What is Innovation Factory?
We are an intellectual property commercialization accelerator in Hamilton, Ontario.
Okay, but what do you actually DO?
We work with entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors, startups, and small-medium businesses to get their companies off the ground or grow their existing companies by helping them successfully develop and launch their patent-protectable ideas.
How much does it cost?
Nothing. The services iF offers our clients are absolutely free – we don’t charge you a fee and we don’t take equity out of your company.
Most of our events and competitions are free too! Occasionally we need to apply a nominal charge for a specialized workshop event like Startup Weekend, and gala events such as LiON’S LAIR require a purchased ticket, but for the most part you can participate in our Acceleration Programs and Cultivation Programs free of charge.
What kind of companies do you help?
We help companies in a broad range of sectors including Agriculture, Cleantech, Energy, Finance, Forestry, Health , ICT (Information, Communication, Technology), Manufacturing, Nanotech, Watertech, CPG (Consumer Product Goods), Service, Social Innovations, and more!
Who is eligible to become a client?
There are two pieces of criteria to become an iF client: you must have intellectual property (IP) – that is, an idea that can be protected by a patent, and you must live in the greater Hamilton area.
What if I don’t have IP?
If you want to start or grow a business but you don’t have a patent protectable idea, contact our friends at the Small Business Enterprise Centre or the CoBALT Exchange – they’d be happy to help you out!
What if I don’t live in Hamilton?
No problem – you can still get lots of great help from the Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) in your area. Visit the ONE website to find the location nearest you!
What does being an iF client mean?
Being an iF client means that you will meet with our experienced advisors as they guide you through our Flight Program (to help you start your business) or our Enterprise Program (to help you grow your business). You will be invited to attend events, encouraged to participate in competitions, and have the opportunity to connect in one-to-many, one-to-one and peer-to-peer environments. Each client experience is unique because our team customizes the advice and programming they recommend to suit each client’s individual needs.
How do I become a client?
You can simply fill out this form, and someone from our client services team will get back to you within five business days to arrange a 1-hour in-person meeting so that we can get to know you, tell you more about our process, and decide if working together makes sense!
If I'm an iF client, can I work with other groups like Small Business Enterprise Centre and CoBALT Exchange?
Sure! We have several clients who work with us and another local organizations.
Do you have money to invest in iF Clients?
We are not a funding agent, but we can assist clients in their search for funding.
Can you introduce me to Angel Investors or Venture Capitalists?
When our advisers agree that you are ready to begin your search for funding, one of the ways they can assist you may include making introductions to Angels or VCs.
What are some of the government programs I can tap into?
Each client is unique in their needs, so our client services team will work with you to determine which programs you are eligible for.
What kind of programs does iF have?
We have two main branches of programming – The Acceleration Program (which includes the Flight Program for startups and the Enterprise Program for growing businesses) and the Cultivation Program which focuses on community development.
If I’m not a client, can I still get involved?
We encourage everyone in Hamilton to get involved in the Innovation Ecosystem through our Cultivation Program! You can participate in some of our competitions, attend many of our networking events or educational seminars, and even volunteer with us in our Volunteer Mentor Network.
How do I know it's safe to share my idea with you?
All iF staff sign non-disclosure agreements upon hire, so anything you share with us will not leave our offices.
Is it safe to share my idea at iF events and competitions?
We foster the spirit of open collaboration at our events, so while we encourage you to talk about your business, there is no need to give away your “secret sauce” – we can help you learn to talk about your business in a way that gets people interested without compromising your IP.
Why should I listen to you?
As an entrepreneur, you know what’s best for your business. Our team offers honest business advice from a broad range of expertise.
Who owns iF?
iF is a not-for-profit organization, accountable to our Board of Directors.
Where do you get your funding?
Are you owned by McMaster University?
Are you owned by the government?
What's the difference between iF and MIP?
MIP is McMaster Innovation Park – a research and business complex located on Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontario. One of the buildings in this complex, The Atrium@MIP, is a co-location hub where we have our offices in Suite 104. We are a tenant of the building and a supporter of the Innovation Community coming together at MIP, but we are a completely individual company.