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Unleashing Your Startup's Potential: Discovering Funding Opportunities

List of Resources

To fund a startup, entrepreneurs typically explore four avenues: participating in entrepreneurial competitions for cash prizes and networking opportunities, obtaining grants from government agencies and private institutions for non-repayable funding, seeking venture capital investment in exchange for equity and expert guidance, and securing loans from banks or financial institutions for immediate capital with a repayment obligation. Each option offers unique benefits and caters to different stages and types of startups.


Innovation Onboard

Innovation Onboard (IOB) is a student-led initiative launched in 2017, dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary collaboration among students in science, engineering, and business disciplines. The IOB program spans six months, featuring a series of workshops, lectures, an innovation fair, and a pitch competition. Students in IOB stand to win cash prizes (5k, 3k, 2k for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place), providing valuable funds to kickstart their innovative projects. Participants not only gain hands-on experience but also develop leadership skills and organizational acumen that go beyond traditional classroom learning.



  • IOB is open to all UBC students and recent graduates.


New Ventures BC

NVBC is on a mission to champion, empower, and nurture entrepreneurship and innovation within British Columbia's startup technology landscape. Since 2001, NVBC has been dedicated to achieving this goal by providing education, mentorship, networking opportunities, cash prizes, grant funding, and recognition. The impact of NVBC's efforts is substantial, leading to thousands of new job opportunities, the cultivation of entrepreneurial expertise, increased investment, technology commercialization, and most importantly, economic advancement for British Columbia. NVBC offers an impressive $250,000 in cash and prizes to fuel innovation.


Key Dates:

  • Education and Networking Events: March - June
  • Application Deadline: April
  • Competition: June - September



IRAP Funding

The National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) offers financial support for technology-driven innovation to small and medium-sized Canadian businesses. They have integrated into the new Canada Innovation Corporation (CIC) and provide funding for research and development projects at various stages of the innovation cycle, including larger projects with increased funding thresholds.

Graduate students can utilize the NRC IRAP resource by either securing funding for their own startups or getting involved with startups that receive NRC IRAP support, gaining valuable experience in technology-driven innovation.



  • Incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized businesses in Canada with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.
  • Pursuing growth and profit through technology-driven innovation in Canada.


Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur

Accelerate Entrepreneur, a program by Mitacs, is open to student and postdoctoral entrepreneurs in any discipline, offering financial support valued at $15,000 per internship. The program aims to help startups optimize their budgets, develop technology, and commercialize products or services. Projects are limited to two years, targeting critical startup stages such as piloting, testing, iterating, and budget optimization. Participants must be housed in approved incubator facilities and have ownership and management responsibility for their incorporated startup. Graduate students can benefit from Accelerate Entrepreneur by utilizing the financial support for their startup projects or seeking internships with startups funded by the program.



  • Students and postdoctoral fellows at Mitacs partner colleges and universities in Canada.
  • Active housing in an approved incubator facility.
  • The proposed research project must further develop the startup's core technology.


Venture Capital

Front Row Ventures

Front Row Ventures is an investment initiative focused on student founders in Canada who are launching innovative ventures. They gather students from various backgrounds and universities, providing early-stage funding of $25,000 with founder-friendly terms through a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity). The program amplifies student founders' potential through mentorship, resources, and training. Front Row Ventures seeks visionary, entrepreneurial, and passionate students, regardless of their field of study, and supports startups that are shaping the future and creating new industries. They are committed to helping student founders from the earliest stage to seed and beyond, offering guidance in financing, launch strategy, growth, and hiring. Additionally, they offer a course to educate students about venture capital and entrepreneurship, equipping them with the skills to make a difference in the startup ecosystem.



  • Student founders in Canada, both undergraduate and graduate, with innovative venture ideas.




Futurpreneur Canada is a non-profit organization that supports aspiring entrepreneurs aged 18-39 in turning their ideas into successful businesses. They offer up to $60,000 in financing to launch or expand businesses, connect entrepreneurs with experienced mentors for up to two years, and provide resources for learning essential business skills. Applicants can apply for both financing options on the Futurpreneur website. The loan includes two years of expert mentoring support and is repayable over five years with interest-only payments required in the first year. There are no penalties for early repayment. The program primarily targets entrepreneurs aged 18-39 and aims to address the financing gap for young business owners.



  • Age 18 - 39
  • Incorporated business