Establishing your tech business in Ontario can be challenging, but there are many startup resources to support entrepreneurship. Ontario Regional Innovation Centres (RIC) offer a vast network of mentors, innovation centres, and other entrepreneurs that you can use to establish and grow your business.
Regional Innovation Centres help Ontario’s entrepreneurs and innovators succeed in international markets by helping them work through the challenges of developing their ideas to make them marketable and attract talent, capital and customers.
Regional Innovation Centres are primarily targeted towards tech startups and are meant to accelerate the early stages of business development.
There are 17 RICs across Ontario that, among other supports, provide programming, mentorship, workspace, and access to startup funding. Tech startups should be aware of their local Regional Innovation Centre’s resources and reach out to learn more about how it can help scale their business concept faster.
Getting started with a Regional Innovation Centre is easy! To find the RIC closest to you, visit the Ontario RIC website to find a location.
Regional Innovation Centres provide access points to programs and services including:
- expert advice and mentorship;
- training and workshops;
- market intelligence; and
- connections to resources, funding and partners.
What are Ontario’s Regional Innovation Centres (RIC)?
Regional Innovation Centres (RIC) offer resources to accelerate technology startups. With offices set up all across Ontario, the innovation network is a central point of knowledge that entrepreneurs need to become market-ready. RICs provide value-added advice, access to capital, market intelligence, mentoring, and peer networking programs designed to help technology-oriented firms grow and succeed.
Local offices provide a convenient and friendly one-stop approach to innovation. Funded through the Government of Ontario, they are free to use for eligible early-stage companies. Some RICs offer advanced support options for a reasonable fee, but these support centres are largely free to use and designed to help pre-revenue companies that do not yet have the capital or clients needed to participate in technology incubators or accelerators.
Regional Innovation Centres for Ontario Tech Startups
There are 17 Regional Innovation Centres located in regions across Ontario. They include:
- HalTech Innovation Centre (Burlington)
- Spark Centre (Oshawa)
- Boundless Accelerator (Guelph)
- Invest Ottawa (Ottawa)
- Innovation Factory (Hamilton)
- Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (Sault Ste. Marie)
- Launch Lab (Kingston)
- Innovate Niagara (Niagara)
- Communitech (Kitchener)
- NORCAT Innovation(Sudbury)
- TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario (London)
- Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre (Thunder Bay)
- ventureLAB (Markham)
- MaRS (Toronto)
- RIC Centre (Mississauga)
- WE-tech (Windsor)
- Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (North Bay)
Get Started with a Regional Innovation Centre
By visiting each specific page for the above mentioned RICs, businesses can get in touch with them today and access different resources for their various needs. Once your startup completes programming with a RIC and has established a working business model, other resources such as an incubator or accelerator may be logical next steps. It takes significant time and effort to nurture a tech startup, but once you’re up and running, you’ll be that much closer to accessing government grants and other funding sources!
To determine what you’ll need to access government incentives, please download Mentor Works’ free Startup Funding Checklist! Additionally, we also offer free resources via our Startup Resources webpage where businesses can access advice, strategy, resources, and future funding information. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest funding information.