Spark Innovation Challenge. Info Kit innovacorp.ca/spark

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1 innovacorp.ca/spark

2 INTRODUCTION With five successful rounds of the under our belt four in Cape Breton and one in western Nova Scotia it s time to ignite the start-up community in a bigger way. That s right, we re taking Spark province-wide. Spark is a competition for early stage technology companies in Nova Scotia. Winners receive up to $50,000 and guidance from seasoned business professionals to put their ideas into action. This year, Spark is being held in four geographic regions covering all of Nova Scotia. The four competitions will run simultaneously. Each region will operate independently, with its own applicant pool, judging committee and award funding. The competition regions are outlined below. Spark is presented by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Innovacorp. We understand that, more than ever, a strong and vibrant economy in our province requires continuous innovation and the creation of new Nova Scotia technology companies. Early stage companies evolve over time to become major employers in the community and encourage a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation key ingredients for a region s prosperity. The purpose of Spark is to find and support these innovations and companies. p. 1

3 ELIGIBILITY Entrants must be a start-up based in one of the four competition regions (West, North, Cape Breton, Halifax). They must have a new knowledge-based product or service with zero sales revenue since inception. Funds awarded will be used to support the completion of prototypes or preparation for taking the product or service to market. Entrants must be the majority owner(s) (51 per cent or more) of the start-up and plan to work full-time with the business in the competition region. We re especially interested in start-ups from the information technology, life sciences, clean technology and ocean technology sectors. However, we welcome submissions for any innovation with big market potential. Winners of Innovacorp s I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition and/or previous Spark competitions are ineligible to apply to Spark with the same product or service from the winning submission, but may apply with a different product or service and a different company. Innovacorp investment portfolio companies are ineligible for this competition. Eligibility Defined Based in Nova Scotia The head office is located in one of our four Spark regions and the business is or will be registered there by October 26, 2017, when the pitches will be made to judges. Entrants apply in the region where the business is located. The regions include: Spark West entrants must be based in western Nova Scotia (i.e., Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby, Annapolis, Kings and Hants counties) Spark North entrants must be based in northern Nova Scotia (i.e., Guysborough, Antigonish, Pictou, Colchester and Cumberland counties) Spark Cape Breton entrants must be based in Cape Breton Island (i.e., Inverness, Richmond, Victoria and Cape Breton counties) Spark Halifax entrants must be based in Halifax county Start-up Start-up refers only to sales revenue and not to the number of years in business. To qualify as a start-up for Spark, the business has had zero sales revenue since inception. New knowledge-based product or service The business proposition must be a unique technology product or service that cannot be easily duplicated. p. 2

4 EVALUATION Entries will be evaluated based on the following Innovacorp criteria: Technology: Uniqueness and significance of products/services, current stage of development, proprietary position People: Background and entrepreneurial track record of key individuals, ability to execute strategy, commitment to venture Market: Large, growing international market Competition: High barrier to competitive entry Viability and Fundability: Investment potential and credible plan to reach key milestones Each region will have a five-member judging committee with representatives from the private and public sectors. All submissions will be treated confidentially and will not be made available to the public. Only those directly involved in managing or judging the competition will view submitted documents. ACCELERATION BOOT CAMP Shortlisted entrants will have the opportunity to participate in the Spark Acceleration Boot Camp. The two-week program will offer a variety of business-building skills and support to help participants accelerate the development of their businesses and prepare for the final round of Spark when they will pitch to the judging committee. The acceleration program is tailored to each cohort to provide the support and guidance participants need most. Some of the program offerings are: Pitch Training: Entrants learn how to put a pitch together, how to tailor the pitch for investment, how to deliver the pitch Value Proposition Workshop: Entrants learn how to identify where a product/service adds the most value and to which customers Accountant Coaching: Entrants spend time with an experienced chartered professional accountant to hone the business and financial model Alumni Lunch: Entrants spend time with and learn from past Innovacorp competition winners AWARDS Winners will receive up to $50,000 in non-dilutive, non-repayable funding (based on expense claims) as well as guidance from seasoned business professionals. The amount awarded will be determined by the judging committee. A total of $200,000 will be awarded in each region. Awards are intended to be used to support the completion of prototypes or preparation for taking the product or service to market. In the unlikely event there is low participation in the competition and none of the submissions meet the criteria, the judges reserve the right to withhold awards and determine the best path forward to accomplish the competition s goals. p. 3

5 SPARK COMPETITION TIMELINE Date Monday, August 28, 2017 Thursday, September 21, 2017 Thursday, October 5, 2017 October 10 October 24, 2017 October 26 October 31, 2017 Wednesday, November 1, 2017 Activity Competition launch Submission deadline Shortlisted entrants notified Spark acceleration boot camp Pitches and judging Winners notified APPLICATION Round One Summary Submission Complete the Microsoft Word business summary template available on our website, answering the questions in the boxes provided. Submit the document at by Thursday, September 21, 2017, at 5:00 pm AST. A confirmation receipt will be sent by . Please note that Innovacorp is unable to accommodate updates once summaries are submitted. Shortlisted entrants will be notified by October 5, 2017, and will make their pitches to the judging panel between October 26 October 31, Winners will be notified by November 1, Round Two Pitch Round two participants will each have 10 minutes to present their business overview followed by a 10-minute question and answer session. A projector, screen and computer will be available in the presentation room. Round two participants must provide an electronic copy of their presentation 24 hours before their scheduled pitch time. All Spark winners will be notified by November 1, 2017, and a public announcement will follow soon after. Feedback will be provided to all shortlisted entrants. CONFIDENTIALITY All submissions will be treated confidentially and will not be made available to the public. Only those directly involved in managing or judging the competition will view submitted documents. While summary details will not be disclosed, the competition organizers reserve the right to announce those who advance to subsequent competition rounds. Questions can be directed to Megan Maltby, Program Coordinator, Innovacorp, at ext. 1147, ext. 1147, or p. 4

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