Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is pleased to announce the launch of a new youth incubator. The incubator launched on May 4, 2015, with the first cohort running from May to September 2015 and it celebrates 25 youth aged 18 – 29, contributing to 20 start-up companies.
The first cohort is done in partnership with Durham College’s Summer Accelerator and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Brilliant Summer Incubator. Both programs are facilitated and led by Spark Innovation Centre who offer the companies in-depth advisory services, start up support, free office space, and a breadth of specialty workshops and events.
The incubator provides a state-of-the-art environment with seminars, workshops, one on one mentoring, job shadowing, peer group best practices, partner programs, coaching, and support for youth grants and loans. Young entrepreneurs also have opportunities for exposure to private angel networks.
The 20 student companies were selected to participate in the program after presenting a compelling business venture pitch, identifying the potential for large market sustainability. The goal of the program is to help these entrepreneurs validate their business ideas and take those ideas to market quickly. The program also aims to provide practical exposure to entrepreneurship as a career path.
“The demand for new business incubation in the Durham Region is growing rapidly. At the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) our student entrepreneurs are excited about the opportunity to develop their business and innovation skills and knowledge in partnership with Spark Centre and UOIT’s Brilliant Incubator program,” said Michael Owen, Vice-President, Research, Innovation & International at UOIT. “Our student entrepreneurs have amazing business ideas and technological insights, and represent the future for the Region of Durham.”
“We were thrilled to launch the DC Summer Accelerator, the latest addition to our FastStart programming,” said Debbie McKee Demcyzk, Director, Office of Research Services and Innovation at Durham College. “Teaming up with Spark Centre to provide expert advising and mentorship services, we will provide participants with a unique opportunity to kick-start their businesses. We’re confident this will be a successful and in-demand program supporting young visionaries in the community.”
“Incubation is proven method to accelerate commercialization, and the demand for youth has never been higher,” says Dennis Croft, President & CEO of Spark Centre. “We believe this will be a significant economic driver for our region and offers a truly unique environment for youth entrepreneurs. UOIT and Durham College are amazing partners, and their student talent is best in class.”
Spark Innovation Centre plans on holding three four month cohorts a year, and will open applications up again in late August for Cohort Two.