RBC EPIC Founders

Background EPIC Founders

The Founders Program is an intensive 12-week accelerator program for early-stage founders looking to learn how to a build a viable startup business model.

Over the course of 12-weeks, participants will receive up to $6,000 as a participation award, have access to dynamic, mentors and coaches, as well as the opportunity to attend tailored workshops, training seminars, and special events. 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.

The total package for this program is valued at over $7,000 and is 100% free of cost to all participants.

Each participant must be available in-person every Monday through Wednesday, from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm starting May 13 to July 31, 2024, excluding holidays, as well as August 13 for final pitches. We allow accommodations for part-time students enrolled in summer courses. Please detail the accommodation request on your application. If you have further inquiries, please contact us.

This program typically supports early-stage founders looking to learn how to a build a viable startup business model.

To be eligible for this program, you must:

  • Have a startup idea that demonstrates uniqueness, innovation, and scalability.
  • Possess knowledge or experience relevant to your idea or solution.
  • Have taken meaningful steps toward developing your idea such as creating an early prototype and/or engaging with potential customers.
  • Have a business idea that is structured as a for-profit enterprise.
  • Be a current student or recent graduate within the last 7 years (Post 2017) from the University of Windsor.

The program also looks for startups with multiple team members. Startups with one founder can apply, however, teams are encouraged. Teams of two or more will only be funded for two of their participants.

In this program, participants will utilize an immersive approach to bring their new and innovative ideas to reality. Teams will be directed to test their ideas and 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 work toward validating their value proposition and business models. The program will culminate on Final Pitch and Demo 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.

Throughout the 12-week program, participants will learn key skills, competencies, and know-how on topics such as:

  • Problem-solution fit
  • Customer discovery
  • Intellectual property fundamentals
  • Lean startup methodology and iterative prototyping strategies
  • Pitching and public speaking

Participants selected for this program will:

  • Be eligible for up to $6,000 as a participation award (Max 2 funded participants per team)
  • Access to EPICentre’s co-working space
  • Have access to dynamic mentors and coaches
  • Attend exclusive in-person and virtual events with distinguished guest speakers
  • Pitch their startup on final pitch and demo day for a chance to win an additional cash prizes totalling $4,500
  • Connect with EPICentre’s network of entrepreneurs and community members

Applications are now open!

Start your journey here!

Application Dates

Formal applications open: Thursday, March 28, 2024

Formal application deadline: Sunday, April 28, 2024, at 5:00 pm

Second round pitch presentations: Wednesday, May 1, 2024, and Thursday, May 2, 2024

Second round pitch presentation details

Successful candidates from round one (formal application) will be asked to meet in person with the screening committee. Formal presentation slides are optional. Scheduling information will be sent in advance. Successful candidates from this round will be admitted into the 2024 Founders program.

Key Program Dates

Program start date: Monday, May 13, 2024

Final pitch competition and program end date: Tuesday, August 13, 2024

Info Sessions

Logo EPIC Founders
QUESTIONS

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