Incubators: The Guide To Starting A Business In Ontario
Startup incubators begin earlier than accelerators, sometimes when the business is just an idea. They are usually focused on helping entrepreneurs take their idea to market. Validating the problem, find the right buyers, marketing, sales and financial training are all part of the incubator experience. With mentoring, connections, training, space, and sometimes money. The incubators listed here are traditional and non traditional and you will have to determine which ones are right for you.
Starting up in Ontario, if you are a small business, or a high growth startup TorontoStarts has you covered with The Guide to Starting A Business in Ontario A Resource Guide For Entrepreneurs, StartUPS, and ScaleUPS Ecosystem. From small business idea, to finding small business grants and loans, or startup angel investors or Venture Capital investors.
TorontoStarts is over 22,000 active entrepreneurs in the Greater Toronto Area strong. With over 120,000 followers on social and having hosted over 700 events we know the Toronto startups, entrepreneurs, and small business and what it takes to succeed and grow. We continue to put together the resources you need to connect, succeed and grow in Toronto
We are JLABS - The Premier Life Science Incubator empowering and enabling innovators to deliver life-enhancing health and wellness solutions.
Startup Boost Toronto
Startup Boost Toronto. Our ethos is to lead pre-seed stage startups towards Accelerators, Investment, and/or Revenue (AIR)
Boosting startup success in Toronto with no fee charged and no equity taken!
Startup Boost Toronto is part of a global tech startup pre accelerator program aimed at working with great early stage entrepreneurs to prepare them for accelerator programs, seed investment and revenue through a six week part time program.
The Hub is U of T Scarborough’s startup incubator. We help students and recent alumni from all disciplines launch successful business ideas. Located at Highland Hall, we provide our resident entrepreneurs with coaching, workshops, work space, and (where possible) seed capital to get started.
In the past five years, we have helped create more than 150 emerging startups. Of those, roughly half remain active today, a third have incorporated, and five percent have gone on to receive major funding. The combined valuation of our top five companies alone exceeds $32 million.
The Accelerator Centre is a technology incubator head quartered in Waterloo.
World-Class Programming and Mentorship
The Accelerator Centre offers a high-intensity, milestone driven program that will help you build a business that thrives. Our globally recognized, four phase program, The Accelerator Program®, gives your company the highest chance of long-term success. The program was developed based on our proven mentorship model and best practices from over a decade of successfully supporting technology startups.
Community Innovation Lab
Non-profit in Durham region. Focuses on addressing social and economical gaps in communities.
Community Innovation Lab (iLab) is a not-for-profit organization based in Durham Region. Together, Community Innovation Lab, it’s programming, and its co-working space (the Co-iLab Hub) represent a central access point for all entrepreneurs to collaborate, convene, and co-create solutions to gaps in social and industry areas.
Our accelerators are designed to help entrepreneurs grow their ventures at any stage of development. iLab’s entrepreneurship programs support Durham Region’s economic development and employment goals by empowering youth, women, social enterprises, and seniors, strengthening small businesses, and promoting community economic development.
Artscape Daniels Launchpad
Offers a wide range of programs for artists.
At launchpad, the stage is set for your creativity to unfold. Fashionistas, jewellers, furniture makers and multi-disciplinary artists can create using our five creative studios. Musicians, filmmakers and multi-media artists can produce in our fully-equipped digital media lab. Use our coworking spaces to collaborate and hatch ideas. Sign up for our creative entrepreneurship learning programs, workshops and events. Whatever your vision is, launchpad can help make it happen.
Joint collaboration between Ryerson University and St. Michael's Hospital.
The Biomedical Zone helps early-stage health technology companies to validate their need-based solutions directly in the hospital setting with clinicians, business experts, and innovative thinkers. Through the Biomedical Zone, startups are able to rapidly iterate their technology, refine their business model, and demonstrate clinical value.
We are not just an incubator, but an innovation centre for clinicians, students, and entrepreneurs alike. Our first-in-class programs offer startups unprecedented access to the clinical environment, while facilitating unique experiential learning opportunities for students. Together, we are transforming the way hospitals innovate.
Biotech incubator established by Versant Ventures.
Based in the Toronto Discovery District, Blueline Bioscience partners with academic researchers across Canada to translate discoveries into early stage biotechnology companies. Versant’s Discovery Engines comprise in-house teams of scientists working in state of the art laboratory facilities to independently validate novel academic discoveries as the potential foundation for a new company.
Canada's Music Incubator
Non-profit whose mandate is to help artists and touring professionals. Canada’s Music Incubator (CMI) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing customized, hands-on creative and entrepreneurial development for emerging artists, artist managers and industry professionals. In doing so, we recognize that being accessible for ongoing mentorship is critical in helping creative entrepreneurs successfully build sustainable businesses and careers.
Helping emerging artists and bands of all genres develop their businesses, push their craft and expand their networks via comprehensive and customized professional development training in Toronto, Canada.
District Ventures Kitchen - Food Starter
Helps early-stage food processors commercialize and scale the development of their food products.
District Ventures Kitchen focuses on helping entrepreneurs activate their fresh ideas and ambitions in food. By providing a launchpad for discovery, creation and success, District Ventures Kitchen helps food entrepreneurs realize their potential.
We offer programs and services that food entrepreneurs need. From our intensive 3-stage Food Commercialization Program to Consulting Services and Mentoring, we’re here to help you succeed!
Food Starter focuses on helping early-stage food processors commercialize and scale the development of their food products. Food Starter can increase an entrepreneur's chances of success in commercializing a food product and offers an array of programs for food entrepreneurs.
A Creator Studio for the modern creative entrepreneur. We're a Creator Studio. We produce social, digital, experiential culture at scale with leading brands and our community of photographers, filmmakers and cultural leaders.
Non-profit that provides financing, mentoring and business resources to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Futurpreneur Canada supports young entrepreneurs with up to $60,000 in financing, an expert business mentor for up to two years, and resources to help you plan, manage and grow your business.
Futurpreneur Canada has been fuelling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada’s young enterprise for two decades. We are the only national, non-proﬁt organization that provides ﬁnancing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Our internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 3,000 volunteer mentors.
Genesis: UJA's Centre for Jewish Innovation
Genesis aims to enhance Toronto's Jewish community by nurturing Jewish non-profit initiatives as well as the personal career mentoring of young adults. Genesis brings together volunteerism, mentorship, leadership, Jewish connective experiences, and philanthropy into one fully integrated engagement initiative. Our mission is to foster a culture of giving—we encourage community members to dedicate their time, passion, and expertise, in addition to philanthropic contributions. Creative cross collaboration is happening between departments within UJA, and between UJA Genesis and both funded and non-funded community organizations. We are maximizing all the resources at our disposal.
George Brown College - Digital Media and Gaming Incubator
Is part of the School of Design at George Brown College. The incubator supports the city's digital sectors by providing affordable space, business and professional services, technology and human resources.
The Digital Media and Gaming Incubator supports the city’s digital sector by providing affordable space, business and professional services and technology to start ups.
The Incubator shares space with the School of Design’s digital programs, occupying the 6th floor at 341 King St. East. The facility includes individual office spaces as well as hot desks along with the use of a boardroom and kitchen.
The Incubator is about more than just rentable space. It allows for focused and quiet work, formal and informal exchanges while also providing space that encourages exploration, discoveries and collaboration.
Google for Entrepreneurs
Six month incubator in the Google area of the Communitech Hub.
Communitech has been a proud partner of Google for Startups since 2013. We are among a global network of leading entrepreneurial organizations with a shared mission to help startups thrive across every corner of the world, bringing the best of Google’s products, connections and best practices to enable startups to build something better.
HalTech focusses on technology companies.
Through education, advisory services and strategic connections, Haltech enables start-up and scaleup technology innovators and entrepreneurs to accelerate their growth and navigate the path to profit. Haltech is a non-profit corporation supported by Ontario’s Ministry of Research, Innovation & Science, Ministry of Economic Development & Growth, and our valued Corporate Sponsors.
Artist-in-residence, incubator and training facility for emerging graduates in glass, ceramics, textiles, design and metal/jewellery.
The Craft & Design Studio is a unique Canadian career-oriented program and facility. It is an artist-in-residency, incubator and training centre that uses a self-directed learning ethos, which is open to post-graduates demonstrating a thorough and comprehensive understanding, conceptually as well as technically, in one of five areas: Textiles, Glass, Ceramics, Design or Metal/Jewellery.
We are the only residency of its kind in Canada to receive the generous support of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Arts Training Fund.
HELIX at Seneca College
Seneca College's entrepreneurship incubator.
HELIX is dedicated to developing the entrepreneurial mindset. We accomplish this by providing knowledge, mentorship, sessions, workspace, access to like-minded peer community, and experiential opportunities. HELIX focuses on two important outcomes:
The development and launch of successful, scalable and sustainable, young entrepreneur-led ventures.
Nurturing the entrepreneurial mind set to allow participants to become intrapreneurs and innovate from within companies.
The HELIX space is physically located at Seneca’s Newnham campus but it runs programs at the other Seneca campuses, as well as in the broader Toronto and York Region community. There are no fees to the programs HELIX runs and it does not take any equity from startups.
The two stage HELIX program begins with the INNOVATION Strand, which is a series of entrepreneurial workshops and sector-specific support activities. The next step is the ACCELERATION Strand, providing further opportunity for dedicated enrolment in HELIX incubation activities and mentorship
Established in July 2015 by the Faculty of Engineering & Architectural Science, iBoost Zone is a user-centric technology incubator at Ryerson University that helps startups to solve real customer problems using technology.
iBoost is a collaborative environment dedicated to educating and supporting entrepreneurs throughout their journey from incubation to commercialization. We provide startups with access to programs, advisors, mentorship, co-working space as well as funding.
We also facilitate collisions between early stage entrepreneurs, engineering students and ecosystem partners such as mentors, inventors, investors and industry experts.
Imagination Catalyst OCADU
OCAD University's hub for entrepreneurship and commercialization. The Imagination Catalyst is OCAD University’s entrepreneurship and commercialization hub. If you are looking for advice, learning opportunities or help starting and growing a business, turn to us!
OCAD University’s free, one-year business incubator program supports up to 25 startups. Join a motivated group of fellow entrepreneurs who are creating, building, designing, making and inventing innovative products, services and companies.
Indie film hub in Toronto.
FILM & ART INCUBATION
It’s a three-month intense program that gives that practical, actionable steps to developing not only films but filmmakers themselves. We don’t want to meddle in your art, but we do want filmmakers who are willing to experiment, adapt, and change.
A step by step system where we work with you on your project for three months, so you can get your shit made, and more importantly seen. Oh yea, and we help get it funded too.
Italian Chamber of Commerce
Private, not-for-profit organization whose aim is to enhance and promote business, trade and cultural relations between Canada and Italy.
We believe that a stronger relationship between the two countries will create more opportunities for investment, and that the Italian Canadian community can be the springboard for a partnership, where business and cultural exchange can drive growth. It is ICCO’s mission to provide services to the Canadian companies that want to know a creative and profitable market like Italy, and to the Italian companies that want to come to a strong, stable, and receptive market like Canada.
Centre of innovation consisting of a maker space, coworking area and interactive training and workshop facilities.
An environment and resources for collaboration, learning, creativity, and innovation
NewMakeIt is a beautiful, spacious, multi-functional coworking and makerspace shared facility in Newmarket, Ontario. As the only industrial and digital workshops, training, and coworking facility of its kind in York Region, we’re helping inventors, visionaries, and innovators across York Region, in Toronto, and throughout the Greater Toronto Area achieve their goals while changing the way people work.
Legal Innovation Zone
Ryerson University's co-working space for people and ideas that will change the status quo of Canada's legal system.
The Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ) is a global hub focused on building better legal solutions for the consumers of legal services. The LIZ helps support, foster and develop solutions and techniques to improve legal services and the justice system and was the world’s first legal tech incubator.
Ontario Centres of Excellence
Is a provincial program that offers a comprehensive program suite for all the stages of business development and career enhancement.
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) focuses on ensuring the people of Ontario reap the personal and economic benefits of leading-edge research underway at our publicly funded universities, colleges and research hospitals - research that can be transformed into technologies and services that enhance quality of life and help build a globally competitive, job-creating economy in Ontario.
Specifically, OCE supports the commercialization of academic intellectual property (IP), industry-academic collaborations and the development and adoption of emerging technologies. This includes overseeing the execution of advanced technology platforms that will equip Ontario companies to compete in a competitive global digital economy.
We also support and invest in early-stage projects where the probability of commercial success and investment return on innovation are substantial. OCE’s strong expertise in de-risking innovation helps attract private investors and other funders to new ventures, bolstering their success. We contribute as well to the development and retention of talent to ensure that industry has access to personnel with the most advanced skills and knowledge and that highly trained personnel find opportunities to apply their expertise in Ontario
Ripple Ventures - The Tank
Ripple Ventures was launched in 2018 with the belief that early-stage investments should be inclusive of ancillary services.
The Tank is our own 5,000 square foot incubator space where we work with some of our portfolio companies on a daily basis. With our operators-first approach, we knew that the only effective way to execute this was through our own office space.
Here, we’ve put together an ecosystem of support for our startups including Tank Talks, Advisor & EIR sessions, CEO Dinner Series, and on-the-fly advice. As investors, we don’t just check in with our companies every quarter, we’re working with them every day.
Provides students with an environment in which students, faculty and financial industry professionals interact.
Rotman's FinHub provides a common forum for students, faculty, startup entrepreneurs and industry to develop expertise to drive ongoing innovation in the financial sector. Our mission: to expose and instruct students in cutting edge technological and finance innovations, to develop new research insights, and to develop and exchange ideas in financial innovation.
Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship
Wilfred Laurier's hub for entrepreneurship.
Laurier’s incubator, LaunchPad, run by the Schlegel Centre, provides support, mentorship and resources to startups, both traditional enterprises and social ventures, founded by Laurier students, alumni and community members at the Waterloo and Brantford campuses.
Once you have tested your startup idea through Laurier’s innovative curriculum and co-curricular experiences, you can apply to LaunchPad, located in the Communitech Data Hub in Waterloo and the Community Innovation Hub in Brantford, to bring your idea to life.
School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario
SSEO offers a non-traditional and unique training model for social entrepreneurs, people with great ideas for non-profits, cooperatives that will benefit the community. The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) runs learning programs for people from all backgrounds that have an idea or business with a community benefit.
SheEO is a leading global innovation in the female entrepreneur marketplace.
Take your Venture and social impact to a new level. Apply to become a SheEO Venture and receive a 0% interest loan from a community of radically generous women.
We have rethought and redesigned an innovation ecosystem to support women-led Ventures on their own terms. We know that money is important as well as access to networks, customers, advice, and export markets. You can be part of a global network of radically generous women.
Spark Centre located in Durham, provides free advisory services to early stage or growing innovation technology companies.
Spark Centre is a business incubator providing advisory services, office space and day-to-day operational support to early stage and rapidly growing innovation and technology companies. Depending on what stage you are at, we offer a range of services. Select the stage most relevant to you:
Startup School Ryerson University
Startup school is a zone learning initiative at Ryerson University that offers beginner, intermediate and advanced modules.
Startup School provides fundamental entrepreneurial education to aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs alike. This term, students and founders can take advantage of practical education on topics curated to accelerate a startup’s growth. Join top industry experts, academic thought leaders and seasoned entrepreneurs as they lead sessions on the topics crucial to entrepreneurial success
Startup School offers three levels of modules: Beginner (I), Intermediate (II) and Advanced (III).
OPEN TO STUDENTS AND THE PUBLIC, STARTUP SCHOOL IS A ZONE LEARNING INITIATIVE AT RYERSON UNIVERSITY.
The Remix Project
The Remix Project serves youth who are trying to enter creative industries or further their formal education.
The REMIX Project provides top-notch alternative, creative, educational programs, facilitators and facilities. Our mission is to help refine the raw talents of young people in order to help them find success as participants define it and on their own terms.
Our vision is to provide high-quality training programs in some of the world’s most successful artistic disciplines, as well as facilitate artist development and professional training spaces to help young artists thrive on the global stage. A 5,000 sq. ft. facility, with a full recording studio, photography studio, business development centre, creative arts lab, video editing suite & more.
Toronto Business Development Centre
TBDC supports the growth of new and emerging businesses. The 3-month program aims to produce successful businesses that are financially viable and investible. TBDC’s Business Incubation Program supports the growth of new and emerging businesses by providing them access to a range of key resources.
At Toronto Business Development Center (TBDC), we have been helping start-ups establish, grow and scale by offering variety of programs that provide access to a suite of resources and business services creating an ecosystem that aids high-potential start-ups to go-to market and scale.
Toronto Fashion Incubator
Organization dedicated to nurturing Canadian fashion designers. The award-winning Toronto Fashion Incubator is the world's first fashion incubator that's inspired over 30 cities around the world to adopt its innovative co-sharing concept. Since TFI's launch in 1987, over thirty global cities have gone on to start a fashion incubator including fashion meccas London, Paris, New York and Milan.
For over three decades, TFI has fostered many of Canada’s most celebrated talents such as Christopher Paunil, David Dixon, Foxy Originals, Garrison Bespoke, Greta Constantine, Jenny Bird, Laura Siegel, Line Knitwear, Sentaler, Sid Neigum, Smythe and Todd Lynn.
TFI inspires, mentors and educates new and emerging fashion designers about the business of fashion. Through our various networking events, export development missions and educational seminars, which are open to the community, we share invaluable information and opportunities to help creative entrepreneurs develop the professional skills and strategies they need to thrive and survive.
Venture for Canada
Venture for Canada is a not-for-profit that recruits, trains, and supports top recent graduates to work at top Canadian startups. A booster rocket for the first stage of your entrepreneurship journey. Venture for Canada is a national charity which develops entrepreneurial leadership skills through training and supporting youth to work at innovative Canadian startups and small businesses.
York Entrepreneurship Development Institute Accelerator YEDI
YEDI is a free startup incubator based out of the Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University. Selected entrepreneurs participate in sessions facilitated by YEDI & Schulich Executive Education Centre professors and instructors, providing a solid foundation in business theory and economics. Theory examined includes: entrepreneurship, marketing and sales strategy, business development and growth, finance, and communication skills. Successful entrepreneurs quickly need to learn where they lack expertise and require a network of support. Entrepreneurs participate in sessions that will prepare them for real-life application of theory to achieve inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Topics include: visioning, environmental scanning, finance and fundraising. All sessions take place once per week.