The third round of Innovation Guelph’s Fast Lane business acceleration program is now open to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) realize their potential for growth and job creation.
The program, supported by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), provides up to $5,000 in services to help SMEs overcome technical, efficiency or growth challenges as they scale. To qualify, companies must have less than 500 employees and annual revenues of $500,000 or more.
Fast Lane matches companies with Innovation Guelph business mentors with deep expertise in a wide range of industry sectors and a novel approach to identifying roadblocks that impede growth. Far from a one-size-fits-all approach, Fast Lane mentors quickly zero in on a company’s unique circumstances and develop a work plan that’s easy to understand and implement. SMEs also benefit from the services of highly qualified industry specialists as needed for solutions to specific hard-to-solve challenges.
The Innovation Guelph team has accepted 54 companies into the program since Fast Lane launched in 2014, helping them find new markets, develop innovative approaches to increase sales, research and validate new product ideas, increase marketing & branding effectiveness, raise capital, and make process improvements for more efficient, profitable operations.
Fast Lane companies include:
ODScore, a Guelph-based organizational development consulting group that is taking its services to a global audience. Read about ODScore’s Fast Lane experience working with mentor and serial entrepreneur Mark Goldberg.
GreenBug Energy Inc., an award-winning micro hydro innovator focused on environmentally friendly power generation. GreenBug worked with mentor Bob Ilmonen, a mechanical engineer with extensive experience in the energy sector.
Prominent Fluid Controls Ltd., a Canadian manufacturing company that has tapped the Fast Lane program as it pursues new market segments. Prominent has worked with a number of Innovation Guelph mentors, including Jeff Campbell, who helps companies identify and establish target markets, acquire customers and achieve product and market fit and growth.
Bold Canine Inc, a pet food manufacturer that is expanding across Canada with advice from Fast Lane mentor Niel Palmer, who has years of manufacturing experience and expertise that spans lean principles, profitability and cost analyses, process flow optimization and strategic planning.
How does Fast Lane work?
Fast Lane starts with an application and has two phases:
- Diagnostic ($2,000 value – free for qualified companies)
In the Diagnostic phase companies are assigned a mentor who works with them to assess the state of the business and talk through problems and goals, resulting in a recommended work plan and the opportunity to partner with one of Innovation Guelph’s pre-qualified industry specialists. The Diagnostic phase, valued at $2,000, is free for Fast Lane clients.
- Tune Up (Up to $3,000 of support for qualified companies)
After completing the Diagnostic phase, companies have the opportunity to participate in a Tune Up project, working with an industry specialist or a team of specialists to accelerate growth and development. Fees apply for the Tune Up phase of Fast Lane; however, your company may qualify for up to $3,000 in matching support when you team up with our pre-qualified consultants with expertise in areas such as:
Business Management & Strategy • Technical (IT or Engineering) • Talent Recruitment • Leadership Training • Branding & Marketing • Process Efficiency & Optimization • Facility Utilization Management • Cost Savings (Energy, Water, Waste, Supply Chain) • New Product Development • Prototyping & Product Piloting • B2B Sales & Business Development • International Business Development
Does my company qualify for Fast Lane?
Fast Lane serves for-profit businesses with $1-million+ in revenues and less than 500 employees in sectors including:
Agriculture, Food & Beverage
Cleantech, Energy & Water
Health & Biotechnology
Other product industries
Please note that the Fast Lane program is not for start-ups. Learn more about our services for start-ups
We look forward to working with you and helping your business accelerate and grow to its full potential.