Get Funded: Early Stage Government Programs for Your Startup

Do you have questions about securing capital for your business? Curious about what types of funds are available for your startup? Altitude Accelerator’s upcoming Growing Your Business Seminar is happening on February 9th, where experts will guide the audience towards finding the right government funding programs for their business and help entrepreneurs create successful, outstanding applications.

Speakers at this event include: Teri Kirk, Founder and CEO at Funding Portal, Dr. Navneet Kaur, Business Development Manager at OCE, Trish Barrow, Innovation Advisor at NRC-Concierge and Jennifer Smith, Applications & Intake Coordinator at SDTC.

To help you figure out the kinds of funding programs available for early-stage startups, we reached out to some of Altitude Accelerator’s tech-focused entrepreneurs to ask about their experience with various government programs:

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

OCE drives the development of Ontario’s economy by helping create new jobs, products, services, technologies and businesses.

OCE focuses on funding sectors such as energy and environment (including water) in addition to advanced manufacturing, advanced health technologies, communications technologies and digital media. OCE also aims to help early-stage businesses through investments as well as innovations coming from Ontario’s publicly funded colleges, universities or research hospitals. Altitude Accelerator client Amir Azhari, President of AOMS Technologies, describes the support he received from OCE.

“Accessing affordable resources for product and customer development is important for early stage companies. This challenge becomes more critical for hardware based startups who are at the proof-of-concept level and are not attractive to investors,” explains Amir. “OCE SmartStart is a unique program in Canada to assist entrepreneurs to transfer ideas into viable business opportunities through financial support, business mentorship, and professional advisory services. OCE SmartStart program provided the necessary resources for AOMS to secure the first sales and initiate transitioning from customer discovery to customer validation stage. Piece of advice: identify your market, define your value proposition, and build a realistic plan for your market entry strategy.”

AOMS’s all-in-one fibre optic sensors harness the power of modulated optical waves to sense physical changes in pressure, temperature, and chemical parameters of the environment they are placed in. AOMS recently closed a round of Seed Financing with GreenSky Capital Inc..

“OCE SmartStart helped AOMS to develop a sustainable business model which led to $1M follow-on private equity investment,” adds Amir. “We would like to thank our OCE business development manager, Dr. Ken Schultz, for his incredible support over the past years and are looking forward to continuing relationship with OCE.”

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)

IRAP’s program aims to help firms develop their technologies and successfully commercialize them in a global marketplace through advisory services, funding, networking and youth employment programs.

“IRAP was instrumental in helping [AXIS] build our engineer team by essentially funding 6 months of runway per team member,” reveals Altitude Accelerator client Trung Pham, Co-Founder and CEO of AXIS. “This greatly reduced our operating risks and allowed us to meet significant milestones that would eventually lead to investments from Angels and private investors. Advice: Start early and be patient!”

AXIS’ product, Gear, is an innovative consumer device that motorizes and automates shades, blinds, and shutters. AXIS was awarded the Motorized Product of the Year at the TechHome Mark of Excellence Awards at CES 2017.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)

SDTC funds Canadian cleantech projects and guides companies towards revealing their technologies into the market.

“SDTC has been an important part of NextGrid’s success,” says Altitude Accelerator client Brent MacKinnon, CEO of NextGrid. “We consider SDTC a strategic partner and treat them as such. Entrepreneurs can benefit from a relationship with SDTC by treating them like they would any investor. Investors want you to have a clearly defined value proposition for your product. If you already have sales, this is a huge plus because it means someone has already validated your product and you have revenue! They also want to see that you have a good team around you and that you have thought through the big issues like market size, production costs, and competition.”

NextGrid’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems produce energy and heat simultaneously from one source and use steam to enter turbines to generate electricity – they can achieve energy savings of up to 40% or more compared to using separate machines for electricity and heating.


Want to be a success story at Altitude Accelerator? You could be! Register now for our February Funding Growing Your Business seminar and learn how you could secure your next grant. Don’t forget to become a Altitude Accelerator client today and gain access to all the professional business advice and resources we offer!

Learn about programs like BCIP, Futurpreneur, IRAP, SDTC, early stage OCE programs and general government funding environment’s!

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