As an entrepreneur in the health field, getting your startup off the ground can be a challenge, especially if you have limited resources at your disposal. Fortunately, health care, along with the related subfields of pharmaceuticals and biotech, is an industry that attracts accelerators and incubators because of the rapid growth possibilities. By hooking up with one of Canada’s top health accelerators, you can provide yourself with the funding you need and focus on your products and services without the distraction of having to raise money.
The Value of Affiliation With a Health Accelerator
Health accelerators hand you exactly what you need as a fledgling health company: startup capital. Typically, accelerators also connect you to mentors, investors, and connections within your industry to provide guidance as you build out your ideas. Often you’re required to hit certain benchmarks as you proceed, which can be just the motivation you need to keep going. Once you go through the rigorous application process required by most accelerators and are accepted into a program, you can expect to attract attention in your industry because you’ve been vetted at a high level.
Typically, accelerators provide seed funding, often in exchange for equity. As you develop your products and services, your accelerator can guide you with suggestions for product improvements, as well as connecting you to the customers you need to get properly launched.
Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS
One of the top health science incubators in Canada is Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS @Toronto, which opened in 2016. With a life sciences facility that can hold up to 50 startups, JLABS provides residency to early-stage companies developing medical devices, therapeutics, and consumer health solutions. Companies can take advantage of JLABS investments in laboratory facilities and equipment, as well as the business infrastructure that new businesses need to get off the ground.
JLABS is partnering with the government of Ontario and IBM Canada, which is providing entrepreneurship support and services, including IBM Watson cognitive business tech and cloud-based development. In addition, half a dozen hospitals are teaming with JLABS to help health startups with their innovative ideas.
TEC Edmonton doesn’t focus exclusively on health startups, but if you’ve got an innovative tech idea in the health field, it’s a great accelerator with which to be affiliated. As a joint venture between the University of Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development, this accelerator brings together private, public, and university resources to build innovation-based enterprises designed to commercialize new tech. TEC Edmonton provides executive-level entrepreneurs with deep experience in tech as business advisors to companies like yours, and it also helps you protect your intellectual property.
TEC Edmonton boasts that its clients grow 25% per year, with 96% of new companies surviving their first year. The accelerator has helped startups raise more than $165 million in capital, helping them get off on the right foot, and it was recently named the third best university-linked incubator in the world.
Other top health and life sciences accelerators or incubators in Canada include Innovaworks, Creative Destruction Lab, Blueline Bioscience, and MaRS, which is affiliated with JLABS. Checking them out could give you the resources your health startup needs.