About this Program
The Western Accelerator Summer Program is a VIRTUAL opportunity for early-stage startups to accelerate the growth of their business. Over the course of 12 weeks, teams accepted into the program will receive education and training on how to grow from a minimum viable product (MVP) to being sales-ready.
Who we are
Launched in January 2017, the Western Accelerator provides an intense, rapid and immersive education for prospective entrepreneurs. Our goal is to accelerate the life cycle of high potential ventures and to compress a year’s worth of learning into a few months for our entrepreneurs.
The Western Accelerator is a critical component of the cross-campus Western Entrepreneurship ecosystem and is open to Western students, faculty, and recent alumni with an expectation of a full-time commitment.
What to Expect
During their time in the accelerator, teams can expect:
• Weekly Programming: half-day virtual educational sessions on leadership, sales, investors, pitch skills, etc. as well as mentoring sessions with successful entrepreneurs
• Join virtual networking events with successful entrepreneurs, industry experts, investors and service providers
• Participate in “Amplify” at the end of program—a dynamic virtual event where teams deliver their idea and business plans to an audience from the local entrepreneurship, business and investment communities
• Monthly milestone meetings to discuss your progress and to set goals for the upcoming month
• Receive a $3,000 per month stipend
• The opportunity to apply for the MITACS Entrepreneur International Program
As part of your Western Accelerator experience, you can expect to participate in a weekly virtual workshop that will give you the education and real-world feedback that you need to launch your business. Workshop topics can include:
• Create Your Vision
• Early Adopters
• Value Proposition
• SEO Bootcamp
• Pitch Workshops
• Setup Your Accounting
• Social Media Planning
• Facebook Ads
• B2C Sales
• Trade Shows and Markets
We look for teams who have a high potential to scale and who meet the following criteria:
Accepted teams must:
• Have at least one founder must have a connection to Western (Student, Faculty, Staff or Alumni)
• Must be willing to contribute a full-time effort (Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
• Must have decision-making ability
• Must participate in all Western Accelerator events, workshops and competitions throughout the program duration.
What we look for
We look for startups who have a minimum viable product; something that is ready to be tested and validated by potential customers. If you are still in the idea or build stage, you may not be a good fit for the Accelerator yet. Teams who are in early stages can find great resources available for you at Western’s Propel Entrepreneurship Centre.
Competitive applications for the Accelerator are startups who have high potential to scale (i.e. have IP and/or have a clear competitive advantage addressing a large potential market). We also look for a founding team who have the skills, ability and determination to launch their product offering into the market.
Teams applying to the Accelerator should have a functioning prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) that can be offered to their customers.
You don’t have to have every feature or offering built and ready to sell. In fact, we encourage you to test your MVP early and often so you can build and shape your business based on customer feedback.
Entrance to the Accelerator is a competitive process. We accept 8-10 teams for the summer program.
There are three parts to the application to the Western Accelerator Summer Program.
Stage 1 - All teams are required to submit a written application that consists of:
1. Write a one-page letter stating why you believe you will benefit from
participation in the Western Accelerator and how you will contribute to
2. Create a 10-page slide deck to describe your business. Please follow the
guidelines provided by Sequoia Capital: https://www.sequoiacap.com/article/writing-a-business-plan/#
3. A 60 second video of you pitching your business. Production quality is not important! Please feel free to use your phone to record your pitch. We are looking for people who are passionate about their idea.
Stage 2 - Applications are reviewed, and the top ranked teams will have the opportunity to pitch their business to a selection committee. Each team has 10 minutes to pitch their startup, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A.
- Funds up to $9k per team
- Takes up to 0.0% equity
- Accepts 8 companies
Business Products, Business Services, Computers and Peripherals, Consumer Products, Consumer Services