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Ontario Start-Ups Get New Supports

By Julie King |

A new incubator to help Ontario start-ups access Chinese markets and a $50 million fund designed to help growing companies scale-up were key announcements at this year's Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Discovery conference, held in downtown Toronto on April 27 and 28.

Scale Up VenturesThe China Angel Mentorship Program (CAMP) is a virtual incubator that will initially select 10 start-ups who will have the opportunity to receive mentorship, investment and help aligning their business model with Chinese markets from prominent Chinese angels. In a one-year window the selected companies will build relationships, learn how to adapt their business plan towards a successful entry into the Chinese market and travel to China to work with their investors overseas.

At the OCE Discovery conference Ontario's premier Kathleen Wynne announced the launch of Scale Up Ventures, a new $50 million fund that will receive up to $25 million from the province and $25 million in matching funds from private investors.

Scale Up Ventures will support start-ups that have demonstrated a market appetite for their products or services and that have a strong potential for growth. The government press release notes that start-ups will have to go through the same pitch and due diligence process as they would with a regular venture capital fund in order to qualify for investment.

In addition to funding, companies will also receive mentorship from the Scale Up Leadership Council of 30 senior business leaders and successful entrepreneurs, who will donate their time.

"The value of mentorship is hard to overstate, especially for a young entrepreneur with a promising innovation. Ontario is fortunate to have many civic-minded business leaders who believe that fostering the next generation of start-ups in Ontario is critical to our economic success," said Nadir Mohamed, chair of Scale Up Ventures and former CEO of Rogers Communications. 

Investments are expected to range from $500,000 to $3 million, with the potential for follow-on investment as the company progresses. The fund will be managed by a professional fund manager with experience in venture investments and no salaries or investment management fees will accrue to the chair or the Scale Up Leadership Council for their role in the fund's operations.

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