New online program creates a unique incubator/accelerator experience for startups
June 5, 2020
WINNIPEG, MB – Manitoba’s largest incubator, now a hybrid incubator/accelerator, is launching its new Founders Program. This program is now being offered digitally, to help reach a wider audience of founders from all corners of the province. Technology-enabled businesses from all over Manitoba will receive foundational business training, access to experts, networking, mentorship, pathfinding to growth capital, and ongoing entrepreneur-in-residence support.
This new program builds on the success of other Canadian startup hubs, notably Saskatoon’s successful Co.Labs incubator. By combining North Forge’s years of on-the-ground experience with proven, nationally recognized best practices, the new Founders Program is set to launch a new wave of entrepreneurship in Manitoba.
No matter what stage they are at, this unique program that will serve all Manitoba communities will help founders move from early-stage ideas to the province’s next big success story. The new Founders Program stages include robust services tailored to where that startup is in its business development:
- Pathfinder offers founders 16 hours of virtual training which will help them identify customer problems worth solving, understand their target market and develop their product concepts. It will help them focus on identifying early adopters and customers.
- Base Camp takes founders through the process of testing whether their product’s value proposition resonates with early adopters. This step de-risks their venture, helping entrepreneurs confidently develop their business model and investor pitch
- Ascent enables founders to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) and execute a go-to-market strategy, scaling their revenues and customer base to demonstrate market traction. This stage includes 12 virtual training sessions and one-on-one interactions with coaches and experts.
- North Star provides founders with advanced customized training sessions, expanded supports, and mentorship. Throughout this stage, founders will be connected with global strategic partners, VC and angel networks while raising capital to become a Series A company.
Founders can enter the program at any of the stages to provide them with the services they need when they need them.
“The backbone of Manitoba’s economy is small business. It is now more important than ever that we provide the necessary support and resources for our local startups and entrepreneurs,” said Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler. “This new digital Founders Program offers a platform that will be the catalyst for launching many new tech-enabled start-ups. As part of Team Manitoba, North Forge is our strategic partner for innovation and will play a crucial role in helping Manitoba realize its economic potential.”
“The time we find ourselves in is a perfect recipe for business starts. There are unprecedented numbers of people with exceptional talents and experience working reduced hours or even displaced entirely from their jobs,” said Chris Johnson, Board Chair of North Forge. “It’s time to take your brilliant idea from the kitchen table or garage. The new Founders Program will help ensure those starting out will have incredibly strong supports to hit the ground running and create jobs and growth in Manitoba.”
“Five years ago, I met with the now Executive Director of Co.Labs, Jordan Dutchak. We discussed best practices in Canada around creating a technology incubator. Our discussion gave shape to the Co.Labs program,” said Joelle Foster, CEO of North Forge. “Fast forward to today. North Forge has taken what I learned from this discussion, applied methodologies that work for the Manitoba ecosystem and we created our unique Founders Program. Additionally, by going digital, we are ensuring all Manitobans have the opportunity to take advantage of this exciting new program.”
More information about the North Forge Founders Program is available at https://www.northforge.ca/what-we-offer/founders-program/.
About North Forge Technology Exchange
An innovation-based economic development agency and a powerhouse community to fuel Manitoba’s innovation economy, North Forge provides entrepreneurs with award-winning mentors, rockstar subject matter experts and a new four-stage founders program. Armed with Canada’s largest non-profit fabrication lab, the organization operates out of 27,000 square feet across Innovation Drive and Innovation Alley in Winnipeg, Canada. Learn more at www.northforge.ca.
CEO, North Forge Technology Exchange