The RBC EPIC Founders Program is an intensive 12-week startup accelerator program for students and recent graduates who want to turn their ideas into businesses. Participants accepted into this program will receive a stipend of up to $6,000 per person that can be used as seed funding for the business. Program participants will attend weekly workshops and seminars with distinguished guest speakers, receive one-on-one mentorship, one-on-one coaching, attend special events, and have full access to our co-working space; a package valued at over $7,000.
**Please note, due to COVID-19, the first few meetings and sessions may be held virtually.**
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 ideas/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 Final 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 co-working space.
Be eligible for up to $6,000 in stipends.
Pitch their business idea on Final Pitch Day for a chance to win additional cash prizes totaling $4,500.
Receive a certificate of competition upon graduation.
Students currently enrolled in Co-operative Education Program at the University of Windsor may also be eligible to use this program as their Summer 2020 co-op term. In order for this program to be considered as your Summer co-op term, please confirm eligibility with the co-op office by emailing the Program Co-ordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org
What participants will learn:
Our specialized and unique workshops are designed to educate and train these trailblazing startups to be confident in:
The first steps to starting a business are some of the most important. Here, participants will learn the foundational concepts of starting a business, which includes: design thinking, customer discovery process, lean startup methodology and fundamentals of market research.
Marketing Strategies and Communication
A big component to starting your business is developing your own distinctive brand. In this module, participants will learn the basics to building a strong marketing strategy through storytelling, social networking, website design, search engine optimization, traffic building and other forms of digital marketing. Participants will also learn how to effectively communicate to future customers, suppliers, and/ or investors by developing strong presentation and interpersonal skills.
Business Law & Intellectual Property Knowledge
Often, startups will generate many forms of intellectual property. Here, teams will learn more about the different forms of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks and copyright. Teams will also get the opportunity to learn about business structures, including sole proprietorship, partnerships and corporations. It’s important for startups to consider these topics early; in this hands-on module, teams will learn the best strategy that fits their business to maintain a competitive advantage.
For every startup, knowing your cashflow (money coming in and money going out) is pivotal to getting off on the right foot. Here, teams will get a functional understanding of how to determine their unique costs and how to effectively set prices. Participants will also learn how to build detailed financial projections using metric tools and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).
March 30th, 2020: Round 1 – Formal applications open
May 1st, 2020: Formal application deadline
May 11th and 12th: Round 2 – Idea pitch/ interview
May 18th, 2020: Program start date
August 6th, 2020: Final pitch day
August 7th, 2020: Program end date
Students or recent alumni graduated within the last 7 years (post 2013) from any Canadian post-secondary institution.
Must show some evidence of idea validation (customer interviews, expert consultation, completion of EPIC Discovery Program etc.).
Must commit and participate fully (35 hours a week)at EPICentre from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm starting May 18 and ending on August 7, 2020 (excluding holidays) and flexible on some evenings for special events.