Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the Canadian economy, creating almost half of all jobs and generating nearly a third of our gross domestic product. Despite the important role these companies play when it comes to ensuring economic prosperity for our country, they continue to experience challenges related to accessing capital. Lacking both a credit history and the collateral needed to secure a loan, over 80% of Canadian start-ups used personal financing to finance their new businesses in 2014.
It is often young entrepreneurs who feel the full weight of this challenge. Saddled by school debt and lacking an extensive credit history and collateral, the odds are stacked against them. Futurpreneur Canada was founded in 1996 to address this challenge – to help young people build strong Canadian companies. The only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39, Futurpreneur has supported over 8,000 companies with initial start-up support.
However, the support provided by Futurpreneur is only a piece of the puzzle. It takes a village to raise a start-up – something that NACO understands well. In addition to much needed growth financing, Angels provide experience, access to networks and knowledge to these young companies. And together, Futurpreneur and Angel investors play a key role in supporting the lifecycle of Canada’s successful companies.
Spotlight on Hexa Foods
With support from Futurpreneur in 2015, Philippe Poirier, Paul Shenouda and Mathieu Poirier started their business, Hexa Foods, a Montreal-based company that develops, manufactures and sells eco-friendly and radically sustainable pet foods made with edible insects. Their first brand, BugBites, is a line of premium dog treats made with cricket protein and natural and recognizable ingredients, without preservatives or artificial flavours. The financing received from Futurpreneur helped these entrepreneurs take their company from research and development to production.
Less than a year later, Anges Quebec members signed on to support Hexa Foods with a $315,000 investment to support the launch of the company’s new Wilder and Harrier brand identity.
“Hexa Foods has all the ingredients it needs to succeed. Along with its innovative products, the company’s founders have the wide-ranging expertise necessary to grow the business and reach new heights,” said Stéphane Chevigny, the lead Anges Québec investor on the file.
“Government funding has been critical to the development of the start-up ecosystem and platforms like Futurpreneur are increasing the success of start-ups in Canada. The influx of this early stage funding helps de-risk and launch businesses that can then be backed by Angel Investors with further investment and support. Without this assistance, Angels and Canada itself would miss out on many companies that could be the next unicorn” commented Managing Director of New Avenue Capital and 2016 Canadian Angel of the Year, Manny Padda.
Spotlight on Skip the Dishes
When Joshua Simair started working with Futurpreneur in Saskatoon to launch a start-up, he didn’t expect to move to Manitoba and share an office with the Winnipeg Futurpreneur team who would work to support the growth and success of his company, Skip the Dishes. Joshua and his team created a food delivery platform that focuses on lower density metropolitan and suburban areas and has a selection of more than 2,900 unique restaurants and 350,000 active customers. Canadian technology-sector success story, Skip the Dishes grew from one desk to 10,000 square foot building, operations across North America and a $110 million acquisition.
This success story would not have been possible without the support of the full ecosystem including government agencies, non-profit organizations and Angel investors.
Spotlight on Permission Click
Permission Click is a company and a cloud-based platform that creates digital permission slips and facilitates payment collection for kindergarten to grade 12 schools, allowing parents to approve attendance and pay for events in seconds on any device. At the annual NACO Summit in 2014, Permission Click beat out 14 competitors to win the title of Most Promising Startup of the Year, presented by KPMG Enterprise. Since receiving support from Futurpreneur in 2014, this company has grown considerably and last year closed a successful seed round of $1.75M.
Supporting Young Entrepreneurs Together
NACO and Futurpreneur are proud to support entrepreneur like Hexa Foods, Skip the Dishes and Permission Click and we look forward to developing more opportunities to grow Canada’s economy by supporting these talented young people.
If you know an early-stage company that isn’t yet ready for Angel financing but could benefit from Futurpreneur’s start-up support, please refer them to Futurpreneur (contact information below).
If you know an early-stage company that isn’t yet ready for Angel financing but could benefit from Futurpreneur’s start-up support, please refer them to Futurpreneur (contact information below). Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada Key Small Business Statistics June 2016