YSpace Markham: Startup Innovation Incubator

Ontario’s innovation ecosystem is growing exponentially. With this growth comes the need for more resources for innovators to develop globally-competitive products and services that shape today’s knowledge-based economy. Access to incubation space and entrepreneurial expertise are two areas of support often requested by young, high-growth businesses, but it’s often difficult for these firms to get adequate support.

Fortunately, early-stage companies can apply to join YSpace Markham, a dynamic community of entrepreneurs located in downtown Markham. YSpace is delivered through York University, although entrepreneurs don’t need to be enrolled in an academic program to access it. YSpace Markham is open to all innovators including students, alumni, and community entrepreneurs.

YSpace Markham offers access to incubation space, mentorship, high-end technologies, exclusive events, and funding resources.

To get started, companies must complete a competitive application process that starts with an online application. Those applicants who meet the eligibility criteria are then contacted by YSpace to setup an in-person meeting. Selected companies will then pitch to  the YSpace team and if accepted into the incubator, each startup will commence on a two month free membership trial before becoming paid members.

YSpace Markham: Innovation Incubator

Located in downtown Markham, YSpace Markham provides innovators local access to advanced technologies and entrepreneurship support services. The innovation incubator offers dynamic support to ventures that are ready to scale and achieve the next level of success.

Its approach to the innovation and growth process incorporates a wide range of supports to ensure their users scale efficiently and maximize their chances for future success. Furthermore, YSpace connects their innovators back into York University through research collaboration opportunities and access to talent for potential internships. Endorsed users also gain access to:

  • Incubation Space: YSpace Markham offers access to an inclusive, collaborative environment that supports innovation. By working around other entrepreneurs and having access to other available resources, companies using the incubator have a significant advantage over other companies that don’t.
  • Expertise Mentorship: Industry professionals and serial entrepreneurs frequently visit YSpace to support early-stage businesses across a wide range of growth challenges. This offers new market entrants the ability to learn from years of industry experience and avoid many of entrepreneurship’s common pitfalls.
  • High-End Technologies: 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC Mills can support your product development and help drive innovation. While these technologies are far too costly for young companies to purchase alone, access to shared resources at YSpace can help break through innovation hurdles.
  • Access to Local Events: Networking with other innovators and getting out into the public are some of the best ways to grow companies. YSpace often holds events in partnership with business support services and investors who can give a new perspective on growth and help innovators to thrive.
  • Funding Resources: YSpace provides a critical connection to small business enterprise centres, angel investors, and government funding resources where high-growth companies can access growth capital. Because access to capital is one of the greatest growth barriers facing innovative companies, this is essential for long-term success.

Who’s Eligible to Apply for YSpace?

YSpace Markham seeks eligible students, alumni, and community entrepreneurs from around the Markham area. Because YSpace is a competitive program to access, all applicants must:

  • Have a commercialized product/service or one that could be market-ready within three months;
  • Focus on solving problems using innovative methods;
  • Have high growth potential;
  • Have a founder that can work in YSpace full-time for at least three days per week; and
  • Be driven, coachable, and collaborative.

Access YSpace Markham’s Facilities

169 Enterprise Blvd, 3rd Floor
Markham, ON, L6G 1B3

When you go, be prepared to find YSpace through the Cineplex lobby.

Mentor Works and YSpace: Government Funding for Scaling Product and Service Firms

Mentor Works is excited to provide Canadian government funding expertise and resources to the YSpace Markham community.

There are many perks to participating in YSpace’s incubator program, including the ability to learn from top business mentors. Mentor Works’ team of Government Funding Planners are excited to work with YSpace companies as they seek resources to expand cashflow. Through events and mentorship opportunities, Mentor Works will educate YSpace companies in opportunities to leverage grants and loans.

While most government funding programs are targeted towards established, incorporated SMEs, there are still some grants and incentives that can provide support to early-stage innovators. Through Mentor Works’ relationship with YSpace, participating companies will learn how to access their first government funding programs while also exploring what they need to do to become eligible for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in government funding.

How to Get Started with YSpace Markham

Upon your submission of a comprehensive application that examines your business, YSpace’s team will review the application. If it meets the program’s eligibility criteria, you’ll be contacted to schedule an in-person meeting that further explores your business model and company status.

If your eligibility for YSpace Markham is confirmed, you’ll be called forward to pitch your company to the entire YSpace team and complete other due diligence activities. If YSpace has space and interest in your company at this point, you’ll be granted access to YSpace and all its resources for two months.

Jeff Shepherd holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph. He is passionate about Canadian business, economics, and politics. As Marketing Coordinator for Mentor Works, Jeff educates business leaders about proactive funding strategies.