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FOUNDERS PROGRAM

Build your business – better, faster, cheaper

No matter what stage you are at, our new, online four-stage Founders Program is available to all Manitobans.  We provide comprehensive resources, combined with regional knowledge and international experience.  Technology-enabled businesses will receive foundational business training, access to experts, networking, mentorship, a hot desk, pathfinding to growth capital, and ongoing entrepreneur-in-resident support. 

Joining the North Forge Founders Program will provide you with:

A network of peers, professionals and subject-matter experts.
A coordinated program of supports and services.
A path to investment readiness and access to the North Forge Angel Network.
Online and in-person, hands-on education.
Access to a curated resource list, free clinics, events, and affiliate discounts.

North Forge will assess coachability and fit to determine the most suitable stage for each company.

Everyone signs a code of ethics to protect their IP and ideas.

Pathfinder

Who You Are: You are an entrepreneur with an idea. You need to gain an in-depth understanding of the opportunity, the market and the critical supports required for success with a honed-in business proposition. No cost.

Stage Length: 7 weeks

*Micro-credentials can be granted upon completion of this stage.

 

What You Get

  • A 16-hour intensive bootcamp that provides a practical guide on how to conduct market validation
  • Micro-credentials available upon completion of this stage.

 

 

Expected Outcomes

  • Primary and secondary market research review
  • Customer interview scripts
  • Completed customer interviews and analysis
  • A validated or invalidated value proposition

Base Camp

Who You Are: You are an early-stage startup with a product idea that is undergoing primary product development in the wireframe stage. You need to understand your market fit, and fine tune your value proposition. No cost.

Stage Length: 10 weeks

*Micro-credentials can be granted upon completion of this stage.

 

What You Get

  • Support and coaching through your market validation and preliminary product development
  • Access to a coworking desk at the Innovation Hub
  • Weekly virtual peer group meetups
  • An assessment of your business model by North Forge staff and expert mentors
  • Virtual one-on-one training sessions with industry experts
  • Introductory financial literacy for business
  • Early stage pre-marketing activities to validate your business market validation
  • Early stage market validation pitch development training

Expected Outcomes

  • Demonstrated product-market fit/or not 
  • A market validation pitch that you will present
  • An early road map on how to incorporate your validation activity into early marketing activities and why that’s important
  • Early financial understanding of your business

Ascent

Who You Are: You are a startup who has completed your market validation, looking to build a working prototype and commercialize your product. You’re ready to develop your go-to-market strategy, expand your network to support your business growth and are built to scale.

Average Length: 12 months, with an additional 12 months of resource support available for business models that have a slower rate of entry to market. 

What You Get

  • Regular meetings with your North Forge Entrepreneur-in-Residence
  • Access to experienced mentors in the field, subject matter experts, and growth coaches on a variety of specific business topics
  • Numerous partner programs, resources, and industry networks
  • Unique access to free and subsidized business services
  • Pitch presentation scrubbing education
  • Access to a coworking desk at the Innovation Hub, ability to rent office space at affordable rates (*when available)
  • Comprehensive fundraising strategy education and development 
  • Access to the North Forge Angel Network (*we do not take equity from the companies we work with)
  • Access to the North Forge Venture Capital Clinic (VC Clinic)
  • Shared access to the North Forge networks and strategic partners. 
  • Access to free professional services, educational and networking events.

Expected Outcomes

  • Monthly performance monitoring on your progress, in consultation with your Entrepreneur-in-Residence
  • A startup business model that is ready to enter the market and scale
  • A go-to-market strategy
  • Fundraising knowledge and support in building the best strategy for your business journey

North Star

Who You Are: You are a startup with a proven revenue-to-customer base, and potential to raise a Series A investment round. You are growing quickly with a validated marketable solution. You need a network of specialized supports that will help you realize scalable growth, and prepare you for an investment round.

Stage Length: 12 months, with an additional 12 months of resource support available for business models that have a slower rate of entry to market.

What You Get

  • Advanced customized training sessions on a variety of specific business topics
  • Weekly access to North Forge staff coaching
  • One-on-one access to experienced industry and business members
  • Numerous partner programs, resources, and industry networks
  • Unique access to free and subsidized business services
  • Pathfinding and coaching support to access growth capital
  • Pitch presentation scrubs
  • Access to a coworking desk at the Innovation Hub
  • Connection with VC and angel networks, and other critical resources to help your business scale

Expected Outcomes

  • Seed A company
  • Generating annual revenue of $500K-$1M
  • Ready to raise further growth capital

"The specialized equipment and resources at North Forge has given us the ability to make equipment and devices that were not possible before utilizing the Fabrication Lab."

Matthew Gale, Research & Development Co-ordinator, Rehabilitation Centre for Children

"North Forge has given the product development team at Barkman Concrete the opportunity and ability to create designs at a much more personal hands on level, allowing for our team to better understand advanced fabrication methods and become part of a larger design community."

Dennis Bergen, Product Development / Product Designer, Barkman Concrete

"The North Forge Fabrication Lab enabled me to start and run a diverse maker service business and have access to equipment I may never have had means to purchase myself. There is a great community of people to draw on for advice, ideas & experience. I only wished I had joined up sooner."

Richard Venzon, Owner, Venzon Concepts

"The Fabrication Lab enabled Solara to kick-start development of a new product that has now sold over $500K. The IoT lab provided us with special tools for concept development, 3D printers to build concept cases for our customers, and the information exchange with other members helped us use these tools and to find contract resources locally."

Tom Tessier, President, Solara Remote Data

"Accessing the woodshop at the North Forge Fabrication Lab has allowed me to grow my business and to do interesting work. Without having access to these machines I would probably have had to go into a lot of debt at the beginning of my business. There is also the advantage of being around other business owners for advice and support."

Amy Krahn,Owner, Bow & Arrow Furniture