TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/19/13 -- Ontario Centres of Excellence's SmartStart program has been awarded an additional $500,000 by the Federal Government to continue to provide mentorship and seed funding to new ventures by Ontario's next generation entrepreneurs.
"The SmartStart program has been a tremendous success for us," says OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. "This additional funding will ensure we can continue to support entrepreneurs in the science and engineering fields."
Launched in January, 2012 as a pilot program, SmartStart supports student or recent graduate-led start-ups with up to $30,000 in seed funding to be matched by at least one other private investor. Entrepreneurs at this stage benefit enormously from this funding and the expertise and time provided by OCE and its partners through a business skills boot camp. They are also provided with introductions and connections to a vast array of networks, potential partners and customers.
SmartStart has already helped 15 companies grow, just in the past year. The new funding announced today will allow OCE to support 15 more - five of those through a partnership with Extreme Startups.
The additional SmartStart funding is part of the Scientists and Engineers in Business initiative which improves the success rate of start-up businesses in Southern Ontario by developing business skills of young entrepreneurs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields and providing targeted support to help them bring innovative ideas and products to market. It was announced by Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), at this week's Conference Board of Canada's Business Innovation Summit.
"Our Government understands that small businesses and entrepreneurs play a crucial role in job creation and Canada's competitiveness," said Minister Goodyear. "This investment will boost business innovation, skills and product development in the Toronto area, creating new full-time jobs and greater economic diversity within the region."
In addition to funding for SmartStart, several OCE-supported companies are receiving money to grow their business and create jobs:
-- CellAegis Devices received $750,000 to complete trials to commercialize its automatic Remote Ischemic (autoRIC) medical device which strengthens hearts, improving recovery time and reducing treatment costs.-- Rna Diagnostics received $462,500 to complete research for its diagnostic test which assesses the efficacy of chemotherapy for individual breast cancer patients undergoing treatment.-- TopHatMonocle Corp. received $750,000 to develop software enhancements for its Classroom Response System, which connects teachers with students electronically.-- Viafoura received $980,000 to complete development of its software platform that maximizes audience interactions on digital publishers' web sites.-- Vive Crop Protection Inc. received $728,000 to develop two new formulas for its proprietary technology that avoids the over spraying of crops, by using formulations that are bio-inert or biodegradable.-- Xagenic received $990,000 to accelerate design and development of its clinical diagnostic testing system which helps medical professionals more accurately diagnose infections during a patient's initial clinical visit.
About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (www.oce-ontario.org)
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, Ontario Centres of Excellence invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs. For more information visit www.oneinnovation.ca.
Media contact: Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc.
Manager, Media Relations
416-861-1092 x 1022