District Ventures investing $3 million into its accelerator startups

Arlene Dickinson, star of Dragon's Den and founder of District Ventures Capital and the Venture Capital fund.

The District Ventures Accelerator has announced that it is earmarking $3 million for investment in 20 early-stage food, beverage and health CPG businesses in its accelerator.

Twenty applicants will be accepted to the accelerator, and these startups will receive a $130,000 cash investment in exchange for a minority equity stake. The minority equity stake is determined on a case-by-case basis.

The five-month-long program aims to increase brand equity, distribution, sales, and ultimately valuation for startups.

“This investment shows more than our commitment to Canadian entrepreneurs.”

In the past, the District Ventures Accelerator did not provide this funding, but instead connected members to capital by introducing them to venture capital funds — including founder Arlene Dickinson’s VC fund — angel investors, and debt financing.

Now, the accelerator will be investing $130,000 into every company that is accepted into the program.

The program will run two cohorts with 10 companies each, the first beginning in January 2018, and the second beginning in July 2018.

“I’m extraordinarily excited about the growth and expansion of District Ventures Accelerator as an ecosystem for entrepreneurs,” Dickinson said. “This investment builds on our position as one of the top accelerator programs for early-stage CPG businesses in North America.”

At the end of the program, participants will have an opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors for further funding. Dickinson believes that this new model will increase interest and demand among businesses for this program, and others like it.

“This investment shows more than our commitment to Canadian entrepreneurs. It represents our commitment to growing entrepreneurialism in Canada and to diversifying our economy by leveraging our country’s expertise in health and agriculture,” she said.

Entrepreneurs can apply for a position in  District Ventures Accelerator cohort 5 before December 8, 2017 here.

Aeman Ansari

Aeman Ansari

Aeman Ansari is a freelance writer who has been published in many Toronto-based publications, including Hazlitt and Torontoist. When she’s not re-watching Hitchcock movies, she’s working on her collection of short fiction inspired by stories from her grandmother, one of the few women in India to receive post-secondary education in English literature at the time.