The 5 Best Business Accelerators in Montreal

Creating a business is an intense process with many competing emotions. The combination of excitement and stress, coupled with fatigue from long hours of work, can be a difficult to manage. Therefore, a helping hand is a luxury you cannot pass up. As a young start-up in the legal tech world, we at Lex Start are well aware of the incredible support business accelerators can provide nascent start-ups.

As such, we have decided to provide a list of the 5 best business accelerators in Montreal, to help you, energetic entrepreneurs, propel your start-ups to the next level.

FounderFuel

Are you part of a creative, engaged and perseverant team of entrepreneurs? Is technology a fundamental part of your business model? If so, FounderFuel is for you.

FounderFuel has helped accelerate 80 businesses over the course of ten cohorts since their creation in 2011.

They offer workshops, advisors and mentors that will help you develop strategies to conquer your market. Web, mobile, SaaS, FounderFuel specialized in supporting tech start-ups to achieve long term projects, through their 12-week program.

With a large network in North America, FounderFuel will put you in contact with investors throughout Canada and the United States.

Selection Criteria:

  • A founding team of at least 2 people
  • At least one technical co-founder
  • All key members committed full-time
  • Founders based in Montreal for the duration of the program.

Services Offered:

  • Mentorship: direct access to several mentors.
  • Investors: access to a network of investors.
  • Workspace: access to a workspace in the Maison Notman for the duration of the program.
  • Training: Access to workshops, talks from top founders, and boot camps.
  • Funding: all start-ups that take part in the program receive a $20k investment in exchange for 5% of their company.

Notable businesses that have taken part in the program:

Bus.com: A platform that solves issues related to transportation for event organizers.
MotorLeaf: Provides machine learning automated control for urban agriculture.
BenchSci: Helps decode scientific papers to accelerate the pace of biomedical discoveries.

IEBN (Institut d’Entrepreneuriat Banque Nationale - HEC Montréal)

Are you or one of your associates a student or alumni of HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal or Université de Montréal? If so, you need to consider the business accelerator Banque Nantionale – HEC Montréal (They also accept candidates who have not attended those schools).

Every year, a limited number of entrepreneurs are chosen to participate in the 12-week program based on their potential for growth, from diverse fields including IT, life sciences, engineering and sales, to name a few.

Selection Criteria:

  • Show passion for your project.
  • Demonstrate the innovative quality of your business model and your product/service.
  • Have a prototype or visual representation of your product/service.
  • Demonstrate that your product/service responds to a market need, and has potential for growth.
  • Have at least one founder available for the duration of the 12-week program.

Services Offered:

  • Training and mentorship: you will receive support from their experienced partners for many different aspects of your project, including taxes, business models, management, finance, marketing, and legal issues.
  • Workshops/seminars/webinars: You will receive training to help hone the skills that will make you a successful entrepreneur.
  • Professional coaching: Receive coaching from business leaders and professors from the associated universities to address the issues experienced by entrepreneurs.
  • Access to a network of entrepreneurs and investors: Gain access to a network of partners and investors from a diverse array of fields.
  • Tradeshows and forums: You will have the opportunity to share and learn with other likeminded entrepreneurs.

Notable businesses that have taken part in the program:

ÉAU – Écosystèmes Alimentaires Urbains: They use hydroponics to commercially produce fruits, vegetables, and fish in an urban environement.
Fleexer: A web platform that facilitates collaboration on projects between people with the resources and those with time to help.
Launchleap: A crowd-funding platform that helps entrepreneurs connect with their clients and identify avenues for growth.
OVA: A tool that helps consumers create virtual reality and augmented reality environments simply and enjoyably.

Consult the accelerator’s website for a complete list of start-ups that have participated in the program.


On March 6th 2018, CENTECH and InnoCité MTL announced that they were merging their programs. By integrating InnoCité MTL to CENTECH the accelerators will be able to offer an even better framework to facilitate the growth of emerging start-ups.

CENTECH’s website now details both programs, but in order to provide you with a clear understanding of each accelerator, we will be treating them separately.


InnoCité MTL

Is your start-up focused on improving the quality of urban life through technology? If so, InnoCité MTL’s 12-week acceleration program is the place for you!

InnoCité MTL is the first business accelerator in Canada focused exclusively on the creation of smart cities. They have a large network of mentors, coaches and specialists in urban development, that will help your business succeed.

Selection Criteria:

  • Have at least 2 co-founders.
  • 1 of the founders has to have an expertise in the activities of your start-up.
  • Be working full-time for the business.
  • Be available for the duration of the 12-week program in Montreal.
  • The business must be related to the field of smart-cities (see their website).
  • The start-up must have a strong business plan and potential for growth.

Services Offered:

  • Personalized support from mentors and coaches with experience in your field.
  • Training and workshops that will provide you with tools to succeed.
  • The opportunity to test your product with the City of Montreal or other InnoCité partners.
  • Access to the services offered by CENTECH.

Notable businesses that have taken part in the program:

Potloc: A platform that helps entrepreneurs find the ideal location for their businesses.
Local Logic: A platform that crunches data to attribute scores to different neighborhoods, in order to provide consumers and businesses with information that will help them evaluate whether a neighborhood suits their needs.
Infra.ai: A software company that specializes in artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to improve infrastructure projects.

Centech

Created in 1996 by the École de technologie supérieur (ÉTS), and located in the heart of the Quartier d’innovation of Montreal, CENTECH is a business accelerator dedicated to tech based start-ups with potential for growth.

CENTECH’s 2 programs, acceleration and propulsion, create an ideal environment for the development of innovative technology, as evidenced by their network of start-ups, which form one of the most important tech hubs in all of Canada.

Are you looking to join a growing community of technology driven innovation? If so, CENTECH is the place for you, with its 3 specialized cohorts (MEDTECH, INNOCITÉ, AÉROSPATIALE), uniquely capable of meeting the needs of your company.

For more information on how to apply, we encourage you to consult their website.

Selection Criteria:

  • A technology based project.
  • At least 2 co-founders
  • A product that can be scaled to an international market

Services Offered:

  • A 12-week program with workshops given by experts on topics such as law, finance, marketing, commerce, etc.
  • Personalized support through mentoring and coaching.
  • Access to a workshop 24 hours a day to work on your project.
  • The opportunity to continue on with CENTECH for their 2-year propulsion program.

Notable businesses that have taken part in the program:

 Uvolt: A watch that uses solar energy to allow you to charge your phone anywhere you want.
Markis 3: Creation of the first 5-lens camera for extreme sports.
Merinio: A platform that helps employers manage their workforce in a way that is adapted to their businesses.

District 3

Over the years, District 3 has coached 386 start-ups, hosted 219 events and workshops, and supported a community of over 5900 members.

Located in the heart of downtown, District 3 is Concordia University’s incubator and accelerator program. They offer a creative environment focused on collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation, with a network of actors from diverse backgrounds that provide entrepreneurs with the tools to turn their ideas into realities.

Selection Criteria:

  • Be a minimum of two co-founders.
  • Provide a detailed financial plan.
  • If your start-up develops business-to-business products/services, you need to have sold at least 1 product/service.
  • If your start-up develops business-to-customer products/services, you need to have sold at least 10 products/services.

Services Offered:

  • Access to a large network
  • The opportunity to gain practical experience in your field
  • Personalized training geared toward the needs of your start-up
  • Coaching and mentorship
  • Access to a co-working space in the heart of downtown Montreal

Notable businesses that have taken part in the program:

Simplyk: A platform that makes it easier to find volunteering opportunities for individuals and groups.
Sportwhere: A platform that helps individuals and organizers find sports fields, activities and teams.

 

For any legal questions you may have, Lex Start offers legal services, geared toward start-ups, at a fixed rate, that are on average 50% less expensive than traditional legal services. Do not hesitate to contact us to identify your legal needs for free!

 

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