October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Ontario invests $9M in StartStart Seed Fund, $26M Into Other Innovation Programs

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

Ontario is launching five programs to help young people start companies and create jobs.

Part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, these programs will provide young entrepreneurs with business skills, capital to start and grow a small business and the opportunity to gain experience and expertise through R&D internships:

  • Ontario is providing $5 million to the On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program and $20 million to the Campus Linked Accelerators (CLA) program to help students develop entrepreneurial skills and transfer academic expertise and knowledge to the marketplace.
  • Ontario is investing $9 million in the SmartStart Seed Fund to help young entrepreneurs build technology companies. The fund is open to 18 to 29 year olds affiliated with a CLA or OCEA program, as well as start-ups linked either to an Ontario campus or Ontario’s network of Regional Innovation Centres.
  • The province is providing $7 million to the Youth Business Acceleration Program to equip young entrepreneurs with skills needed to start and grow successful technology businesses, including entrepreneurship education, market intelligence services and mentorship.
  • Ontario is investing $10 million in Talent Edge, a program that bridges the gap between academia and the workforce. It provides opportunities for post-secondary students, PhD fellows and recent graduates to work on collaborative R&D projects between their academic institution and industry.

The Youth Jobs Strategy is part of the government’s economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario’s greatest strengths — its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing $51 million in the five programs.
  • OCEA, CLA, the SmartStart Seed Fund and Talent Edge are managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence.
  • The Youth Business Acceleration Program is managed by the MaRS Discovery District and delivered through a network of Regional Innovation Centre partners that are part of theOntario Network of Entrepreneurs.
  • Ontario is investing $295 million over two years in the Youth Jobs Strategy to help 30,000 more young people from across the province connect with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses.
  • More than 10,000 jobs have been created to date under the Youth Jobs Strategy.


“Helping young entrepreneurs and those seeking rewarding careers in R&D is another example of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy at work. These programs will help harness their ideas, their vision and enthusiasm and turn them into jobs for today and for tomorrow. It is their ideas, courage and drive that will build Ontario’s future.”- Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation

“I’m delighted that our government is supporting youth entrepreneurship on our campuses. This funding will help colleges and universities deliver programs that will give students the opportunity to develop valuable skills and gain the experience they need for a successful future.”- Deb Matthews, MPP, London North Centre

“Together, with our partners at Fanshawe College, we are well positioned to develop the entrepreneurial skills of Western’s students and future business leaders. The Campus Linked Accelerator partnership with the Province of Ontario will give students the tools and confidence to think and work creatively, translating their ideas into action that will invigorate our regional and provincial economy.”- Amit Chakma, President, Western University

“Fanshawe College is passionate about enhancing the culture of entrepreneurship, providing students the opportunity to gain the skills and experience they need to succeed. The relationship with Western is a perfect example of how collaboration can result in a positive outcome and the Campus Linked Accelerator program gives our students and youth in the community a pathway to jobs and meaningful employment.”- Peter Devlin, President, Fanshawe College

“This is a significant step forward in the evolution of Ontario’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Together, these programs represent an investment in Ontario’s students and young entrepreneurs that will equip them with the skills, experience and support they need to succeed.”- Tom Corr, President and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence

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