Finding funds to maintain growth is almost always a challenge for start-ups, and that’s the case for EidoSearch, winner of the Alpha Exchange Innovation Campaign. The company works with traditional investors and luckily has been able to tap into public sector grants to help it along.
“We have received a lot of support through grants in the past and continue to,” said David Kedmey, president and co-founder of EidoSearch.
Co-founder Xiao-Ping (Steven) Zhang, through his role as principal investigator at Ryerson University, received development and commercialization grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) as part of its Ideas to Innovation (I2I) program. The program runs in phases: market assessment, reduction-to-practice, and then a technology enhancement phase.
“This grant gave us our start and we continue the collaboration today, under Phase IIb. It’s allowed for our collaboration with Ryerson University,” Kedmey said. “Several of our hires are former students who worked on the project during their university tenure—an ideal way to build our core development team, made possible through commercialization grants.
“We have (also) received support from the Ontario Centres of Excellence through their Market Readiness and First Job programs, which have helped us build our team, and will play an important role going forward.”
Kedmey also recently reached out to his adviser from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Designed to help accelerate the growth of small and mid-sized businesses through innovation and technology, the program provides advisory services, funding, networking and linkages, and promotes youth employment opportunities.
The program runs a field-based advisory service delivered by more than 210 industrial technology advisors (ITAs) across the country, like Andrew Bauder who acts as the ITA for EidoSearch. He says that the ITAs visit the companies, provide advice, help find opportunities and help fund projects on a cost-sharing basis, where possible. Currently, EidoSearch was deemed eligible for IRAP funding to help employ technical resources for an R&D project.
IRAP works with almost 8,000 SMEs from sea to sea and in Canada’s northern territories. About 6,000 of these entrepreneurs receive advisory services, while 2,000 receive some form of financial support.
Eligibility for IRAP is based on being a profit-oriented, incorporated Canadian SME with less than 500 employees, and showing growth potential and value to the Canadian market. In that way, it’s like proving oneself to any potential investor, only NRC is a non-repayable contribution that doesn’t take equity in the company.
Also, though, “It’s not a one-time pitch,” Bauder noted. “We’re there to advise the companies initially, but as the companies develop we can assist them financially as they mature.”
Backbone will continue to follow EidoSearch’s sales efforts and successes in print and online over the year, as we follow the winners of our Alpha Exchange Innovation Campaign.
Lawrence Cummer is a freelance writer with nearly 20 years of experience writing for periodicals, business and communications agencies. He is former senior writer and editor of the technology trade publications Network World Canada and Communications & Networking Journal, respectively. As well, he has been a senior contributor to a variety of publications.
A frequent writer for Backbone Magazine, Lawrence currently covers a range of topics, including general business, information technology, telecommunications, physical security, occupational safety, and home construction and general contracting. Lawrence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Sue Ansell at November 16, 2012 11:00 AM
Categories: Start Up Innovation Campaign Technology start-ups