Entrepreneur Francis Shen, an alumnus of UTIAS, has committed a $1 million donation to establish a new entrepreneurial incubation program at UTIAS called Start. The purpose of this program is to encourage and facilitate UTIAS graduate students to utilize the knowledge and skills that they have gained through their education to create business start-ups.
How to Get Started
Teams of 2 to 4 members, led by at least one UTIAS student, may submit an application to be part of this program. The Start selection committee will evaluate each application and, if necessary, they may conduct interviews. 5 to 10 teams will then be selected to be part of the Start program.
Start is designed to offer the tools needed to create successful start-ups. These tools include mentorship, legal and accounting advice, speaker series, networking opportunities, and capital funding.
The selected teams will meet for 3 dinners over a 2-month period. These dinners will be a forum for teams and mentors to exchange ideas and monitor progress. In addition, each dinner will feature a relevant speaker who will offer insight into the business world for entrepreneurs. At the end of the 2-month period, the Start selection committee will choose 4 to 7 winning teams who will receive a $25,000 grant. The teams will continue to meet for dinners a few times over the next 3-month period. At the end of this period, there will be a demo day to where investors and stakeholders will be invited to attend.
How to Create an Eligible Start Team
Each team must be comprised of at least one founder who is a UTIAS student in good academic standing and with an agreement that he or she will own a minimum 25% of the resulting Start-up company. If a team is already incorporated, at least one UTIAS student must own at least 25% of the company. If a team has not been incorporated, all team members must sign a UTIAS Start cooperation agreement that will cover the handling of intellectual property and the general working relationships.
Use of the Start Grant
The grant is to be used expressly to pay for business expenses related to the Start Team’s project. There will be no salaries or fees of any kind paid to the team members. A project account governed by UofT policies will be setup at UTIAS for fund disbursements for each Start Team.
Important Start Dates
1. Information Night – September 22, 2014
2. Start-up workshop – October 28, 2014 – 5:00 p.m. UTIAS Lecture Hall
3. Application submission deadline – December 3, 2014
4. Start Team selection – December 18, 2014
5. Start Teams selected for grants – March 2015 (exact date TBD)
6. Demo Day – June 2015 (exact date TBD)