The funding comes from York Region via the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund (EIF), which has committed $100,000 annually over the next four years to create jobs and help innovative startups and nonprofits grow in York Region. The EIF was founded in 2019 by VentureLAB and York Region to support local innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Supporting innovative companies helps us strengthen York Region’s economic vitality.”
The fund is divided into two streams, one for non-profit community partners and one for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Its first six recipients include three nonprofits: Seneca HELIX, York Region Arts Council, and YSpace, and three startups and small businesses: BIOSA Technologies, Memory & Company, and Stan A.I.
“Innovation is fundamental to business growth, and supporting innovative companies helps us strengthen York Region’s economic vitality,” said Wayne Emerson, York Region chairman and CEO. “We are proud to partner with VentureLAB and work together to create jobs and expand our world-class innovation network.”
VentureLAB is a Markham-based tech hub that claims to have helped over 2,000 technology companies build, grow, and scale since its founding in 2011. VentureLAB said it has helped these companies generate over $100 million in public and private investments.
“York Region is a hotbed of talent and innovative thinkers,” said Jane Gertner, VentureLAB’s VP of partnerships. “The competitiveness of this fund proves why the region is the destination of choice for small businesses to build and grow their companies.”
The EIF supports startups, accelerators, incubators, and community partners by offering 1:1 matching capital. Recipients are required to have access to funds matching the amount requested.
The EIF’s 2020 call for applications will be announced later this month.
2019 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund (EIF) recipients include:
Nonprofit community partners
- The HELIX Summer Institute (Seneca HELIX): Seneca College’s entrepreneurship incubator, Seneca HELIX, is funding the HELIX Summer Institute, a program developed to foster innovative solutions to problems in the healthcare sector.
- Artrepreneur (York Region Arts Council): Arts service organization York Region Arts Council is funding its 15-week business accelerator program, Artrepreneur, which serves creatives pursuing arts-related businesses.
- Food Accelerator (YSpace): York University’s community innovation hub, YSpace, has relaunched its five-month Food Accelerator program, which is designed to help scale high-growth food and beverage companies.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs
- BIOSA Technologies: BIOSA Technologies is a Toronto polymer-based biotech company that specializes in optimizing enzymes. Its technology increases the longevity of and enhances the properties of enzymes.
- Memory & Company: Memory & Company runs a health club and resort specifically for people living with memory loss. It provides an affordable alternative to homecare through day programs and short and long-term accommodation involving innovative therapies and technologies.
- Stan A.I.: Stan A.I. is the Toronto-based company behind STAN, a digital residential property assistant powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Launched in 2019 by former property management executives, STAN uses AI to help property managers communicate with condominium residents via text message.