Groups that help startups find their footing are getting a boost of their own from the federal government.
The feds announced on Tuesday they are launching a competition to find worthy recipients for funding under the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program – or, as it’s known to investment hungry businesses, IRAP.
It’s the latest step in the governing Conservatives’ venture capital action plan, a $400‑million strategy hatched in January to help increase private sector venture capital investments in Canada.
Under the plan, the government is providing $60 million over five years to help outstanding and high-potential incubators and accelerators expand their services to entrepreneurs and startups.
The government launched the request for proposals associated with the program on Monday. “Leading business incubators and accelerators” are invited to submit their applications for funding support, according to a government news release.
“Business accelerators and incubators are long recognized as crucial players in the venture capital system,” said Jim Flaherty, finance minister, in the news release.
“These organizations bring entrepreneurs together and provide them with hands-on mentorship by successful innovators and access to specialized business services to develop their ideas and grow their businesses and the jobs of tomorrow. Graduates of these programs will be better prepared to attract customers, form strategic partnerships and secure private investment.”
The government said it hopes to encourage incubators and accelerators to expand their range and quality of services such as mentorship and business plan development, as well as to build stronger networks among entrepreneurs.