IDEA Step-Up Program
PLEASE NOTE: Applications for 2023 are now closed!
This 6-month program supports innovative and inclusive companies to grow and overcome barriers. As a participant, you will have the opportunity to attend workshops and seminars that address common challenges faced by the c-suite of scaling companies, connect with experienced mentors, speakers, and peers, and present to investors, industry partners and City of Mississauga representatives to get started towards your next round of funding, sale or partnership.
With a focus on sustainability, and inclusivity you will receive a tailored program to help you grow your company while simultaneously contributing to social and environmental change. If you are working on an innovative solution that can change the world, get it done in Mississauga with the IDEA Step-Up Program.
- Located in Mississauga or wish to locate to Mississauga
- Approximately earning < $2 million in yearly revenue, have patented innovations, or raised pre-seed capital
- Planning, creating, or growing innovations in Life Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing or Information & Communications Technology (ICT)
Please note that priority will be given to businesses owned or led by individuals from underrepresented communities such as women, Black entrepreneurs, Indigenous entrepreneurs, members of racialized communities, youth, members of the LGBTQ2 community, persons with disabilities, newcomers to Canada and members of official language minority communities.
What do participants of this program receive?
C-Suite Training Sessions
Accounting, Legal, and IP Consultations
IDEA Square One Membership
Altitude Accelerator RevUp Program
Other Subsidized Memberships
City of Mississauga Introductions
Competitive Expense Coverage Funding
Applied Research Funding
Eligible Participants: What do participants of this program receive?
- C-Suite Training Sessions: Panels, discussions, and workshops that address common obstacles you may experience while scaling your company. See the program schedule for details.
- Accounting, Legal, and IP Consultations with MNP, KMB Law, and Bereskinn & Parr respectively (upon request)
- Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Matching with Altitude Accelerator
- Mentorship: IDEA business advisors and guests from learning sessions will be available for you to speak with for mentorship.
- Sector-Specific Introductions in ICT, Life Sciences, and Advanced Manufacturing (if applicable)
- City of Mississauga Introductions (if applicable)
- Pitch and Showcase: Opportunity to put your best foot forward in front of investors, potential corporate partners, and City of Mississauga representatives.
- IDEA Square One Start ID Membership for duration of the program ($750): Coworking space at IDEA Square One will be made available to you between October 2023 to March 2024.
- Altitude Accelerator RevUP learning modules empower you to validate your business idea on your own time, at your own pace, with access to our team and resources. Access 10 self-directed online learning modules, each focusing on a specific topic or subject that is important for a startup’s long-term success
- MBOT Memberships ($600): In collaboration with the Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT), a one year membership will be available to participants at the discretion of MBOT. Yearly memberships valued at $600 provide unique benefits such as 1) networking with over 1500 businesses, professions, and entrepreneurs, 2) advertising in a quarterly magazine, annual business directory, the website and e-bulletins, 3) advocacy at all levels of government, and many more.
- Amazon Web Serivces ($6500): AWS Cloud credits ($5000 valid for 2 years), AWS Business support (up to $1500 for 1 year), exlcusive members-only offers, and access to the Activate Console to help you build and grow your business.
Funding (please note that all funding is competitive and not guaranteed to any or all program participants)
- CAMDT expense coverage (up to $5000): The Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT) at Sheridan College links companies of all sizes to Sheridan’s advanced manufacturing expertise and equipment, and allows them to explore these tools with the help of Sheridan faculty and students. Conduct an applied research project to optimize your technology or processes for scaling your company. As a participant of the Step-up Program, you will be eligible to compete for up to $5000 to cover expenses required to conduct an applied research project with CAMDT. To express your interest please visit CAMDT’s website for more information, indicate your
interest in competing for this opportunity in your program application form, and submit the CAMDT Expense Coverage Supplementary Application Form.
- Expense Coverage Grants (3 up to $10,000): This funding offers growing companies an opportunity to accelerate their growth through covering expenses such as hiring, registering intellectual property, conducting applied research, or other operational expenses. Applicants to this funding opportunity will be assessed for their company’s development and market opportunity, and the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of their budget and financial plans.
- City of Mississauga Pilot Project Funding ($6000): For working on a pilot project(s) with another department at the City of Mississauga, this funding is available to cover the cost of the project on behalf of the other City of Mississauga department.
- Pitch Prizes (up to $2,000)
- Additional cash funding will be provided via the Pitch & Showcase at the end of the program. Investors, industry partners and City of Mississauga representatives will be in attendance to decide the winners of these funds.
- Altitude Accelerator Incubator Program Subsidy ($700): Participate in Altitude Accelerator’s Incubator Program to build your sales & marketing strategy and plan with 1:1 coaching from industry executives. Featuring Guest Speakers on special topics including (if applicable, limited time offer for March intake only)
This session provides more information about the IDEA Step-Up Program, the application process, and how you can make the most out of what will be offered. John Lam, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Specialist at IDEA Mississauga has answered some of your questions about the program.
- Click here to view the recording
FIND OUT WHAT PREVIOUS PARTICIPANTS HAVE TO SAY
PEOPLE YOU'LL MEET
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
We have identified and answered the most commonly asked questions about this topic:
Mississauga has a robust and diverse business community that makes up some of the largest knowledge-based industries in Canada. These sectors include: Advanced Manufacturing, Financial Services, Information & Communications Technology (ICT), Life Sciences, Smart Logistics and others. The Step-up to Scale-up Program specifically focuses on Life Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing, and ICT to ensure that as your company grows, one of our Economic Development Office staff members who focus on each of these sectors will be available to support you.
Inclusive growth means to expand your business with the diversity of all members of your community in mind. Not all groups of people have benefitted equally throughout history which has led to systemic barriers in the business world we still experience today. Growing inclusively means that these truths are kept in mind as we make business decisions such as hiring new employees, the company’s communications and messages, the supply chain and distribution channels, and many more. In this process of reconciling with the past, we must all learn to rethink the way we grow our companies.
Because not all groups were benefited equally throughout history, we are making an effort to reduce systemic barriers for people who might experience different challenges to accessing opportunities. A priority is given to businesses owned or majority-led by underrepresented groups, such as women, Black entrepreneurs, Indigenous entrepreneurs, members of racialized communities, youth, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, persons with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, and members of official language minority communities. By giving priority to underrepresented groups, we wish to increase the participation in the economy and build a more inclusive and equitable workforce.
Although the systemic barriers in the business world may be experienced by people in underrepresented groups, the problems and root causes are for all to solve. By not being exclusive, we wish to reflect the diversity in Mississauga and engage everyone in the conversation of inclusivity as we grow and move forward together.
The 1.5 hour training sessions will be divided into 30 minutes of panel discussion with our esteemed guests and one hour of networking for you to ask your specific questions. For virtual sessions, the networking portion will occur in virtual breakout rooms while in-person sessions will be less structured. The sessions are structured in this format to accommodate your busy schedules, foster learning, and provide networking opportunities. Please note that there will be both virtual and in-person sessions and attendance at both are expected.
Step 1: submit application by July 31, 11:59pm
Step 2: accept invitation for an interview August 18
Step 3: join us for an interview on August 22, 23, or 30
Step 4: accept invitation to the program on September 8
Eligible expenses can include costs related to the normal operations of your business or anticipated activities to fuel growth. These costs may include but are not limited to employee salaries, purchase of inventory, purchase of equipment or supplies, marketing, attending conferences, legal fees, accounting fees, intellectual property registration fees or other service fees, etc.
Notes * all opportunities listed below are offered and dispersed at the discretion of the City of Mississauga in collaboration with the corresponding benefit/service provider. Opportunities are not guaranteed to any participants and the City of Mississauga reserves the right to discontinue, reject, or delay any of the opportunities listed below without prior notice to participants.