The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) has agreed to commit up to $9 million to an Ontario seed fund. Launched by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the SmartStart Seed Fund provides seed financing to help young entrepreneurs grow their startups and make them investment and customer ready. The program was first piloted with FedDev Ontario funding in 2012 and was renewed with Ontario government funding in April 2014.
FedDev Ontario Invests in SmartStart Seed Fund to Support Companies in Southern Ontario
January 21, 2015 – Toronto, Ontario – Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
More entrepreneurs in southern Ontario will benefit from support through Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE) SmartStart Seed Fund (SmartStart), thanks to an investment of up to $9 million announced today by FedDev Ontario Minister Gary Goodyear.
SmartStart provides seed financing and funding for entrepreneurship skills training to help high-potential start-up companies grow their companies and make them investment and customer ready. The program was first piloted with FedDev Ontario funding in 2012 and renewed with Government of Ontario funding in April 2014. It currently offers entrepreneurs between 18 and 29 years of age up to $40,000 for technology or innovation-based companies located in Ontario to launch and grow their businesses. After April 1, 2015, southern Ontario entrepreneurs between 18 and 29 years of age may apply for up to $70,000, while those 30 and older can apply for up to $40,000.
OCE is leveraging partnerships with private-sector accelerators, Campus Linked Accelerators located in academic institutions across Ontario, Regional Innovation Centres (RICs), angel investor networks, venture capital firms, industry and sector organizations to deliver this program.
The Harper Government’s contribution, through FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation initiative, aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in southern Ontario.
FedDev Ontario’s investment in SmartStart is expected to support more than 300 companies in southern Ontario, which will maintain more than 900 jobs and create more than 1,500 jobs.
FedDev Ontario has partnered with OCE in the past to pilot the SmartStart program, which supported 45 companies. They created a combined total of 68 full-time jobs, while securing more than $13 million in follow-on investment to build and grow their companies.
Through the first intake of the Investing in Business Innovation initiative launched in October 2010, FedDev Ontario invested nearly $57 million in repayable contributions to 86 companies, leveraging almost three times more in private sector investments. FedDev Ontario also invested more than $3 million in 12 angel networks and associations.
“This investment will provide capital to help high-potential start-up companies transition from product development to market entry, while also providing skills training to help them position themselves to be more attractive to investors and commercial partners. We are pleased to support the entrepreneurial community in southern Ontario and contribute to economic growth and job creation.”
– Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
“Since 2012, our SmartStart program has been assisting Ontario entrepreneurs and their companies. I’m pleased that this new investment, which matches the investment from the Government of Ontario, will mean we can enhance the much-needed support provided to hundreds of start-ups at a critical time in their development.”
– Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence
Backgrounder: FedDev Ontario’s Contribution to the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s SmartStart Seed Fund
Investing in Business Innovation initiative
Ontario Centres of Excellence SmartStart Seed Fund
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Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
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