New entrants to Ontario’s interactive digital media community must overcome steep knowledge and financial hurdles. There are many obstacles to tackle before software and game developers can launch their first product; this is often a long and complicated process where innovators must tap into several organizations and resources for support.
Fortunately, the Interactive Digital Media (IDM) Fund: Futures program can help simplify and accelerate the growth process. The program offers early-stage software and interactive digital media developers access to a seven-week program with multiple workshops and learning sessions geared towards taking innovators to the next level of market readiness. The program also prepares media developers to receive government funding through the Interactive Digital Media Fund Concept Definition or Production streams.
Interactive Digital Media Fund: Futures workshops cover the essentials of finance, marketing, business planning, and other topics critical to success.
To participate in the IDM Fund: Futures program, company representatives must be able to attend each session, held in Toronto. The program provides one intake for applications each year, generally around summer-fall. Companies must apply during the application period to be considered. Workshops typically begin in November and end in December.
What is the Interactive Digital Media Fund: Futures Program?
Interactive Digital Media Fund: Futures is a competitive, application-based learning program for companies that are new to the IDM sector. Through the program, participants explore a range of topics, including how to develop strategic business plans, how to fund, finance, and budget IDM projects, how to protect intellectual property, how to pitch investors, and other areas that are critical to success.
Upon graduating from the seven-week program, participants will also become eligible for the Interactive Digital Media Fund Concept Definition Production funding programs.
Although the IDM Fund: Futures program is primarily a training-based initiative, participants have an opportunity to receive an Ontario government grant worth up to $15,000 to assist with product development. By the end of the program, companies will also have a business and marketing plan for their product, be ready to pitch investors, and have a better financial plan in place for their upcoming project.
Who Can Apply for the IDM Fund: Futures Program?
To participate in the Interactive Digital Media Fund: Futures program, applicants must either be:
- A new company led by individuals with less than three years of professional interactive digital media content creation experience; or
- An established company transitioning to interactive digital media content creation from another industry.
Please Note: This program typically targets applicants in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Since participants must attend the workshops held in Toronto, being located close to the city will improve your chances of acceptance.
How to Apply for the Interactive Digital Media Fund: Futures Program
The IDM: Futures program works by issuing a call for applications once per year. Applicants must respond to this call for applications by contacting Ontario Creates or one of the program’s partner organizations, Interactive Ontario or the Hand Eye Society.
The Interactive Digital Media Fund: Futures program is closed to applications in 2018; however, application intake is expected to re-open in August-September 2019.
If your business has missed the intake period and must wait for the next application opportunity, consider exploring other opportunities to support your early-stage business. Although government funding tends to be limited at this stage of growth, there are a wealth of other startup resources that can assist your development.
To discuss your eligibility for the IDM Fund: Futures program, or explore other Ontario government funding programs, please contact Mentor Works.