The Honourable Gary Goodyear, minister of state for FedDev Ontario, and Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid visited the Waterloo Accelerator Centre on Thursday, January 15 to announce that the Government of Canada will provide the Centre with up to $8 million to establish AC JumpStart, an innovative incubation and mentorship program designed to help local technology startups establish and grow their businesses.
Conestoga, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University will serve as delivery partners for the program. Qualifying companies will receive up to $30,000 in seed capital (to be matched by recipient firms), mentorship from experts in finance, sales, marketing, human resources, technology and product development, access to market research and connections to investors.
“Our Government is fostering economic growth in Kitchener, Cambridge and all of the Waterloo Region by investing in our innovative businesses,” said Minister Goodyear. “Today’s announcement is a great example of how we are helping high-potential companies bring great ideas to market faster.” The AC JumpStart program will begin in January 2015, and is expected to provide mentorship and support for 180 companies over the next four years.
This is the second AC JumpStart program to be launched through the Accelerator Centre. Startup companies participating in the 2013 program have created 212 new jobs in Waterloo Region and generated $3.1 million in combined revenue.
Thursday’s event included demonstrations by graduates of the first AC JumpStart program, including Deep Trekker, a company that manufactures portable, affordable and easy-to-use Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) for underwater exploration.
Established by Sam Macdonald in partnership with Conestoga Mechanical Engineering graduates Jeff Lotz and Shawn Pette, the Ayr, Ontario-based company has tripled its revenue in the last two years and now employs 13 people. According to Macdonald, the support provided through AC JumpStart has been instrumental in the company’s development and success.