New accelerator for wireless SMBs coming to Ontario (via IT Business)

Feature story: Program will help smaller and mid-sized companies in the province’s wireless sector bring their products to commercial markets more quickly.
9/19/2012 12:20:00 PM By: Christine Wong

A new accelerator for small and medium sized wireless sector firms is being launched in Ontario.

The new initiative will be part of Wavefront, an existing National Centre of Excellence accelerator program for innovation and commercialization of wireless companies in Canada. The latest accelerator announced today will focus on helping Ontario wireless SMBs commercialize their products through access to funding, industry connections and business skills training.

SMBs enrolled in the new accelerator also get access to resources (often from Wavefront’s private sector partners) to testing facilities and technical preparation help.

The new accelerator for Ontario wireless SMBs will be made possible through funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

“It accelerates the growth of the wireless company or the startup. IRAP and Wavefront have entered into a partnership where a company in the wireless area can talk to Wavefront and identify smallish projects (worth)  maybe about $15,000 or so each. The IRAP portion paid is 65 per cent of that project, the (SMB) company would pay for the other portion,” said Helene Joncas, Wavefront’s vice-president for business development, eastern region.

The fact that the SMBs themselves have to front some of the cost of their targeted project gives them a sense of ownership in the process as well as whatever product or service they’re tryigng to commercialize, she added.

“It’s important for (SMBs) to have skin in the game. It’s human nature that if it’s free you don’t value it.”

Although the acclerator program targets startups and SMBs, “If there are bigger projects that require more time and effort there’s also an opportunity to scope that out,” Joncas said.

Ontario SMBs in the wireless sector who want to apply for the accelerator should contact Natalie Gallimore directly at [email protected]/accelerator or visit Wavefront’s Web site.

The wireless accelerator program is also operating in British Columbia and Quebec. The regional program in B.C. opened the doors to a brand new Rogers Wireless Innovation Centre in Vancouver last week.