The RBC EPIC Founders Program is an intensive 12-week accelerator program for students and recent graduates aspiring to launch a business. Participants will receive a stipend of up to $6,000 per venture team to discover their entrepreneurial dreams.
RBC EPIC Founders follows the Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup approach, a step-by-step business development method created by serial entrepreneurs Alex Osterwalder, Eric Ries, and Steve Blank. Teams will be directed to “test” their assumptions by getting out of the building and talking to potential customers. The program will be augmented with guest speakers, subject matter experts, and mentors as teams attempt to validate their value proposition and business models. The program will culminate on Pitch Day, giving participants the opportunity to pitch their idea and prototype to a panel of judges for a chance to win additional cash prizes valued at $4,500.
Startups selected for this program will:
Be connected with an experienced mentor
Have full access to our state-of-the-art co-working space to work on their business idea, host meetings, and give presentations
Be eligible for up to $6,000 in grants
Pitch their business idea at the end of the program for a chance to win an additional $3,500
What participants will learn:
Our specialized and unique workshops are designed to educate and train these trailblazing startups to be confident in:
Startup Principles The first steps to starting a business are some of the most important! Here, participants will learn the foundational concepts of starting a business including lean startup methodology, the fundamentals of research, and how to identify customer segments
Operations Principles With the foundation set, start-ups need to learn how to effectively communicate and interact with their team, their suppliers and customers, as well as how to grow their network. This module focuses on running a business efficiently with topics such as Time management, business communications, networking, and negotiations
Business Law Starting a business that involves cutting edge technology often generates a lot of intellectual property. Here [participants] will learn the basics of patents, trademarks, and copyrights that will help them maintain their competitive advantage.
Marketing Principles A new idea is only as good as an entrepreneur’s ability to communicate it! Here, the [teams] will work on building a brand identity and telling their story. They will also gain understanding about potential customers; from how and when they decide to buy, to how to sell to them.
Entrepreneurial Finance So, you have a great idea, and your customers say they want it… How much should you charge? Cashflow is one of the biggest barriers to bringing the next great idea to market. Here, participants will get a functional understanding of how to measure their costs and set their prices as well as build functional financial projections. They will also learn about other sources of funding to help them grow.
March 30, 2020: Round 1 – Formal applications open
April 21, 2020: Formal application deadline
April 27, 28 & 29: Round 2 – Idea pitch/ interview
May 4, 2020: Program start date
July 23, 2020: Final pitch day
July 24, 2020: Program end date
University of Windsor and St. Clair College students or recent alumni graduated within the last 7 years (post 2013)
Business idea must be based in Windsor, Ontario
Must show some evidence of attempted idea validation (customer interviews, expert consultation, attendance in EPICentre events or programming etc.)
Must work 35 hours a week at EPICentre from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm starting May 4 and ending on July 24, 2020 (excluding holidays)
Must be available for EPIC Mentors Networking Night – Date TBA
Must be available for Final Pitch Day on July 23, 2020