Waterloo, Ontario-based innovation centre Communitech is accepting applications until midnight EST on July 29 for its Fierce Founders Accelerator, a six-month program offering seed funding, residency at the Communitech Hub, mentorship, support from both Communitech executives and its partners, including Google, Deloitte and TD.
Communitech’s facility hosts more than 1,000 of Canada’s most innovative technology companies, from early-stage to to mid-size to global corporations.
“We offer programming for every step of a startup’s life, from idea and implementation, to scaling up and securing sales,” said Communitech’s Women in Tech program manager Danielle Graham. “Through Fierce Founders, women entrepreneurs have the opportunity to turn their business ideas into a reality with the bootcamp, and then accelerate it into a scalable business.”
Fierce Founders, which operates on $880,000 in funding from FedDev Ontario, will over a span of two years select about 20 high-potential companies to participate in the accelerator, which are ideally in a late validation, early sales stage and have at least one female co-founder or C-suite executive.
Applicant teams, aside from having at least one female co-founder or C-suite executive, should also have some initial funding of up to $30,000 which Communitech will match without taking any equity, and should also have a minimum viable product that solves a significant problem with the potential to impact millions of lives.
The first cohort consisting of between 5-7 startups will begin September 2016, and will also include the top company from the Fierce Founders Bootcamp, the final pitch session for which will be held on Aug. 25, 2016.
Selected companies will receive up to $30,000 in matching funding, a six-month residency at the Communitech Hub, and mentoring and business support from Communitech’s Executives in Residence team.
As important as the money and other perks might be, Communitech will help teams build and execute a business plan, assist with market research, offer business training from Communitech’s resident executives, and provide connections to investors, advisors, and service providers.
“Research shows, and we’ve seen first-hand, that companies with diverse teams perform better,” said Iain Klugman, president and CEO, Communitech. “However, we have not seen the number of female entrepreneurs coming through Communitech that we should. Research also shows that women-led businesses have a harder time accessing venture capital. We’re launching this program to address both those issues.”
Future Fierce Founders intakes and program start times will be announced every six months.