Program Overview

Innovation Factory hosts a range of key events and workshops throughout the year and provides valuable programs for entrepreneurs at various stages. Learn about them below!

Don’t forget to see our events calendar for a full listing of iF and community events.



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LiON’S LAIR is an annual competition presented byInnovation Factory and The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, that brings together the entrepreneurship and innovation community in Hamilton. The competition gives 10 companies the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of our city’s top business experts – the “Lions” – for a chance to win over $100,000 in cash and in-kind resources. Learn more.
The Synapse Life Science Competition is designed to help move innovative life science products and services out of the lab and into the market, by pairing up life science innovators with business and entrepreneurship students. Learn more.
ELEV8 is a program that showcases companies who have a product in-market (or close to launch) in an investment-style pitch presentation. The event is designed to help connect our Partners, Volunteer Mentors and the Hamilton community with up-and-coming startups, is open to the public, and awards cash prizing to the Pitch Night winners. Learn more. 



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Our Lunch ‘n Learn events take place nine times a year and are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a complimentary lunch and learning something new. Keynote speakers include industry experts that share their wisdom on a topic of relevance to our ecosystem of innovators and entrepreneurs. Learn more.
Sales Peer2Peer sessions are great opportunities for business professionals from all industries and companies to collaborate with each other, share sales best practices, and network with peers. Each session features a guest speaker specializing in an aspect of sales strategy. Learn more.
Often times, our clients will express interest in learning about a specific trend or topic in order to better understand the business landscape. Our workshops bring in experts from a broad range of industries, leading interactive discussions on anything from Bitcoin to content marketing.


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The Forge is an accelerator designed to assist youth entrepreneurs in Hamilton. A partnership between McMaster University and iF, The Forge includes dedicated space and programming intended to fast-track the growth of high-potential new ventures that can contribute to the local economy and produce the next wave of technology-driven companies in Hamilton. Learn more.

startup programming

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The MaRS Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Intensive Program is a set of workshops that is run three times a year (Fall, Winter and Summer Intensives). It’s a great opportunity for highly motivated entrepreneurs to take their startups or small-medium businesses to the next level, and has become popular as a bootcamp for local innovators. Learn more.
The MentorUp program is designed to give a select group of startups the opportunity to present their business challenges to a group of Innovation Factory's Volunteer Mentors and get candid, valuable feedback from seasoned experts. Learn more.


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The LiFT program is designed to help small/medium enterprises identify the challenges within their current stage and scope of growth. We work with our client to build a tailored innovation assessment specific to their needs, and they have access to industry experts, programs, and other resources to overcome the obstacles they may face in meeting the challenges of a global market. Learn more.