There are still a few days left to apply for the winter 2019 Venture Validation Program, or VVP, for early-stage ventures in Saint John.

VVP is the most popular of the Navigator programs and services offered by Enterprise Saint John for startups in Greater Saint John.

“The VVP is a 13-week cohort-based program that helps entrepreneurs with just an idea develop their concept into something they can bring to market,” said Dakota Lutes, Entrepreneur Development Officer, in an email.

“There is a wide range of backgrounds and idea readiness among the 12-person cohort. We’ve had MBAs and PhDs participate as well as individuals that have only a high school diploma.”

Lutes said the program delves into the fundamentals any business needs to address: engaging with customers to discover pain points and develop value propositions; business modelling; market sizing; competitive differentiation; financial modelling; and pitching.

The group runs three cohorts a year, in winter, spring and fall.

“We’ve run five cohorts since the program launched in April 2017. Since then we’ve had 62 people participate in the program, 40 complete it, and 24 launch a company,” said Lutes.

Companies participating in the current cohort are very early stage but beginning to experience growth.

“Our programs, in their current form, are still only two years old and growing rapidly, so we’re just approaching the timeframe where a few of our oldest companies will be entering their high growth stage soon. We expect a few of them to gain traction quickly in 2019,” said Lucas Loughead, Entrepreneur Development Coordinator.

He said current participating ventures include a diverse range of companies:

BioHuntress Therapeutics is a biotechnology start-up dedicated to commercializing patented research around a potential cure for blood cancers. Its full patent was submitted in October. 

Botrow Technologies is developing a cashless payment system for small to mid-size city transit authorities. It has partnered with Saint John Transit as an early adopter.

Enso is a premium wine canning company. Enso is dedicated to putting some best available wines into small cans from around the world, eliminating the hassle of bottles and making it easy to access a variety of premium wines. The cans are 250ml and will be sold for $7 per can. Currently available at some local bars and through special order online, scheduled to hit the shelves of NB Liquor stores in the next week or two.

Four Eyes Financial is developing a wealth management technology platform for independent financial advisors. The company currently has two paying customers and is closing its second round of investment. 

Millennia Tea appeared (and received an offer) on Dragon’s Den and won the global award for Most Innovative New Product at the 2017 World Tea Expo. It has created a new category of tea – fresh, whole tea leaves -- and is available in 35 stores and online.

Tayana Solutions is developing machine learning software to provide insights and automation to accounts receivable departments within large corporations.  Tayana is still seeking an early adopter.

Applications are due Jan 11. You can register by emailing Lutes at: