A. Program Overview
B. Program Objectives
D. How Funding Works
E. How to Apply
G. Evaluation and Assessment
H. Reporting Requirements
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 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/OCEAs and RICs, 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 for Ontario’s economy, but foster entrepreneurship as a career option.
Many of the start-ups emerging from CLAs/OCEAs and RICs are looking to access 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 the nuances of 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 similar services 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 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 the U.S.A, such as:
- Investment, and
- Strategic partnerships
While preference is given to companies travelling to international markets outside of the U.S.A, travel to the U.S.A may be considered on a case-by-case basis where it will have significant impact on the company.
Start-up Company (Applicant) Eligibility:
Only one GlobalStart Voucher will be awarded for the lifetime of the company.
- The start-up must be:
- An incorporated Ontario-based technology start-up company founded by a young entrepreneur between the ages of 18 and 29. The applicant from the company must hold equity and a key position in the company that is appropriate to conduct the proposed activities and must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
- 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
- Nominated by a Campus-Linked Accelerator (CLA), On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) or a Regional Innovation Centre (RIC), as a potential GlobalStart applicant that is ready to access the global market and that will benefit from this program.
- Within the “Customer Validation”, “Customer Creation”, or Customer Building Stage of the Lean Start-Up model.
- Pre-recurring revenue and pre-significant non-government investment. “Significant investment” is defined as arm’s length, third-party, non-government investment of over $1 million and excludes funds from founder(s), family and friends
- Companies that have completed projects for the Market Readiness Company Building program are not eligible
- Willing to 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
- In good financial and reporting standing with OCE
- Able to identify the host incubator/accelerator before application submission to OCE.
- Companies that are past recipients of SmartStart Seed Fund or Market Readiness Customer Creation awards are eligible to apply to this Program. OCE and the company’s matching cash allocated to SmartStart Seed Fund or Market Readiness Customer Creation projects are not eligible as matching cash to this Program.
Host Global Incubator/Accelerator Eligibility:
- 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)
- Participation in their programs and events (e.g. entrepreneurship training courses/workshops, networking events they host), and/or
- Ability to 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
- On a case-by-case basis, OCE may consider applications where identified mentors or economic development agencies will serve the role of the host.
Focus on Global Market outside of Canada and the United States
The GlobalStart program is intended to support youth-led start-ups in accessing 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 the U.S.A. On a case-by-case basis, travel to the USA may be considered where it will have significant impact on the company.
Guidelines for Recipient(s):
- GlobalStart 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 a 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 Partners 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 Martin Croteau at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
- Visa and travel documents are the responsibility of applicant(s) to have them ready at the time of the 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 of 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 is approved. This includes withdrawing from the Voucher program and/or changing the host incubator/accelerator, or changing the selected global market (i.e., different continent)
Eligible activities under this program:
The Global Start program supports travel, accommodation and hosting expenses only, which may include:
- Travel, meals 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
- Voucher recipients must retain all receipts as proof of eligible use of funds in the case of an audit
D. How Funding Works
Flow of Funds:
- 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).
E. How to Apply
The GlobalStart Voucher Program is a nomination-based program, where CLAs/OCEAs and RICs identify actively engaged youth-led start-ups, that are ready to gain access to global markets.
Application is a two-step process:
1. Nomination by CLA/OCEA/RIC
CLAs/OCEAS and RICs should send a nomination form
for their nominated companies (Applicants) to email@example.com
- The nomination form must specify whether a host in the target market has been identified. OCE may provide assistance to identify a host if required.
- This nomination questionnaire must be completed by the mentor/advisor from a CLA, OCEA or RIC who has been working with the startup
- Nomination forms must be signed by a signing officer of the CLA/OCEA or RIC.
2. Application by Start-up Company
Following receipt of the nomination, OCE will initiate, within three business days, an application in its online application system, AccessOCE, for eligible start-ups (Applicants) with identified hosts. Nominated start-ups that do not have a host may be referred to an OCE Business Development Manager for assistance prior to initiating of an application.
- Applications can only be submitted through AccessOCE.
- Upon receiving a user name and password, the Applicant must log in to AccessOCE, complete the required fields and attach all required supporting documentation (mentioned below).
- The Applicant should work closely with their nominating OCEA/CLA/RIC, while completing their online application.
- Upon submission, all applications will be reviewed by OCE for program eligibility and suitability.
- Applicants will be notified of the funding decision by OCE within four weeks of application submission.
Please note that in order to submit an application to the program you will need the following documentation:
- Business number - please ensure your Business number is searchable under this link. If it is not searchable, please enclose a copy of your incorporation certificate as a Support Document.
- 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 the resources and advisory/mentorship or other services that the applicant will have for the duration of the GlobalStart project.
The application process for this program is open and nominations can be submitted any time.
G. Evaluation and Assessment
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.
The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications:
- Evidence of how the company will achieve sales, investment and/or strategic partnerships within the proposed timeframe as a result of receiving the Voucher.
- Strong market evidence and/or rationale to support the appropriateness of the selected global market
- Engagement with and suitability of the 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 during the Voucher
- Likelihood of the applicant achieving the proposed milestones and conducting 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
H. Reporting Requirements
Final Reports and Attestation:
- Forty-five days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Applicant 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 wish to begin entering data. If an extension to complete the project is required, the Applicant must request it prior to the scheduled project completion date, using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file. A maximum extension of three months will be allowable.
- On the scheduled global placement completion date, the Applicant will receive notification and a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials and metrics) from OCE’s AccessOCE system.
- 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.
- All required final reports to be completed by the Applicant 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.
- If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant 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.
- Two years after project completion, the Applicant 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 for continuous improvement.
Please review the GlobalStart FAQ.
For more information on the GlobalStart Voucher Program, please contact:
Martin Croteau, MSc, MBA
Director, Academic Entrepreneurship
Ontario Centres of Excellence
(416) 861-1092 x1017 | Cell: (416) 892 9098
For inquiries specifically related to eligibility, contracting and funding disbursements, please contact:
(416) 861-1092 x1061