Futurpreneur Canada Start Up Program (2020): Complete Guide for Young Entrepreneurs

Start-ups are crucial to Canada’s economic development, and Futurpreneur Canada is a large part of the start-up ecosystem in Canada. In this complete guide, we cover how you can benefit from their support!

Futurpreneur Canada has many programs and tools that start-ups can use to start and stimulate their business, regardless of industry, field, sector, discipline, or founder demographic.

When you take advantage of Futurpreneur, you get access to workshops, coaching, mentoring, funding (with additional help from Business Development Canada), business tools, and networking.

It’s free to apply, you can apply anytime, and—if you’re truly ready to create a start-up—it’s easy to qualify, so if you’re in the beginning stages of building your business, why not start here?

Futurpreneur Start-Up Growth Accelerator Program

This program is designed for entrepreneurs who are between 18 and 39 and are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Do you also have some training or experience related to your business idea? And if you went ahead with your start-up, would it create full-time employment for you? Then you just might qualify!

To be accepted into the Growth Accelerator program though, you’ll also have to agree to work with a mentor for as long as 2 years, complete status updates every month, and allow Futurpreneur to conduct a credit check.

Oh, but that’s not all. You’ll have to be passionate about your start-up because there’s yet more eligibility criteria. Here’s the remaining criteria you’ll have to meet:

  • submit a complete, viable business plan by the end of the application process (don’t worry because they’ll help you with that)
  • own a start-up that’s been operational for less than 12 months
  • supply 2 personal references
  • prove your start-up is not in the research and development phase
  • prove the financing will not be used to refinance existing debt
  • show you’re not a current BCC borrower
  • ensure your business falls within industry guidelines (not be sexually exploitive for example)
  • prove you’ve been out of bankruptcy for at least 5 years (or 1 year after receiving a Certificate of Full Performance in the case of a Consumer Proposal)
  • show a maximum of 49% of revenues can be generated from alcohol sales when it’s consumed onsite (unless you’re a craft brewery, wine and spirit producer, or brew-it-yourself business), if applicable

As long as that list of criteria is, it’s still not entirely inclusive, so take a look at the rest of the more detailed criteria before you apply. And to be entirely sure you’ll qualify, also check out the list of ineligible businesses.

Now if you’ve made it through that list and you’re still able to participate in the program, you’ll get a lot of return for your efforts. For starters, you’ll get access to a Business Plan Writer plus a whole host of templates and examples.

Then there’s the networking events to help you gain connections in your industry, the start-up community, and among your peers. On top of that, they have Entrepreneurs-in-Residence available to help you with everything from cobbling together your business plan to advice on growing your business.

Take part in training workshops, gain insight and perspective, and shorten your learning curve throughout your 2-year term with Futurpreneur. But here’s the best part: you’ll qualify for a start-up business loan of up to $60,000, with $20,000 of that financed by Futurpreneur and $40,000 by BDC.

Futurpreneur will give you 5 years to pay back the $20,000 loan, which they offer at prime + 3.75%. Only pay the interest for the first year, and there’s no penalty for paying off your loan early, which you should definitely do since the catch is you’ll pay a $15 monthly fee the entire time you’re paying off the loan. There’s also a $50 application fee they’ll take off your funds when they first give it to you, but that’s it for the fees.

BDC’s terms are similar except that their interest rate is equal to the BDC Floating Base Rate + 5% and you can only repay an additional 15% of the loan total on the anniversary of your loan date.

If you’re excited about seeing where the Growth Accelerator can take you, apply by creating an account, answer the resulting questions, and share your draft business plan. If you’re accepted at that point, they’ll ask you to then send in your final business plan, cash flow statement, and business registration and ID.

Upon final acceptance, you’ll be matched with and meet a mentor chosen specifically for you. Then, and only then, you’ll get your money!

Now, there are additional programs nestled within the Growth Accelerator Program, so keep reading to learn more about them and which category you might fall into.

Futurpreneur Canada for Non-Profit Organizations

This is your ideal program if you’re a non-profit or social enterprise or are a start-up working with a social enterprise. The same eligibility applies as for the overall Growth Accelerator, but with the addition of demonstrating the ability to generate a minimum of 20% of the gross revenue from ongoing, sustainable commercial activities.

Both new non-profits and existing non-profits launching a new social enterprise qualify, but you must have signing authority or written board approval (and provide proof of it), and anyone else with signing authority will also have to be part of the applications.

When you participate in this part of the program, you’ll be able to access Futurpreneur’s $20,000 loan with the same terms as for the Growth Accelerator in general and all the same benefits as the overarching program. Even the application process is the same, so just create an account to get started.

Futurpreneur Canada for Students

If you can meet all the eligibility criteria of the Growth Accelerator Program in general and can say you’re in your final year of a postsecondary program and enrolled full time (though 2 part-time students can coapply), you’re in luck.

Now you can get help with both funding and trying to balance school and running a start-up. While you will have to show proof of your student status, everything else is identical to the umbrella Futurpreneur start-up program, from the terms of the $20,000 loan to the benefits, such as mentorship, business tools, and networking.

Just create a student start-up account, and you’re on your way!

Futurpreneur Canada for Newcomers to Canada

Just because you’re new to Canada doesn’t mean you don’t have a great idea and outstanding qualifications, and this Futurpreneur program helps you demonstrate that and bring your dreams to life.

Since the hardest part about being new to Canada when you’re an entrepreneur is having no Canadian credit rating, this is your opportunity to remedy that with the same benefits and the same financing terms as all the other components of the Growth Accelerator program. The only downside is that Futurpreneur offers just $12,500, though BDC can step in and also offer $12,500, again with the same repayment terms as the start-up program terms.

All the basic eligibility criteria is the same too, with the additions that you’ve lived in Canada for less than 60 months, your Social Insurance Number doesn’t start with a “9,” you can give 2 personal references (one of whom must be Canadian), and you have limited or no Canadian credit rating.

Take note that if you’re a newcomer to Canada but are lucky enough to have established a Canadian credit history, this program will offer you up to $45,000 in funding with the same repayment terms.

Again, because this program has exactly the same application process, just create a newcomer account online to get started!

Futurpreneur Side Hustle Program

How many Canadians are working on building a business at the same time as they work a full-time day job? A better question may be, who’s not?

That’s why Futurpreneur offers this program. It’s the only program like it, and it could offer you up to $15,000 in financing to grow your side business.

With much the same eligibility criteria as all other Futurpreneur financing programs with the addition of being able to show sustainable full-time income outside of your side business and no intention of converting your side business to full-time operations within the next 12 months, you’ll also reap the same benefits, including mentorship and online and in-person business resources.

Your mentor will stay with you for up to 2 years and will help teach you the skills you need to run a start-up. At the same time, the online and in-person resources will teach you all about business planning, marketing, and cash flow management.

Applying for this program is a bit different in that rather than creating an account, you just need to answer a few basic questions in an online contact form to connect with a business development officer.

Futurpreneur Business Plan Writer

Over and above the accelerator programs they offer, Futurpreneur, as mentioned, offers a variety of resources you can take advantage of as part of, or independent of, the accelerator programs.

First is their Rock My Business Plan workshop series. This is a 2-session in-person training program—with locations across the country—that will guide you through the business plan creation process and allow you the opportunity to ask questions and feel more confident in the process and in your skills and ideas.

Futurpreneur Entrepreneurship Pathway

Futurpreneur has even created a “resource pathway” for you follow as you work to make your start-up a success. While you don’t have to follow it in a linear fashion, it is divided into 4 categories:

  • Develop: This resource will help you not only cultivate and identify great ideas, but it will also help you define and communicate them with clarity.
  • Explore: Use this component to explore your market with more depth and intention. You can use this resource to also research and test out different parts of your current business model.
  • Build: Once you’ve validated your ideas with the research and testing in the Explore component, it’s time to plan. This resource will guide you through the key components of building a marketing, operations, and financial plan.
  • Launch: Finally! After all that hard work, time, and effort, you’re confident in you’re ideas, plans, and funding. Now you’re ready to launch! This resource gives you all the tools you need to successfully launch and can continue to effectively navigate the corporate waters after launch.

But there is so much more! Take advantage of their vast library and other tools such as lessons on building a business pitch deck and all the essentials of putting together a business plan. You can even use their business plan writer and cash flow template.

Wrapping Up

Now that you’ve taken the time to read through everything Futurpreneur can offer you on your start-up journey and digested the long but doable eligibility criteria, you know just what an invaluable resource Futurpreneur is.

They’ve got something for entrepreneurs of all forms: for-profits, nonprofits, students, newcomers to Canada, entrepreneurs with side hustles, and every entrepreneur who doesn’t fit one of those categories. If you’re serious about making your business a success, this is the place to start.

Even more valuable than financing is mentorship. In no other way are you going to learn everything you need to know and how to avoid the standard entrepreneur pitfalls as quickly and effectively. When you participate in one of their programs, you’ll benefit from that golden opportunity for up to 2 years.

On top of all those benefits, you’ll even get access to all their tools and resources, which are far more vast and inclusive than many other start-up programs. Many of these are even available to those entrepreneurs who choose to not to take part in any of their programs just yet.

So if you’re interested but want to ask some questions first, just give them a call at 1-800-464-2923 or email them. They also have offices across most of Canada, so you can also contact the one nearest you if you prefer.

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