London, Ontario’s MVP Lab officially opened its doors on Friday, creating a new workspace for entrepreneurs to collaborate, at no cost, with freelance designers and developers to develop their idea into a minimum viable product. Those prototypes can then be used to pitch investors.
The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) Lab is located in the Convergence Centre on Collip Circle in Western Discovery Park. It’s open to entrepreneurs specializing in digital technology, life sciences, manufacturing and cleantech.
“Moving from the idea stage to having a working prototype is a crucial step for any entrepreneur,” said Marilyn Sinclair, President and CEO, TechAlliance. “The MVP Lab is going to make that leap possible for many new London businesses.”
Eligibility to the MVP Lab is restricted to tech companies with annual revenues under $100,000. Qualifying candidates receive 10 hours of labour from designers and developers who can help with tasks such as developing website wireframes, app development and industrial design.
The program offers mentoring from established entrepreneurs, educational workshops, access to private and public fundraising, access to tools and materials (including a 3D printer), and general networking with the local entrepreneurial community. Entrepreneurs will also be able to rent workspaces and meeting rooms.
“I’m delighted that our government is supporting this innovative project that will help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into a business,” said Deb Matthews, MPP for London North Centre. “This is great news for London. This lab will help people develop their ideas so that they can pursue their passion, start a successful business and help boost our local economy.”
Supported by a $157,200 grant over the next three years from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and organized by TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario and Western Research Parks, the program seems tailor made to help current students of Western University transition from post-graduate life into the real world of product development.