provide collateral or a personal guarantee if the loan is approved. Community Futures Peterborough evaluates each application on a case-by-case basis and aims to decide within a few weeks.

Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP)

CSBFP provides small business loans to help entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses.

Amount of Funding Available: Up to $1 million.

Eligibility: Must be a Canadian-owned and operated small business.

Application Process: Apply through a participating financial institution and provide a detailed business plan and financial projections.

FedDev Ontario: Business Scale-up and Productivity

FedDev Ontario provides funding to support the growth and expansion of businesses in Southern Ontario. 

Amount of Funding Available: Up to $10 million.

Eligibility: Must be a Canadian SME located in Southern Ontario.

Application Process: Fill out an online application and provide a detailed project proposal and budget.

National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)

NRC-IRAP funds small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to support research and development projects. The program also provides access to expert advice and support from industrial technology advisors. 

Amount: Varies depending on the project

Eligibility: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in research and development projects.

Application Process: The application process involves filling out an online application form, submitting a research and development proposal, and undergoing an assessment by an NRC-IRAP industrial technology advisor.

Kawartha Lakes CFDC

Kawartha Lakes CFDC helps local businesses in the Kawarthas region who are having trouble accessing financing through more traditional channels. Funding is available to entrepreneurs starting out, innovating, or growing their businesses. They don’t compete with other financial institutions but instead focus on forming collaborative partnerships that benefit everyone involved.

Amount: up to $300,000 

Eligibility: You will need evidence of commitment to your business and its viability, such as:

  • Showing that you have enough financial resources to carry out your operations
  • Having collateral in support of your loan request
  • Proving that you have the necessary skills and experience when it comes to running your business
  • Presenting past success stories, if applicable

Application Process

  1. Complete the application
  2. Fill out your personal net worth statement
  3. Provide any additional documents (business plan, cash flow projections, financial statements)

Innovative Solutions Canada

Innovative Solutions Canada helps Canadian businesses test their innovative products and services within the federal government before bringing them to market.

Amount of Funding Available: Up to $500,000 per contract to cover eligible costs, with no limit on the number of contracts a company can be awarded.

Eligibility: Canadian innovators with pre-commercialized, innovative products or services that have the potential to meet federal government needs. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 500 employees and less than $100 million in annual revenue.

Application Process: Interested businesses can submit their product or service for evaluation through the Innovate Canada website. If the product or service is deemed a good fit for government needs, a contract will be awarded for a testing period of up to two years.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) 

SDTC funds Canadian cleantech companies to develop and demonstrate new technologies that reduce environmental impacts.

Amount of Funding Available: Up to $50 million per project, with a maximum of $100 million per company. Projects can receive up to 33% of eligible project costs in funding.

Eligibility: The program is specifically looking for Canadian cleantech companies that have developed innovative technologies with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the environment. To be eligible, companies must be client supported and nominated by a designated accelerator. Innovation Cluster Peterborough and Kawarthas is one such designation, and interested startups should check their website for more information. Companies must also be incorporated in Canada and have a technology that is at or beyond the demonstration stage.

Application Process: Interested companies can submit an expression of interest on the SDTC website. If the project is deemed a good fit, the company will be invited to submit a full application. The application process involves several stages of review, including a technical assessment, financial review, and due diligence.


CanExport provides funding to Canadian small and medium-sized businesses to expand their international markets through trade missions, business-to-business meetings, and other activities.

Amount of Funding Available: Up to $75,000 in funding for travel and business development expenses associated with exporting to a new market. Companies can receive up to two funding contributions per year.

Eligibility: Canadian small and medium-sized businesses that have been operating for at least one year and have less than 500 full-time employees. Eligible companies must be exporting or planning to export to a new market.

Application Process: Interested companies can submit an online application through the CanExport website. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and can take up to eight weeks to be processed. Companies are required to provide detailed information on their export plan and the expenses they are seeking funding for.

Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF)

The Women Entrepreneurship Fund provides funding to support women entrepreneurs in Canada and help them grow their businesses.

Amount of Funding Available: Up to $100,000

Eligibility: Must be a Canadian women-owned and led business.

Application Process: Fill out an online application and provide a detailed business plan and financial projections.

Black Entrepreneurship Loan Program

The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Program provides low-interest loans to Black entrepreneurs and business owners in Canada to help them start, grow and expand their businesses.

Amount of Funding Available: Up to $250,000.

Eligibility: Must be a Canadian Black entrepreneur or a business owner.

Application Process: Apply through a participating financial institution and provide a detailed business plan and financial projections.

The Innovation Cluster can help! 

Starting a tech biz in Canada can be tough, but don’t worry, there’s funding out there to help you get the cash you need to reach your goals. The funding sources we talked about here are just a few of the options you have.

To get the scoop on all your funding choices and take your biz to the next level, reach out to our experts at the Innovation Cluster. Don’t wait, check out our programs today and see how we can help you succeed.

Pro tip:

NRC-IRAP and FedDev Ontario have their office at Innovation Cluster, and Community Futures Peterborough is located pretty close to our office at Venture North Building. Just thought you should know!

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.


How to Find Angel Investors

How to Find Angel Investors

A startup’s success is attributed to several factors including the company’s dedication, entrepreneurial skills, the consumer’s need for the products or services offered, effective marketing, business viability, and more. But as passionate, business savvy, and innovative as a startup may be, sometimes it all comes down to money. To launch, grow, and build a scalable startup, you need adequate funding, and a great option is to learn how to find angel investors and gain their support. 


What is an angel investor?

Angel investors are usually wealthy individuals who invest their money into early-stage companies in exchange for equity in the business. Typically angel investors are looking for long-term investments and are able to provide startup mentorship and business expertise in addition to their financial investment.


Is it difficult to find angel investors?

Generally, it’s not hard to find angel investors when you’re looking in the right places, but what can be tricky is learning how to get them to invest in your business which we will cover further down in this article.

Let’s first look at ways to find angel investors.


4 Ways to Find Angel Investors


1. Start with your local community

Angel groups and networks exist all over the world, but many angel investors take a greater interest in locally-based startups. Research groups that exist in your community. 


2. Use online databases

Many angel groups and networks are listed on online databases. Websites like Angel Investors Ontario list all Ontario-registered angel investor groups, making it easy for Ontario-based startups to find angel investors within the province. 

Other websites such as AngelList, Angel Capital Association, and Angel Investment Network give you access to thousands of investors. 


3. Search social media platforms

If your startup is active on social media, particularly on Twitter and LinkedIn, it can lead to connecting with angel investors. Your startup’s social media channels should follow and engage with relevant businesses and influential people.

In general, having an effective digital marketing plan can help you connect with influential people and angel investors.


4. Attend business networking events

Registering for local conferences, industry events, and business socials will bring you closer to connecting with angel investors.

Local networking events are often attended by angel investors, and it’s a great way to make introductions and plant seeds for building long-term relationships.


How to Secure an Angel Investment

Finding angel investors is one thing, securing investments is quite another. Landing funding from an angel investor is all about being prepared, polished, and passionate.


PREPARE a detailed yet concise business plan

Angel investors want to assess your startup’s viability and growth potential. Write a detailed and well-organized business plan that includes elements such as an estimate of how much funding you need, your business strategy, a competitor analysis, and financial objectives.


POLISH your elevator pitch

Whether you connect with angel investors online or in-person, having a well-executed elevator pitch is essential to capture their attention and interest. Aim to keep your pitch concise and simple, and include why your startup is a solid investment.


PASSIONATE entrepreneurs are an angel’s best friend

When angel investors invest their money, time, and expertise, they are not only investing in a business but in the person or people behind it. If you are not passionate and driven, angel investors may question if you have what it takes to go the distance.

How much money can you ask for from angel investors?


As a general rule, startups need to calculate two things before determining how much money they should ask for: Business valuation and funding requirements.

Determining your business valuation will help you come up with an asking amount that is proportionate to how much your startup is worth and also determine if this amount alone will cover your startup’s needs.

Most angel investors will not look at requests that exceed $1 million and will be looking to take a percentage of your company that equals the percentage of funding in relation to your business. For example, if your business is valued at $1 million, and your startup requires $250K in funding, the angel investor will most likely want approximately 25 percent of your company. 


How do I get help landing angel investors?

Startup incubators mentor entrepreneurs to launch, grow, and scale their businesses. Startup incubators place a large emphasis on acquiring funding as this is a large component of any new business.

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas teaches clients how to secure investments, connects them with local angel investors through the Peterborough Region Angel Network, and prepares them by teaching them how to build a solid business plan, give an effective pitch, and ultimately get the funding they require.

6 Tips For Startup Business Taxes in Canada

6 Tips For Startup Business Taxes in Canada

Millions of Canadians work as employees at organizations and are used to filing standard annual income taxes —a fairly straightforward process for most people. As a new startup business owner, there are now new things to consider, know, and keep track of. 


We have provided 6 tips for startup business taxes to make this easy to navigate.


1. Know what expenses you can claim

When you are first getting your business off the ground, there are startup expenses you incur that are necessary for your business to operate. Many reasonable and legitimate expenses can be claimed as business startup tax deductions. Some of these items may include:


  • Equipment and Technology
  • Supplies
  • Business fees and licenses
  • Vehicle expenses
  • Legal and accounting fees
  • Insurance


2. Stay organized and TRACK EVERYTHING

One of the biggest tax tips we can provide to entrepreneurs is to always be organized. From every business expense to income earned, keep receipts and detailed records. The importance of keeping good records cannot be overstated enough for a few reasons: 


  1. It is required by law to keep all records. Be aware of your responsibilities and how long you must keep records for, which is generally for a period of six years from the end of the last tax year they relate to.
  2. It will make your life a lot easier and less stressful when it comes time to file your taxes. 
  3. In the event you are audited by the Canada Revenue Agency, having clear and organized records will make this process much easier than if you cannot account for your business activities.


3. Be informed of all available tax credits

As a small business startup, tax credits can go a long way. Become familiar with all tax credits you are eligible for which may include:


  • Canada Caregiver Credit
  • Health Spending Account (HSA)
  • Disability Tax Credit
  • Canada Child Benefit


4. Balance your Dividend/Salary Mix 

As a startup business, you can withdraw money from your company either as a dividend or salary. Paying yourself a healthy salary provides an opportunity to maximize your RRSP, but you may also want to take out part of your pay as a dividend to take advantage of a lower tax rate. Knowing how to balance the two can maximize your earnings, but you must be aware that every startup business owner’s circumstances are different. What may be a great decision for one person may not be as smart for another.


5. Consider Income Splitting

Many startup business owners choose to pay family members a salary, as any salary paid out will count as a business deduction. However, the salary must be reasonable in relation to the position your family holds at your company. For example, a typical entry-level position should not be earning a salary that is well over the average in your region.


6. Determine what is best for your budget 

In the past you may have been an employee and taxes were deducted from every pay. This hopefully resulted in no large sum of taxes due at the end of the year. Now as a startup business owner, this does not happen. It is your job to determine what fits best within your startup budget. You may want to consider paying income taxes every month to avoid one large payment. This can be set up with the CRA and can be easier to manage throughout the year. 


Where do you find help with startup business taxes?


From year to year, there can be changes to tax law and tax credits available to startups. To keep up-to-date, we recommend choosing a CPA firm that understands startups and can advise you on what is best for your business.


In addition to acquiring the services of a tax professional, having a startup mentor is a great way to learn from someone who has been where you are in your journey, or has expertise to advise you to make smart choices. A startup incubator has experienced mentors, fantastic programs, knowledge, and opportunities to help you plan for startup taxes and aid in your company’s overall growth and success.



How to find investors for your startup business

How to find investors for your startup business

Launching a startup business is a significant accomplishment. It takes lots of drive, commitment, and courage to transition your innovative idea into a legitimate business. But it is no secret that even the most passionate and brilliant entrepreneurs will face greater challenges if their businesses do not have proper financial support. Exploring how to find investors for your startup business, and more precisely, attracting ones that will have the expertise to take your company to the next level, is critical in your startup’s early stages to set yourself up for long-term success.


Where to find investors for your startup business


There are different types of investors for startups, each with its own set of perks. It is important when looking for investors for your startup business to recognize what stage your startup is currently in, how much funding you require, and if your company is what a particular investor will be looking to invest in.

Here we will look at three types of equity financing receiving funding in exchange for a share of your company.


  1.     Family and Friends

This avenue can be really attractive as the conditions of investment are typically more lenient and advantageous. There are many things to consider when approaching family and friends, but two of the most important are deciding whether your agreement will be a loan or an investment, and ensuring the terms of your agreement are clear.

For example, will they expect interest paid on the loan? If it is an investment, what percentage of future profits will they receive? Your terms must be clear and in writing so there is no confusion or problems down the road.


  1. Angel Investors

Angel investors are people with significant disposable funds who seek promising investment opportunities. Typically, investment in your startup is exchanged for equity in your business. The difference between angel investors for startups and venture capitalists is they usually are not only interested in generating a return on their investment but are also invested in your company’s long-term future.

Angel investors not only can provide funding, but offer years of industry expertise that can be of equal value when working to grow and scale your business. Well-established angel networks like the Peterborough Region Angel Network located in Peterborough, Ontario, invest in promising startup businesses and care about helping companies achieve success.


  1. Venture Capitalists

Venture capitalists are investors who provide businesses capital in exchange for benefits such as company equity, a seat on your board of directors, or a percentage of future profits. Venture capitalists can either be individuals or large firms and they gravitate toward startups with above-average growth potential.



How to get investors for your startup


With an overview of where to begin looking for investment opportunities, you may be wondering how to attract investors for startups and get them to invest.

The answer is networking.

Networking helps your startup business grow, and by attending industry events and forming connections you will gain knowledge about the best investment opportunities. Even if you do not network directly with investors, meeting other business owners and leaders opens up doors to get an introduction with an investor they may have in their network.

An effective way to increase your networking and connect with investors is through a startup incubator. Startup incubators host events and workshops, are closely connected with angel networks and offer knowledge and tips on how to successfully give a business pitch and secure investor funding.

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas offers year-round networking and mentorship that helps startups find and attract investors. 

To learn more, visit https://www.innovationcluster.ca/.


How to Create a Startup Budget

How to Create a Startup Budget

Successful entrepreneurs know all too well that every dollar counts in the early stages of their business. However, only 54 percent of small businesses in the U.S. had a budget in 2021. Having a detailed and organized budget helps you be strategic with your spending and stay on track to achieve your goals. Here we will teach you how to create a startup budget that will allow your business to grow and succeed. 


What steps should you follow when creating a startup budget?


According to an October 2020 survey conducted by Shopify, startup business owners spend an average of $40,000 in their first year. However, this amount varies significantly as every startup has different needs. 

Budgeting for a small business startup can be overwhelming, but following these steps on how to do a startup budget for a small business can alleviate a lot of your stress. 


5 Steps to Building a Startup Budget:


1. Choose a budgeting tool that works best for your business


Budgets do not need to be fancy, but they need to meet the needs of your company as it grows and evolves. Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets may be sufficient right now, but you may want to consider using a startup budget template or startup budgeting software.


2. Set a budgeting goal


Set a realistic budget goal to keep you on track and quickly separate your essential expenses from wish list items.


3. Categorize and tally your expenses 

Separate your fixed costs and variable costs. 

Fixed costs include more finite expenses such as rent/mortgage, payroll, and insurance. Variable costs have some ‘wiggle room’ and include things such as materials, marketing, transportation, and travel. 

Now calculate your total. Remember that some costs may be one-time expenses and others may be recurring either monthly, quarterly, or annually.


4. Calculate your total revenue


As a startup, you may not have past sales to help forecast your revenue. For this reason, you should consider forming two sets of projections: One you hope for and the other more realistic. Potential sources of funding may include product or service sales, loans, savings, or investment income.


5. Compare your expenses and revenue


Have a detailed look at your expenses and compare them with your revenue. If your budget is far off from the goal you set in step # 2, decide which variable expenses you may not need at this point in time. These items can always be reintroduced as your revenue increases.  


Startup costs to consider


Every startup business is different and therefore no budget will look the same. However, there are some common startup business costs that every entrepreneur should be aware of.


8 Budget Items to Consider 

  1. Office or Workspace: Rent/mortgage, furniture, office supplies, utilities, internet etc.
  2. Equipment: Technology/Machinery
  3. Incorporation Fees
  4. Low-Cost Marketing
  5. Website: Development & Maintenance
  6. Payroll & Consulting Fees
  7. Taxes
  8. Emergency fund


If you are not confident with budgeting, the good news is you don’t have to navigate it alone. A full-service startup incubator can help you build and manage a budget that sets you up for success. 

Contact Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas to get started!

Incubators are the Gateway to Angel Investment 💸

Incubators are the Gateway to Angel Investment 💸

angel investment 4
You’ve perfected your business plan, have your product prototype, and have successfully tested the market. Now, your ready for some investment to take your innovative business to the next level!

But wait. . .how?

You have about 10 – 20 minutes standing in front of Angel Investors and if you pitch right, your business may just have the chance of a lifetime to scale high.

Being a client at the Innovation Cluster provides a lot of perks. You are working steps away from staff who are ready to help you with any situation, one of them being your helpers in preparing for pitching to investors – call us gatekeepers, if you will!

Did you know that the Peterborough Region Angel Network is one of our Industry Partners? The Angels know how important it is for a startup to work with an incubator before pitching to angel investors. Therefore, anyone who is interested in pitching to the Peterborough Region Angel Network must come to the Innovation Cluster first!

The staff at the Cluster have helped many clients perfect their pitch and make sure their business is ready for the stand.

Here are 7 things to keep in mind as you prepare for pitching to the Angels. . .

    What accomplishments have you had so far? Investors want to know how you’ve gotten to this point, and the issues you’ve surpassed graph stock phototrying to build your business. Do you already have clients on board? Do you have an online following begging for your product to be public? These achievements are important, and can help identify what the future of your business will look like if given an investment opportunity.
    What business going into an investment pitch isn’t innovative and needed in today’s world? Although it’s important to get across the need for the product, you want your pitch to be told in a way that the product’s self-worth is showed naturally, rather than being preached about. You started this business because you know how important it is to exist, so find a way to convey that to the angel investors so they feel the same way.
    Claiming your business rises above the rest isn’t only naive, it’s untrue. There will always be competition and people working to be better than your business, watching your every move. So instead of “being the best”, be different. Figure out what your quirk is and run with it to sell how your business has more potential than the rest.
    Every business has their vulnerabilities, recognize them. What are your threats, and what could go wrong? Once you know what they are, be prepared to answer how you can work around them so your business won’t fall. Having this worked out and are able to answer as soon as a potential investor asks, will show you are prepared for any challenge.
    Think back to your past successes and failures. Use them to prepare for future challenges and create a step-by-step plan to grow your business. Not everything goes as planned as an entrepreneur that often, but setting yourself milestones will give investors confidence in supporting your next steps in the plan.
    The team dynamic is extremely important to investors during a pitch, because it’s just as important for businesses growth. If you angel investment 6don’t have a team, you can’t be a one-man-show forever if you want your startup to expand. So whether you’re going into the pitch as a team or as an individual, you’ll need to be able to show investors how you’ll continue to attract talented, innovative and skilled people to your business, so your startup will continue to thrive. Remember – collaboration = innovation.
    This may be the most important one. Angels want to know their investment is being put into the best use possible and that they are able to make a return. You’re product is innovative, it’s needed, and it’s possible, so what do you say now to cross that line into investment? Here’s the secret: The angels want specifics to where their money is going, so by preparing with this checklist, you should know exactly what you’ll do with it. If you want people to invest money into the future of your business, you must be able to know every detail of how you want that future to look.

Are you a client of the Innovation Cluster?: If you think you are ready for pitching to the Angels, you’ll need to come to us first. This list is the foundation of preparing for your pitch, but there’s always more to be done. And as an entrepreneur, we know you’re used to that. So stop by our office and we’ll help you prepare for the best pitch the angels have ever heard! 😎

Have a company and want to join the network of entrepreneurs in the Innovation Cluster? APPLY TODAY

Angels: the "Secret Sauce" behind Ontario’s High-Growth Start-Ups

Angels: the "Secret Sauce" behind Ontario’s High-Growth Start-Ups

Our friends at the Network of Angel Organizations – Ontario (NAO-Ontario) in Toronto have just unveiled their “Angel Network Activity” report for 2012-13.
Download the 2012 Report on Angel Investing Activity in Canada in full here.

This 2012 report indicates a 41% increase in direct member investment into 77 new Ontario-based early stage companies.

An angel investor or angel is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for equity – an ownership stake. Sometimes angel investors organize themselves into angel groups to share research and pool their investment capital, as well as to provide advice to their portfolio companies. Angel groups bring together their members for educational seminars and networking events, and conduct community outreach, bridging the information gap between investors and entrepreneurs. The organized Angel investors in these groups have significantly helped many early-stage companies fill their initial round of financing.

In fact, since 2007 members of the network have invested and leveraged $255 million of private direct investment into 169 Ontario companies, creating and sustaining more than 2,200 jobs. This $255 million is composed of $91.6 million in direct member investment and $163.3 million in co-investment and follow-on investment by other investors.

According to Jeffrey Steiner, Executive Director of NAO-Ontario: “Entrepreneurs still need the private sector for the capital and expertise needed to commercialize. By supporting the [Angel] network, the government provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to attract growth capital from private investors province-wide.”
“Angel-backed companies illustrate small business job creation at its finest and catalyze significant economic development throughout Ontario,” NAO-O board Chair, Dr.Patricia Lorenz told us.
Because Angel investors are indispensable catalysts of economic growth by helping early-stage companies fill their initial round of financing, the findings of the report will be of particular value to the Cluster’s start-up clients and Members, many of which rely on Angel investors for early-stage investments.

This is the main reason that the Innovation Cluster has formalized a strong strategic partnership with PRAN, the Peterborough Region Angel Network (PRAN is supported by NAO-Ontario).
Today, the Cluster and PRAN are actively collaborating to help raise investment for innovative Peterborough-based start-ups and early-stage entrepreneurial companies.
If you have a pitch you want to make to the Angels, start here:  https://gust.com/r/signup.
If you are interested in learning more about The Cube: Peterborough’s first best-practice technology business incubator for high-growth, high-potential technology start-ups, click HERE.

About NAO – Ontario
NAO – Ontario, a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, is the Administrator of Ontario’s Angel Network Program, on behalf of the Government of Ontario. Since 2007 its mission has been to create and grow non-profit Angel investor groups for all the regions of Ontario. Building the membership and best practices of these groups builds a more potent combination of mentorship and capital for innovative start-up companies in the province. Angels are accredited investors who directly contribute both their money and their expertise into early-stage companies seeking growth in Ontario, leading to job creation and an expanding economy.


About PRAN

The Peterborough Region Angel Network is a privately driven initiative that brings together individual investors from the area. Peterborough Angels combine their wealth of knowledge and experience to collaborate and invest in early stage growth companies. Particular areas of focus for investment are green technology and life-science. Members are seeking involvement in challenging business situations and truly assisting client and community success. If you are an entrepreneur looking for funding, or an individual interested in joining the Peterborough Angels, please click HERE.

About the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster
The Innovation Cluster is a not-for-profit organization that exists to bridge the gap between scientific research and business by bringing together talent, knowledge, and investment to drive innovation-based economic growth and high-tech job creation in the Peterborough region.
We support our clients with partnership development; intellectual property protection; publicity; and access to public and private investment.
We also partner with academia and industry and provide support to start-up technology companies and entrepreneurs to help take innovative ideas and processes to market and to foster an environment fueled by innovation.

About The Cube: “incubating innovation, developing entrepreneurs”
The Cube is Peterborough’s first best-practice technology business incubator for high-growth, high-potential technology start-ups. With a mission to drive entrepreneurship, The Cube is Peterborough’s only incubation facility offering full residential and value-added business support services exclusively for early stage-stage and start-up technology companies. Helping new companies to get established, become sustainable, and then accelerate their growth, The Cube incubator program is aimed specifically at helping Peterborough’s entrepreneurs take the first step towards start-up success in the innovation and technology sector. To help these companies in their journey, the incubator provides access to office accommodation in a full-service suite; while also providing the tools, connections, training, education, coaching, mentorship, and professional expertise and services needed to be successful.
Interested in becoming part of this exciting new initiative?
Please contact the Innovation Cluster’s Commercialisation OfficerJoseph Miller at: jmiller@innovationcluster.ca or direct on tel. no.: (705) 748-1011 x 7081, for a confidential discussion and to request an Application Form.

Getting the Right Grant Funding for your Business

Getting the Right Grant Funding for your Business

Finding the right funding programs for your business can be a challenge – to say the least!

As The Funding Portal points out: “There is a vast array of industrial stimulus programs offered by Canada’s federal, provincial and municipal governments”.
According to The Funding Portal’s “Industrial Stimulus Index”, Canada’s three branches of government disburse approximately $24 billion each year in funding to businesses and non-profits through grants, contributions, loans, vouchers, wage subsidies, and tax incentives.

Well, the good news is that the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster has launched its own “Grant List“: designed to help companies navigate their way through the complex world of applying for the right grant at the right time. The Cluster’s Grant List helps companies of all sizes dramatically reduce wasted effort and increase their chances of success in the application process.

For further information about the Grant List, or for guidance on applying for grants, please contact our Commercialisation Officer, Joseph Miller at: jmiller@innovationcluster.ca or direct on tel. no.: (705) 748-1011 x 7081.
For the purposes of clarifying some of the confusing terminology:

Grants are non-repayable financial contributions awarded by government.
Contributions are often repayable.
Although loans are more commonly associated with private financing, funds can also be loaned by a government agency to an organization, often with favourable repayment terms.
Vouchers are pre-paid funds flowing from a government agency to a research institution to conduct R&D, e-business or commercialization services on behalf of a business.
Wage subsidies represent funding to support all or part of an employee’s salary, and are generally applicable to persons with certain characteristics, such as students, interns, graduates, unemployed workers, people with disabilities, or aboriginal persons.
Finally, tax refunds and credits are a type of funding administered through the tax system to provide refunds or credits on eligible investments. The best-known tax incentive program is the $3.5-billion Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive, which supports R&D undertaken by Canadian businesses of all sizes and from all industry sectors.

Each of the more than 4,000 programs available to Canadians through these different funding instruments has its own set of objectives and eligibility criteria. While some funds may be open to all provinces and territories, others may focus solely on economic development in a certain region or even a certain city. Similarly, some funds may be open to businesses from all industry sectors and at all stages of growth, while others may be open only to innovative new tech start-ups, for example.

The Cluster’s Grant List is designed to help applicants overcome some of this confusion!

Companies can also make use the Portal’s free online search tool to perform a keyword search. To learn more: visit the Funding Portal website HERE!

About the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster
The Innovation Cluster is a not-for-profit organization that exists to bridge the gap between scientific research and business by bringing together talent, knowledge, and investment to drive innovation-based economic growth and high-tech job creation in the Peterborough region.
We support our clients with partnership development; intellectual property protection; publicity; and access to public and private investment.
We also partner with academia and industry and provide support to start-up technology companies and entrepreneurs to help take innovative ideas and processes to market and to foster an environment fueled by innovation.

Securing Investment for Start-ups

Securing Investment for Start-ups

Here is a great article for entrepreneurs on securing investment dollars for their start-ups from The Biz Fix.
Summary: Entrepreneurs will be more attractive to investors if they are likable, deliver a crisp presentation and demonstrate some degree of traction. (“Traction is important because anyone can have an idea,” says Rishi Prabhu, one of the founders of Bespoke Post. “But to execute on it – that is what really shows that idea will work.”)

10 Tips to a Successful Pitch and Securing Investor Money
Beyond the No. 1 tip for first building a business before seeking investor dollars, Bulluck, Minnihan and Prabhu said budding entrepreneurs must understand all aspects of their business and be prepared to get grilled.
Here are their top 10 tips for presenting a winning pitch:
1. Fully understand the market and where your company fits in it.
2. Have a sound strategy for acquiring customers, and know how much it will cost.
3. Have a good idea of the customer retention rate.
4. Articulate why you need investor dollars.
5. Present a solid plan for how you will spend the money.
6. Assemble a reliable, knowledgeable team with defined roles.
7. Have a solid focus for the business: Less is more.
8. Approach the meeting as a conversation.
9. Attitude matters: Be likable, while exhibiting a strong work ethic.
10. Demonstrate flexibility to change; building a start-up is a fluid process.

Check out the full story here: http://cnb.cx/15HeF42

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