The Government of Ontario has made youth entrepreneurship a priority over the past couple of years and has even created the Youth Jobs Strategy as a way to encourage young Ontarians, particularly students, to consider starting their own business right out of school and help with developing prototype products.
One of the programs supporting the strategy is Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE’s) SmartStart Seed Fund.
The fund is an exciting new opportunity for Ontario’s next generation of entrepreneurs to access much-needed funding to take their companies to the next level and with developing prototype products. Open to young entrepreneurs from the ages of 18 to 29 and those involved in non-youth led-start-ups from the age of 30 and older, the program provides both seed financing and financing for entrepreneurship skills training to help recipients grow their companies and make them investment and customer ready.
SmartStart is co-funded by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), and the Government of Ontario and provides a new entrepreneur with the financial resources to focus on the validating the product or service that is central to their business.
SmartStart is supporting the next generation of technology and innovation-focused entrepreneurs in developing prototype products, sourcing first customers and solving real business needs while creating jobs and growing Ontario’s economy…all at a quicker pace than might otherwise be possible.
Companies are also getting access to regional business and investment networks and resources that can help them navigate complex and often turbulent business waters.
In two years, the fund has supported more than 100 youth-led companies at a critical early stage in their development.
Take a look at a few success story videos from companies who have participated in the OCE SmartStart program. Leaders of some of the province’s emerging young companies discuss their businesses, OCE’s support and advice for future entrepreneurs.
Watch now on OCE’s YouTube channel
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!