How it Works

A. Program Overview
B. Program Objectives
C. How Funding Works
D. Eligibility
E. Evaluation and Assessment
F. Reporting Requirements
G. How to Apply
I. Downloads

A. Program Overview

Across the Province there are 25 Campus-Linked Accelerators and On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (CLAs/OCEAs) involving 44 academic institutions. Together with the Regional Innovation Centres (RICs), these organizations provide resources, business advice and mentorship; connections to potential customers, partners, and investors; and entrepreneurship education. The start-up companies, which are incubated at and actively engaged with the CLA/OCEA and RIC, leverage these resources and networks to help them assess and identify first target market, product-market fit, business model development, as well as peer-to-peer support. By offering these types of support, the CLAs/OCEAs and RICs not only help create economic impact to Ontario’s economy, but foster entrepreneurship as a career option.

Many of the start-ups emerging from CLAs/OCEAs and RICs are looking to global markets very early, and for several their first entry market will not be Canada. Accessing emerging markets, such as South America, India, and China are particularly challenging due to significant differences in cultures and business environment, and in some cases language barriers. These “born global” start-ups need help to overcome these common barriers to doing business abroad, such as accessing business networks, and understanding differences in the local culture and political system.

Many campus-linked incubators/accelerators, similar to Ontario’s CLAs, OCEAs and RICs, exist globally and share a common goal of helping young entrepreneurs create successful new businesses. OCE is developing relationships with campus-linked incubators/accelerators from around the world that are interested in helping Ontario-based youth-led start-ups gain access to global markets. These global partners can provide access to services similar to what they would receive from their CLA, OCEA or RIC; open doors to potential customers, partners or investors; and help Ontario start-ups acclimatize to the local business and cultural environment.


B. Program Objectives

The GlobalStart Voucher Program aims to help Ontario-based youth-led start-ups:

  • Immerse themselves in a selected global market outside of Canada and U.S. through a three to six month placement with a host incubator/accelerator;
  • Develop strong business relationships that are only possible through sustained face-to-face interaction;
  • Gain first-hand knowledge of the opportunity within that market; and
  • Achieve tangible business goals in the selected global market outside of Canada and U.S., such as:
    • Sales,
    • Investment, and
    • Strategic partnerships.


C. How Funding Works

Youth-led start-ups may receive up to $15,000 in OCE cash with a 1:1 match from the start-up.  The GlobalStart Voucher Program is a nomination-based program. CLAs/OCEAs and RICs will be asked to provide a ranked list of nominees for this program. The nominations will be evaluated and OCE will invite successful nominees to submit an application for funding. Preference will be given to start-ups (to be called nominees from this point forward) that demonstrate a reasonable chance of achieving sales, investment, or a strategic partnership as a result of receiving the Voucher. Up to 42 nominees will be selected for placement with a global incubator/accelerator for between three and six months each fiscal year. 

Flow of Funds:

  • OCE will support 50 per cent of the eligible cost of a global placement to a maximum of $15,000
  • Upon execution of the funding agreement, receipt of a company’s electronic fund transfer (EFT) information and copy of applicant(s) valid travel documents (passport and applicable visa), OCE will release a payment equal to the award amount minus a $5,000 holdback. The holdback will be released upon completion of the final report and attestation on the use of funds by the applicant(s).

Costs for accommodation and meal expenses must be calculated at or lower than the per diem rates as stated in the Ontario Public Service Travel, Meals and Hospitality Directive. The International and Canada/U.S. rates can be reviewed online.


D. Eligibility

Nominee must identify the host incubator/accelerator before application submission to OCE.

Nominee Start-up Eligibility:

  • Incorporated Ontario-based technology start-up companies, less than three years old that are founded by young entrepreneurs from the age of 18 to 29
  • Nominee must hold equity and a key position in the company that is appropriate to conduct the proposed activities
  • The nominee must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
  • Companies must be based at and actively engaged with an OCE-supported Campus-Linked Accelerator (CLA) or On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA), or Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) for at least four months
  • Before an application can be initiated, a start-up must be nominated by a Campus-Linked Accelerator (CLA), On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) or a Regional Innovation Centre (RIC). The nomination template can be downloaded.
  • *1:1 matching cash contributions must come from a non-provincial governmental source (*Preference will be given to applications where the source of matching contributions is a third party investor or from customer sales
  • When applying for a GlobalStart Voucher, the start-up must be pre-recurring revenue and pre-significant non-government investment. “Significant investment” is defined as arm’s length, third-party, non-government investment of over $500,000 and excludes funds from founder(s), family and friends
  • Program is intended for youth-led start-up company that are at the “Customer Validation” or “Customer Creation” stage, based on the Lean Start-up Model
  • Companies that are past recipients of SmartStart Seed Fund or Market Readiness Customer Creation awards are eligible to apply to this Program. OCE and company’s matching cash allocated to SmartStart Seed Fund or Market Readiness Customer Creation projects are not eligible as matching cash to this Program
  • Companies who have completed projects for the Market Readiness Company Building program are not eligible
  • Nominee(s) must enter into a contribution agreement with OCE, a document outlining the Terms and Conditions of the placement, and be subject to project and metrics reporting at least annually 
  • Nominee(s) must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE
  • Only one GlobalStart Voucher award will be awarded for the lifetime of the company

Host global incubator/accelerator:

  • The host global incubator/accelerator must have the capacity to host the Ontario start-up company by providing the following:
    • Access to their resources and services (such as use of their facilities including, but not limited to, desk space, meeting room, equipment, prototyping facility)
    • Participate in their programs and events (entrepreneurship training courses/workshops, networking events they host), and/or
    • Tap into their network of advisors, mentors, potential leads to customers, investors and partners.
  • View a list of cities and countries for OCE’s GlobalStart Network, where OCE has relationships with incubators/accelerators in those countries

Focus on Global Market outside of United States and Canada: 

The GlobalStart program is intended to support youth-led start-ups to access international markets that are difficult to break into without significant connections and/or knowledge of the market, or due to language and cultural barriers. Preference will be given to applicants where their target market is a global market outside of Canada and U.S.A.

Guidelines for Recipient(s):

  • Global Voucher recipients(s) must be based at the global host incubator/accelerator over the duration of the Voucher (i.e., offered desk space at the host incubator/accelerator at the minimum)
  • OCE has developed relationships with a number of campus-linked incubators/accelerators in key global markets that are interested in hosting Ontario-based youth-led start-ups.See GlobalStart Partnership for a list of OCE's current partners and their program offerings. 
  • Recipient(s) are not required to select a global host incubator/accelerator from OCE’s list of relationships
  • If the recipient(s) wish to select a host incubator/accelerator that is not from OCE’s list of relationships, prior approval must be granted by OCE before submitting the application. Please contact Laura Yu at for more information
  • Visa and travel documents are the responsibility of applicant(s) to have them ready at time of award. Please ensure you have valid travel documents for the duration of the Voucher and a visa that will allow you to do business in the host country. OCE will hold the award for up to three months from the date of the award notification to allow the applicant time to obtain necessary documentations for the Voucher. OCE reserves the right to retract the award after this time expires
  • Prior to the global placement, applicants are advised to work with their CLA/OCEA or RIC and global host to prepare as much as possible. This may include global market landscape assessment, required product modifications, competitor analysis, introductions to potential customers/investors/partners, understanding of local business culture and political system, etc.
  • OCE is not liable and takes no responsibility for any outcomes for the applicant(s) and their company as a result of the Voucher. Please review the Terms and Conditions for applying
  • Recipient(s) must notify OCE immediately if they wish to make any changes to their application after the Voucher starts. This includes withdrawing from the Voucher program and/or changing the host incubator/accelerator, or changing the selected global market (i.e., different continent)

GlobalStart is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible projects are assessed on their merit and undergo a review process whereby the proposals are assessed against program objectives and assessment criteria.

Eligible activities under this program:

  • Travel and accommodation expenses from Ontario to selected destination and return
  • Programs and services offered by host incubator/accelerator, including access to space, advisory or mentorship services, educational or training programs for entrepreneurship development, etc.
  • Networking events, relevant tradeshows and/or conferences that will generate customer and or partnership leads for the company
  • Customer, investor and partnership development activities that can lead to potential customer acquisition and/or generation of revenue or investment
  • Operational and salary expenses as a result of proposed GlobalStart activities. This excludes current operational and salary expenses (including salaries for existing employees and co-founders) for activities in Ontario 
  • Voucher recipients must retain all receipts as proof of eligible use of funds in the case of an audit


E. Evaluation and Assessment

The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications:

  • The application proposal plan must describe how they will achieve sales, investment and/or strategic partnership within the proposed timeframe.
  • Strong market evidence and/or rationale to support the appropriateness of the selected global market
  • Engagement with and suitability of selected global host incubator/accelerator, including the extent to which the resources and programs available are relevant to support the milestones proposed to be achieved on the Voucher
  • Likelihood of the applicant to achieve the proposed milestones and conduct business in the selected global market
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have demonstrated market traction through early sales (especially in the selected global market) and/or arm’s length investment
  • NOTE: Applications that have selected OCE partners as hosts will be jointly reviewed by OCE and OCE’s partners, based on the above evaluation criteria


F. Reporting Requirements

Final Reports and Attestation:

  1. Forty-five days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Applicant/Company will receive a notification of the project end date from OCE’s AccessOCE system, with a link to the Final Project Report should the Applicant or Company wish to begin entering data. If an extension is required, it must be requested from the Project Administration Team (
  2. On the scheduled global placement completion date, the Start-up will receive notification and a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials and metrics) from OCE’s AccessOCE system. Both the Start-up reports must be received and approved by OCE within 30 days of project completion
  3. The host incubator/accelerator will be required to complete a host survey to provide feedback on the resources they provided to the start-up and their experience working with the start-up to help us improve the program
  4. All required final reports to be completed by the start-up and host incubator/accelerator must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order to release the holdback and maintain good financial standing with OCE

Project Metrics:

  1. If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant/Company will be required to complete an annual Metrics survey each April, for the part of the project that has been completed since the previous March 31. This annual report is mandatory for OCE to fulfil its contract with the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science. Required metrics reports from all partners must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Retrospective Survey:

  1. Two years after project completion, the Company will be sent a link to complete a retrospective survey to collect data on commercial outcomes from the project. This information is required by OCE for assessment of program impact and continuous improvement.


G. How to Apply

Timelines and Decision-making Process: 

  • OCEA/CLAs and RICs will be invited to provide a ranked list of nominees among their top youth-led start-ups that qualify for and would benefit from this program, including GlobalStart A
  • Nominees advanced by OCEA/CLAs and RICs will be shortlisted by OCE and successful nominees will be invited to submit a full application
  • There will be one application per nominee. The application will be initiated to shortlisted nominees through AccessOCE, OCE’s online application portal
  • It is the responsibility of nominees who move forward to the application stage to secure a letter of confirmation from the host incubator/accelerator. The letter should include the host organization name, contact person name and title, as well as information on access to the resources, services, advisory/mentorship that the applicant will have for the duration of the GlobalStart project

GlobalStart Partners

  • Invited applicants can select an OCE partner organization listed below, and they will agree to participate in their program offering should their applications be successfully funded

Asia Partners

Hong Kong
Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Logo

Cyberport Logo

Invest HK Logo

Carleton University Canada-India Centre of Excellence Logo

Call for Nomination: 

Nominations to all eligible global markets will be accepted on a rolling basis. OCE will invite shortlisted nominees to submit full applications through AccessOCE. Applications will be reviewed in two rounds as per the timelines below.

Host Incubator/Accelerator must be identified during the application stage.

Application Submission Deadlines:

Round 1:

CLAs/OCEAs and RICs submit their list of nominees to OCE, using the form provided

August 26, 2016

Shortlist of nominees invited to submit an application

September 20, 2016

Application submission deadline

October 20, 2016

Applicants notified of funding decision

November 2016

Successful applicants complete funding agreements and prepare for global placement

November 2016

Travel Timeframe December 2016 - May 2017 
Round 2: 

Deadline for CLAs/OCEAs and RICs to submit nominees to OCE, using the form provided, to be considered for Round 2 review

January 6, 2017

Application submission deadline for shortlisted nominees

January 16,2017

Applicants notified of funding decision

February 2017
Round 3:

Deadline for CLAs/OCEAs and RICs to submit nominees to OCE, using the form provided, to be considered for Round 3 review

February 20, 2017

Application submission deadline for shortlisted nominees

March 8, 2017

Applicants notified of funding decision

March 2017



Please review the GlobalStart FAQ.


I. Downloads

For more information on the GlobalStart Voucher Program, please contact:

Laura Yu
Business Development Manager, Academic Entrepreneurship
(416) 861-1092 x1015

For inquiries specifically related to eligibility, contracting and funding disbursements, please contact:

Natalia Lobo
Program Associate
(416) 861-1092 x1061