Now that we’re well into January, there are programs and funding initiatives for entry-level entrepreneurs opening up around the region.

There is an endless parade of budding entrepreneurs who need to test their ideas in early-stage programs and try to assess whether their ideas could produce a marketable product. Others need help with prototyping or protecting intellectual property.

Here are a few examples of programs that can help with this and are accepting applications:

The B4C Start Program

Pond-Deshpande Centre


This introductory program is an accessible way to see if that idea in the back of your head is worth trying.

It is for people with business ideas but still working at another job. It is designed for someone who would like a structure to keep them accountable as they start their business. The winter program will run from Feb 21 to April 17, and will be offered again in the summer. It costs $250, and early-bird rates are still available for the summer program. 

The Evolution Program


St. John’s

Evolution is Genesis’ pre-incubator program – an eight-week intensive program for early-stage tech startups. With experiential learning at the core of the program, Evolution instructs entrepreneurs to engage their potential customers, while receiving mentorship from Genesis’ extensive advisor network. The program helps entrepreneurs quickly identify their markets, validate their idea, and find problem-solution fit.

The program ends with its Pitch & Pick event, in which some participants present their business idea to a live audience, which includes industry professionals, investors, public-sector funders and other entrepreneurs.

Evolution courses begin in January, June and October.

Early Stage Commercialization Fund


Nova Scotia

The Early Stage Commercialization Fund, or ESCF, helps move Nova Scotia university, college and university-affiliated hospital research to market, providing as much as $50,000 for each project.

ESCF aims to support technology that has reached or is close to a prototype or proof-of-concept, so that it’s easy to see how it will produce revenue. It aims for researchers who are almost ready to engage with industry partners or seek investment.

The money can be used to assess market potential, develop go-to-market strategies, perform strategic planning, protect intellectual property protection strategies, or for other uses.

The deadline for submissions for the winter round of ESCF is Feb. 12.