Helping startups flourish

AC JumpStart provides $30,000 to 17 companies for projects and research

Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

17 startup companies will be receiving funding from the Accelerator Centre’s new $8-million funding program, AC JumpStart.

The program is being run in conjunction with the Federal Economic Development Agency and partners Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College.

Each company will receive $30,000 which will allow them to start new projects and do additional research.

According to Andrew Jackson, vice president of client services at the Accelerator Centre, the overall goal of the program consists of two parts: to give startups a “kickstart” financially and to create jobs at these companies.

“Certainly finances are generally one of the top reasons that either stall progress in a new startup company or at least cause barriers to their advancement,” said Jackson.

Jackson elaborated by saying the company hopes to increase the awareness of available funding for startups in the community, and through this awareness people will be inspired to make a decision on starting their company knowing that there is funding available in the region.

“If a person or a company sees that this program has started this year then perhaps in 12 or 24 months they make that decision to start a company knowing that there is funding available,” he said.

Some of the companies joining the first cohort are Meal in a Jar, NanoQuan Inc., and KTS Global, among others.

AC JumpStart will run for the next four years, introducing a new cohort annually. In total, AC JumpStart has $8 million to provide to upwards of 180 companies. Conestoga College, WLU and UW were all given a portion of the $8 million to distribute. For the first cohort, WLU produced two companies, Conestoga College produced one and UW produced five companies.

Jackson said through the partnership, a recent graduate from UW, for example, would be able to apply through the UW stream and the funding would come from the AC JumpStart UW funding.

“Mostly [the companies] will be from the Waterloo region, but not necessarily restricted to that area,” he continued.

AC JumpStart was officially announced in January with the first out of three cohorts beginning the program back in February.

The funding will be delivered to each of the 17 companies throughout a 12-month period and each company will be expected to match the funding spending a total of $60,000. In addition, the Accelerator Centre will provide $10,000 of services covered by their mentorship.

“As far as the region goes, the more reputation we can gain for being startup friendly and helping bring down barriers … that will only help enhance our reputation throughout Canada and perhaps with the government allowing us to fund more projects down the road,” Jackson said.

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