EPIC Founders Accelerating 2020s

Background EPIC Founders

The EPIC Founders Accelerating 2020s Program is specifically designed for startups and early stage businesses that are ready to take their innovative ideas to market. Today’s economy requires businesses to be agile and find new and creative ways to compete. In this program, ventures will utilize an immersive approach to the Lean Startup Methodology to bring their new product to reality.

This program is not just for physical inventions; new or unique digital ideas are welcome as well! As long as you are in a position to take your validated idea and turn it into something your customers can potentially see, hold, or interact with; this program is for you!

The 4-month program is split into 2 phases:

Phase 1 – Customer Discovery and Problem-Solution fit
The best way to find out what your customers’ pain-points are and how you can help them is by talking to them! In this phase, ventures will learn how to gain insight from potential customers (and competition) through hands-on training in survey creation and implementation, interview techniques, and focus groups. Startups will also learn how to analyse their findings and turn that information into actionable adjustments to their proposed idea / invention. These will be the first steps towards their first minimum viable product (MVP) or prototype.

Phase 2 – Prototype Creation and Market Validation
In the second phase, ventures will take what they have learned and apply it to the creation and refinement of a prototype/MVP. This might be a 3D printed model, a full-scale mock-up, or a digital rendering. Ventures will also learn how to evaluate their product-market fit by testing their prototype / MVP with potential customers. During this phase the startups will get guidance from industry members in their field to help them bring their creation from an idea to a tangible product. Participants will have access to the EPIC Marker’s Base as part of this program (Covid-19 regulations permitting).

This program is valued at over $7,500 and is 100% free of cost to all participants. Now is your opportunity to build and test your ideas; start by applying today!

 

Application now closed! Thank you for your interest

  • You can demonstrate some evidence of idea validation and have undertaken some primary and secondary market research
  • Your startup/ new venture has a unique value proposition
  • You have or anticipate working towards an initial mock-up of your product/solution in the near future
  • The business will be (or is) based in Windsor-Essex
  • The business is 2 years old or less (the business can be early stage, as long as you meet the criteria above)
  • The business (or proposed business) must be structured as a for-profit enterprise

The EPIC Founders Program is designed to help you take your innovative idea for a physical or digital product and craft it into a business that is prepared to drive change in the new economy.

Throughout the 4-month program, participants will learn key skills, competencies and know-how on topics such as:

  • Leadership, teamwork and communication
  • In-depth problem-solution fit training
  • In-depth customer discovery training
  • Intellectual property fundamentals
  • Product development and design strategy
  • Lean methodology and iterative prototyping strategies

Participants selected for this program can also expect:

  • Access to virtual workshops and events with distinguished guest speakers
  • Access to 3D printers and other prototyping equipment (COVID-19 regulations permitting)
  • Regular virtual group meetings with the cohort
  • Bi-weekly virtual meetings with our EPIC Program Lead
  • Regular virtual meetings with a dedicated mentor
  • Regular virtual meetings with industry experts
  • Connection with EPICentre’s network of entrepreneurs and community members
  • Tools and resources specific to your business

Please note: EPICentre is driven to help meet the needs of the program participants; therefore, all meeting dates and times will be determined by the availability of the program participants (this will be determined when the final candidates are selected). Program participants should expect to commit 15-20 hours a month for all program related activities. All activities will be hosted virtually for the duration of this program.

Startups and new ventures selected for this program will:

  • Have the opportunity to present their business to a panel of judges at the end of the program for a chance to win a $3,500 cash prize, sponsored by The RBC Foundation
  • Have access to up to $2,500 in funding on eligible business expenses such as:
    • Marketing activities – website design and hosting, print marketing, digital marketing and business cards
    • Accounting services – bookkeeping, taxes, and technology adoption
    • Product Development – prototyping, 3D printing, program development, and other technical support services
    • Legal Services – incorporation registration, and assistance with intellectual property (trademarks, copyright, patents, etc.)
    • Other Support – additional qualifying expenses at the discretion of the program administration

Applications now closed, thank you for your interest!

Applications open: Friday, September 25th

Applications close: 11:59 pm Thursday, October 15th

Final candidates selected by: Friday, October 23rd

Program Start Date & Orientation: Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Final Pitch/ Program End Date: Friday, February 26th, 2021

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QUESTIONS

Contact paul.brereton@uwindsor.ca with any questions.