With the application deadline for entrepreneurship@AO fast approaching, officials are saying there are five spots open for entrepreneurs at their new Penticton incubator facility.
Accelerate Okanagan, a not-for-profit group with a mission to increase the number of technology companies that start and grow in the Okanagan, is behind the entrepreneurship@AO initiative, which is designed to attract very early stage technology companies, and get them access to the group’s incubator programs and facilities.
“Some of them may not be companies at this stage, they may be entrepreneurs with an idea. We are not limiting it to companies — we talk about companies, but we are really talking about the idea, the entrepreneur, the opportunity,” said Martin Yuill, Marketing Director at Accelerate Okanagan. “It’s really a program designed to get companies into the funnel that might otherwise be excluded, who find the barrier to entry too high.”
“It’s a very simple application process. It literally requires a one-page document that says this is what the business idea is,” said Yuill. “It’s not a business plan, none of that. It is simply an opportunity for us to evaluate the quality of the opportunity.”
The final step for applicants is a 10-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges. From that, Yuill said, the best opportunities will be selected and announced at an awards ceremony in Kelowna on Feb. 23.
Companies making it through the competition get full access to the Venture Acceleration Program for one year, including access to advisers, mentors and a range of business development programs. And for the South Okanagan candidates, access to the incubator facilities at Okanagan College in Penticton.
“The facilities are fabulous. Because we are at the Centre of Excellence, we are able to piggyback off the world class facilities that the college has put in place,” said Yuill. “Within that, we have a dedicated accelerator facility, where companies can be resident, use boardroom facilities, our lounge and work in a collaborative space with other like-minded technology entrepreneurs and innovators.”
The application deadline for entrepreneurship@AO is Feb. 15. Application information for entrepreneurship@AO is available on their website at accelerateokanagan.com, under the Programs tab.