Waterloo's Accelerator Centre receives $8 million for new incubator program
The Accelerator Centre in Waterloo is receiving $8 million in funding over four years from a federal government program to start its new incubator, the AC JumpStart program, which plans on assisting up to 180 technology startups from 2015 to the end of 2018.
"We had a great today," said Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre.
The funding comes out of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and was announced on Thursday by Conservative MPs Gary Goodyear of Cambridge-North Dumfries and Peter Braid of Kitchener-Waterloo.
Goodyear, who’s also the minister of state for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, said the Accelerator Centre received the funding because of the success of the pilot program in 2012 to 2013.
"In the first pilot project we gave the Accelerator less than a million dollars and they were able to help 30 entrepreneurs commercialize products, which ended up creating 200 jobs. So that’s some serious bang for the dollar," said Goodyear.
The year-long AC Jumpstart program provides startups with $30,000 in seed capital, along with mentorship in "finance, sales, marketing, human resources, technology and product development," the Accelerator said in a news release.
Salvini said the program is ear-marked for startups in southern Ontario and will be actively recruiting talent from the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College.
"We tend to look at the 40 most promising companies in town, and those that really have the opportunity to become the next significant industry, next big employer within our region," said Salvini.
Deep Trekker, an Ayr-based company that specializes in underwater robotics, participated in the pilot, receiving $25,000 in seed money, part of which was used to attend a U.S. showcase called Underwater Intervention.
"Out of that show, we ended up breaking into a number of different markets like, commercial diving, infrastructure, some interest from oil and gas. So really proved our product as ready to go, and from that, made quite a few sales from the show itself," said Sam Macdonald, president of Deep Trekker.
"With the JumpStart funding, what is really important about it is that it is available to early stage companies, whereas other funding such as private equity or some of the other government programs, you know they want you to be more established," he added.