The Runway Accelerator is a support program delivered by Innovation Factory to immigrant entrepreneurs applying to Canada’s Start-up Visa Program. Are you thinking of moving your business to Canada?
Canada's Start-up Visa Program
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program offers Canadian Permanent Residence to immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build a business in Canada. The program targets companies that are innovative, can create jobs for Canadians, and can compete on a global scale. If you have an innovative business, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.
To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:
- Have a qualifying business
- Get a letter of support from a designated organization
- Meet the language requirements
- Bring enough money to settle
What is Innovation Factory's role?
Innovation Factory (iF) is a business accelerator located in Hamilton, Ontario. We provide innovative companies with expert advise and mentorship, training and workshops, and connections to resources, funding, and partners. Our services help companies bring disruptive technologies to market, leverage intellectual property, increase revenue, attract investment, and create jobs.
Innovation Factory is recognised as a designated organization that is approved to support start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program. We review submitted proposals and assess whether the business has the potential to succeed. If we choose to support the business, we will issue a Letter of Support.
iF's Runway Accelerator
The Runway Accelerator is a six-month comprehensive program that aims to assess, select, and support start-ups as they work through the Start-up Visa Program. Companies accepted into this program receive customized services and resources that help them set their business up for success in Canada, along with a Letter of Support.
We currently prioritize applications from companies in the life sciences and smart transportation sectors. That said, we are always excited to hear from businesses commercializing extraordinary innovations. If this sounds like your company, we encourage you to apply to our Runway Accelerator.
Our Executive Advisors
Companies participating in the Runway Accelerator are paired with one of our highly-skilled and experienced Executive Advisors to assist them with their business goals. For the duration of the engagement, your advisor will provide your team with executive mentorship, industry knowledge, and insight into business in Canadian markets. Our team will match your business to an advisor with the relevant background to meet your needs.
30+ years CPG in international C suite marketing and CEO positions South Africa, UK, The Netherlands and Canada including 15 years in leading and managing companies at Sara Lee corp. Founder of Plutus Consulting group, and an EA/EA at IF for at least 8 years.
Rajiv has over 20 years of experience across diverse industries, including Telecom, Pharmaceutical, and Retail. He has held senior roles in verticals servicing consumer, business, enterprise markets, and resellers. During this tenure, he has built multi-disciplinary teams that include sales, product, marketing, network planning/operations, and service. The various business operations have spanned across Canada, the US, the Philippines, and India, requiring relentless planning, execution, team building/collaboration, pipeline management, forecasting methodologies, and continuous customer focus. Rajiv has also served on public and private company Boards of Directors, where he was a key member of various committees involved in corporate planning, business strategy, strategic partnerships, P&L, finance, LOB management, venture capital, corporate governance, and Mergers, Acquisitions & integrations.
Neha’s engagement with start-ups has been as varied working as a Partner in a Venture Capital firm, investing in globally-scaling businesses to heading up one of Canada’s oldest and most respected incubators (Toronto Business Development Centre) and approving visas for hundreds of founders from more than fifteen countries and twenty different market sectors.
Having worked with over 3000 entrepreneurs and supported start-ups in scaling, raising funds, and disrupting global markets, Neha has unique insights into what makes a scalable success possible. As a former executive at a venture capital firm focused on India and an institutional leader in the Canadian start-up ecosystem, she has had an exceptionally rare view into what it takes for a founder to excel within a global landscape.
Nima Khadem Mohtaram
Nima Khadem Mohtaram
Nima is an executive and director of several start-up companies in the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem and an active business coach, angel investor. Nima brings skills and expertise in business development and fundraising to the start-ups he mentors. He is a seasoned leader who has served as the President of the Canadian Biomaterials Society and is a former professor of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Nima is a serial entrepreneur and has over 18 years of experience in developing and leading numerous projects in life sciences, advanced materials, and manufacturing.
Mr. Thomas (Tom) Moffatt is a senior operations, sales, marketing, and retailing executive with an extensive background in corporate mergers and acquisitions, franchise, corporate retail, and consulting, particularly in the pharmaceutical environment.
Tom gained extensive experience in franchise and corporate retailing during his tenure of more than 20 years at Shoppers Drug Mart, where he honed his analytical skills, specifically in finance, marketing, communications, P&L, merchandising, and corporate strategy. He rose through the ranks from Director Operations Ontario West to National Vice-President Operations and Strategy where he was charged with the repositioning of Shoppers Drug Mart in the Canadian market.
Following his wide-ranging career at Shoppers Drug Mart, Tom joined World Vintners Inc. where he was Senior Vice-President Retail and Corporate Development, Corporate Secretary, and President Retail. From 2010 to 2015, he was Senior Director of Mergers and Acquisitions/Pharmacy Operations at Loblaw Companies Ltd. and participated in the successful acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart. Prior to the Shoppers Drug Mart acquisition by Loblaw, he headed the analysis, negotiation, acquisition, and integration of the Zellers Pharmacy unit into the Loblaw pharmacy group.
Tom was most recently the Chief Operating Office and Vice President Operations at Rx Drug Mart Inc., now Neighbourly Pharmacies Inc., where he was responsible for the growth, marketing, and development of all operations for more than 50 stores, including marketing, personnel, and strategic activities.
Tom graduated from the Humber Institute of Technology and Applied Learning with a Bachelor of Business Administration and has completed the Executive Development Program at York University’s Schulich School of Business.
Gail completed her undergraduate Honours BSc in Microbiology at the University of Glasgow, UK, in 1998, her Ph.D. in Cell Biology at the University of Manchester, UK, in 2003 and her Postdoctoral Fellowship in Regenerative Medicine (CIHR funded) in 2007, at McMaster University.
Dr. Martin transferred to Business Development and Administration in 2007 in the McMaster Industry Liaison Office, and later at McGill University. Protecting intellectual property and moving technologies from academia to society, engaging industry partners to maximize the social and economic impact of university technologies from a broad range of sectors including biotech, aerospace, natural resources, and pharma.
As Executive Director of The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton, Gail supervised the research administration team providing full services, including financial oversight, contract review, lab management, IT support services, and research marketing and public relations efforts to researchers, the Research Institute, and other stakeholders.
Gail is a co-founder of McMaster HealthLabs and serves as the CEO & Strategic Partnerships Director. McMaster HealthLabs (MHL) is a non-profit organization focused on curbing the human, economic and social costs of COVID-19 through research initiatives and testing solutions. MHL’s scientific research informs evidence-based decisions that keep Canadians safe and accelerate business recovery. MHL works with scientists and doctors who are affiliated with McMaster University, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton, and other Canadian Universities and research organizations.
After selling his business, Oren has spent the past 10+ years working with, and advising, dozens of early-to-medium stage firms on driving top line revenue growth, while maximizing EBITDA performance – with a strong alignment to fundraising goals and exit strategies. Through these engagements, Oren has helped his clients and partners raise tens of millions of dollars and grow into new markets and geographies. After two decades of large multinational corporate experience in the Telecommunications space, leading large cross-functional teams in Consumer, Business and Wholesale segments, Oren took leadership of his first company; An analytics and business intelligence firm (ABS Systems). Focusing the company strategy on Ontario healthcare, Oren was able to drive double digit growth, leading to an eventual sale to a large Canadian firm. Oren subsequently spent time on the west coast where he helped exit another mid-stage technology firm to a large US internet provider. His experience and passion lie in driving mutually beneficial partnerships that provide long term stability and growth, often with an M&A or investment component. Oren has successfully delivered partnerships and exits with companies like UBER, Cathay Pacific, TELUS Communications, Montreal Impact, Google, Samsung, LG, and more Oren holds two masters’ degrees in business and law respectively and sits on the Board of Directors of A smile of A Child Foundation as well as the Advisory Board for The George Washington University School of Business. He lives in Toronto with his wonderful wife, two children and Chocolate Lab, Chloe.
Randy has over 30 years of enterprise B2B sales experience in software and computer hardware. He has worked with a variety of start-ups and large companies (IBM) throughout his career. Randy volunteers as a coach with The Forge at McMaster, a business incubator supporting entrepreneurship at McMaster University and in the Hamilton, Greater Toronto Area, and Niagara Region. He enjoys mentoring entrepreneurs and providing guidance on their go-to-market strategies. Randy has been in sales “hunting” roles for most of his career and is familiar with a variety of techniques used to develop and close sales opportunities.