Innovation Guelph has secured $10 million from the federal government to partner with five southwestern Ontario regional innovation centres (RICs) and bring cleantech innovations to market through the inclusion, diversity, environment, acceleration (i.d.e.a) Fund.
The i.d.e.a Fund aims to support 240 businesses in sectors connected to the green economy.
The five RICs that will help disburse the funding are Haltech, Innovate Niagara, Innovation Factory, TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario, and WEtech Alliance.
Launched this year, businesses participating in the i.d.e.a Fund will be provided with up to $30,000 in seed funding to support commercialization efforts and growth, as well as up to 40 hours of advisory services.
A spokesperson for TechAlliance told BetaKit that equity-deserving founders will need to find private capital to match 25 percent of the funds they receive. The organization describes “equity-deserving” as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC), people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Founders that do not fall under these categories must match 100 percent of the financing they collect.
The inaugural cohort for the i.d.e.a Fund will start on June 30 and is set to conclude in February. Applications are open from May 10 to June 7.
“Since its inception, Innovation Guelph and the province’s Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) have been fostering innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Alison Crumblehulme, executive director and CEO of Innovation Guelph. “This funding is an exciting opportunity to extend our reach and impact with an innovative approach, where for the first time, RICs are collaboratively delivering support to under-represented communities who will contribute to a green recovery.”
Crumblehulme was appointed as Innovation Guelph’s CEO in December, replacing Anne Toner Fung who has been with the organization since 2017.
Founded in 2011, Innovation Guelph is a non-profit organization that provides mentorship and business support programs to startups. Over the last decade, Innovation Guelph claims that it has supported more than 1,327 businesses, from startups to scale-ups, through its accelerator programs, which led to the creation of 1,756 jobs.
The i.d.e.a Fund aims to support 240 businesses in sectors connected to the green economy, including agri-innovation, cleantech, and advanced manufacturing, to create and maintain 840 jobs, and commercialize 135 new products, services, processes, and technologies.
In its mission to create a more diverse and inclusive economy, the five RICs that Innovation Guelph will be working with will ensure that 50 percent of the businesses are owned or led by women and 30 percent are owned or led by Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and individuals from Black communities, racialized communities and members of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Innovation Guelph previously received $1.8 million from the federal government in 2019 as part of Canada’s $2 billion Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy. It later received $251,250 in additional funding in March last year. In the past, Innovation Guelph has supported women entrepreneurs through its Rhyze Project, which helps women find venture capital and mentorship. Through Rhyze, Innovation Guelph aims to raise the number of women-owned businesses in Guelph and Wellington County to 30 percent by 2025.
Featured image from Innovation Guelph