ventureLAB – Entrepreneurship Fund: Underrepresented Founders


ventureLAB is committed to contributing to levelling the playing field for underrepresented founders by opening more doors to capital. This year, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund is awarding $10,000 of funding to 7 eligible companies comprised of underrepresented founders.

Comments on Funding:

Funding is up to $10,000 and fund recipients are required to show access to matching funds of the amount requested. For example, if requesting $5,000 from the fund, the applicant would need to match a contribution of $5,000.


Applicants must:

  • be incorporated in Canada;
  • be operational in York Region, actively engaged and/or willing to engage with a York Region innovation partner for at least six (6) months upon being awarded the funds;
  • have a venture size of 1-99 employees; minimum one business and one technical co-founder;
  • have a minimum viable product and/or is at the validation stage with initial customer traction;
  • match the $10,000 fund;
  • not have received previous funding from the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund;
  • be across all industries and sectors;
  • have as founders members of an underrepresented community as defined below:
    a) women,
    b) Indigenous: referring to whether the person is First Nations (North American Indian), Métis and/or Inuk (Inuit). A person may be included in more than one of these three specific groups. Aboriginal peoples of Canada (referred to here as Indigenous peoples) are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, Section 35 (2) as including Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples.
    c) racialized Individuals: persons, other than Indigenous peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour;
    d) LGBTQ2+ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit, or those who identify with another non-binary gender or minority sexual identity (LGBTQ2+);
    e) Persons with disabilities: persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning impairment and who consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment, or believe that an employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment by reason;
    f) Immigrant or Refugee.

Some examples of eligible projects:

  • legal advice, such as IP strategy or regulatory issues;
  • market validation activities;
  • lead generation opportunities, technology development, or projects that will help the company achieve a critical objective or milestone;
  • adapting an applied AI product to address supply chain inefficiencies;
  • hiring an external consultant with subject matter expertise that contributes to the company’s commercialization or growth.

What’s not supported by the fund?

  • sole-proprietors;
  • activities in support of regular maintenance and/or ongoing operation costs;
  • regularly scheduled capital expenditures and/or asset replacement;
  • refinancing of an existing debt;
  • acquisition of land and buildings.

Applications Steps:

Applicants must:

Applicants are limited to one application each round, and previously funded recipients will not be eligible for a second round of funding.
Awarded funds will be disbursed after the signing of the Funding Agreement, within 30 business days.

Documentation Needed:

Applicants must:

  1. submit the application form and a Pitch deck;
  2. show access to matching funds of the amount requested;
  3. submit a Final Project Report to demonstrate project completion.

Other Things to Note:

The 2022 application intake is closed. Check back for updates!


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