I was invited to attend The Golden Triangle Angelnet meeting of investors in Kitchener Waterloo a few months ago, and the experience left me with some information I want to share with you. I was totally blown away with the level of sophistication and organization these folks have established in the area… all of which is designed to support innovation and entrepreneurship.
Building on the strength of the local business community and in collaboration with the 5 post secondary educational intuitions, these folks mentor, coach and finance entrepreneurial innovation start-ups companies with an idea of product and/or service. This particular group is well organized led by local businesses and people and sponsored by groups like Miller Thompson, TD Bank and KPMG. They also work closely with other Ontario angle investors. (I want to thank Frank for the invitation).
An interesting coincidence was that same week I attended the event from the CYBF (Canadian Youth Business Foundation where I volunteer as a business mentor) and I was pleased to see that some of the people that had attended Kitchener/Waterloo event were also here in Toronto with distinguished group of that included the Federal Minister Maxime Bernier and top business leaders like Paul Godfrey. Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures was there as an example of a past CYBF award winner.
Interesting enough was that one of the startup firms that was being promoted in Waterloo were also being recognized here in Toronto (the firm provides a medical innovation for hip replacements) as an award winner with this see CYBF chapter. It seems this firm had graduated from needing CYBF to being able to qualify some larger amount of investor support.
My point here is that there is an established grassroots support for innovation and entrepreneurship in our region. Below is my start of a list of some of the entrepreneur support resources that are available out there. Additionally, I want to enroll this community to help me in building on this list.
Each one of the groups on this list has a particular and unique focus. Please feel free to provide your comments to me. This list is in no particular order.
Golden Triangle Angelnet (Kitchener/Waterloo)
Canadian Youth Business Foundation has 8 or more different programs and provides start up capital and mentorship for young entrepreneurs across Canada (defined as between 18 – 39 years old).
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the development of Ontario’s economy by helping create new jobs, products, services, technologies and businesses. In partnership with industry and academia, OCE co-invests to commercialize innovation originating in the province’s colleges, universities and research hospitals. Based on my conversations with the group, OCE has a focus on supporting start-ups in the area of Engineering, Math and Technology.
Canadian Innovation Centre
The Canadian Innovation Centre (CIC) is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping innovators; inventors and entrepreneurs transform their ideas into market successes. Since it’s founding over 35 years ago, the Centre has provided its expertise to over 20,000 innovators and their companies.
List of Canadian Angle Network