Frequently asked questions: Incubators and Accelerators Driven by Excellence

General questions

1. Why is CED interested in incubators and accelerators?

Support for startups is one of the priorities of Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (hereinafter CED), and innovation is a pillar for the growth of startups.

  • In 2018, the Federal Strategy on Innovation and Growth for the Quebec Regions highlighted the vital role of young innovative companies in the Quebec economy.
  • More recently, in the report entitled Building a Nation of Innovators, the Government of Canada reiterated its commitment to innovation, and called for co-operation between large corporations and smaller companies seeking to grow and become globally competitive.
  • In its Strategic Plan 2021, CED made support for innovative and growing businesses one of its four pillars, and committed to pursuing its support for business incubators and accelerators.

To ensure their enhanced global competitiveness, startups in Quebec must be given access to incubators and/or accelerators that are recognized by their peers for their excellence, and which have an extensive international network from which the founders of startups can benefit.

2. Does this call for proposals replace the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP)?

No. The CAIP was a time-limited program (five years) whose mission was to establish a critical mass of incubators and accelerators in Canada to better support innovative startups with high growth potential. The program ended, as planned, on March 31, 2019.

This call for proposals to support incubators and accelerators driven by excellence is a new measure intended solely for the area covered by CED, namely the province of Quebec.

3. Presuming my organization receives a favourable response to this call for proposals, can I claim to have Government of Canada certification as an “incubator and accelerator driven by excellence?”

No. This call for proposals does not constitute official certification by the Government of Canada. Rather, it represents recognition by CED of the best practices implemented by certain incubators and accelerators, which can serve as models of excellence for their Quebec and international counterparts.

4. What is a startup?

Startups are young (generally less than five years old), innovative high-tech businesses with high development potential, designed to grow rapidly (employees, revenue and clients), without geographical constraints. Drawing on a replicable and scalable business model, a startup commercializes a new idea that meets a need, thus creating a market of the future or profoundly transforming an existing market. Their attributes make them objects of strategic interest to investors and venture capitalists.

Questions regarding eligibility

5. What is meant by “currently operating in Quebec?”

“Currently operating in Quebec” means that the majority of the organization’s operations and services are carried out and delivered in Quebec. This does not prevent the organization from doing business elsewhere in Canada as well, or outside the country, as long as these activities do not constitute the bulk of the services it offers.

6. I am already a CED incubator-accelerator client. Can I apply for this call for proposals?

Yes. However, the project submitted must meet the objectives of the call for proposals and differ from the project already supported by CED (specifically as concerns the scope of the project and the types of costs).

7. My organization has submitted an application on an individual basis. Can I apply as a collaborator for another project submitted under the call for proposals?

No. An organization may not obtain more than one financial contribution under this call for proposals, either individually or in collaboration with another organization.

Questions regarding funding

8. What is meant by a “non-repayable contribution?”

A non-repayable contribution is generally awarded to an eligible non-profit organization (NPO), for which the activities generated by the project are not commercial in nature, do not provide it with a direct quantifiable benefit, and are not subject to an agreement with another company for the commercialization of a product, service or process.

9. What is the cost eligibility date?

The cost eligibility date—subject to a favourable response from CED—is linked to the application submission date. Costs incurred prior to this date are not eligible for funding.

Questions about the process

10. Can I submit my application in the official language of my choice?

Yes. Applicants can submit all project-related documentation in the official language of their choice (English or French).

11. How many applications will be selected for funding?

The number of projects selected to receive funding will be determined based on the amounts requested by the organizations and the availability of funds. It should be remembered that the total envelope available for this call for proposals is $12 million over four years.

12. Does my organization and my project have to meet all the evaluation criteria and sub criteria in order to receive a favourable response?

The organization must demonstrate that its project meets the four broad evaluation criteria, namely:

  1. The project makes it possible to adequately assess the level of excellence achieved or targeted by the organization.
  2. The qualities and distinctiveness of the proposed project.
  3. The project proposes a reasonable and relevant financial framework.
  4. The project could generate significant economic benefits for Quebec.

CED will also use the sub-criteria presented in this guide for its analysis. Meeting a significant proportion of the sub-criteria could therefore be an asset that will showcase the project.

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