We are thrilled to announce the launch of the second phase of the Innovation Guelph Fast Lane program, which is dedicated to helping companies power through business challenges to reach new heights of success. Fast Lane is supported by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).

What is Fast Lane

Fast Lane is a business acceleration program for small- and medium-sized enterprises (under 500 employees) that are facing technical, efficiency or growth challenges. Part of Innovation Guelph’s Speedway program, it is designed for companies earning revenues of $1 million or more with less than 500 employees. Fast Lane provides up to $5,000 in services to help these businesses scale-up their operations.

Since launching in October 2014, Innovation Guelph has worked with 32 companies based in Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area from a variety of sectors including: Advanced Manufacturing, Agri-Technology, Food & Beverage, Cleantech, Life Sciences as well as Digital Media and Technology.

Our team has helped those businesses identify roadblocks to growth and come up with solutions that include finding new markets, developing innovative approaches to increase sales, researching and validating new product ideas, increasing marketing & branding effectiveness, introducing and optimizing online sales, raising capital, and making process improvements for more efficient, profitable operations.

What makes Fast Lane different?

Innovation Guelph has a highly skilled core team of business mentors with years of experience in a wide range of industry sectors. We also have a roster of 70+ highly qualified industry specialists with specific skill sets to find solutions for those hard-to-solve challenges. Our streamlined and agile approach is designed to quickly identify issues holding businesses back and recommend a work plan that’s easy to understand and implement.

Fast Lane clients include Bold Canine, based in Erin, Ont., which is growing by leaps and bounds as it expands its Bold Raw natural pet food business across Canada. The company recently moved into a 6,000-square-foot facility and now employs 20 people full-time.

“Innovation Guelph matched me with the right person and has delivered real value,” said Caroline Bolduc, President and CEO of Bold Canine and Bold Raw, who is working with mentor Niel Palmer. “Niel has helped us organize our manufacturing plant to be more efficient by implementing a kanban system, putting policies and procedures in place, and creating budgets for each department. It’s really changed the way we manage day to day.”

(Watch this space for more about Bold CanineODScore and our other Fast Lane clients – we’re very proud of their successes!)

How does Fast Lane work?

Fast Lane starts with an application and has two phases:

  1. 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.

  1. 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 less than 500 employees and $1-million+ in revenues in sectors including:

  • Agriculture, Food & Beverage
  • Manufacturing
  • Cleantech, Energy & Water
  • High Technology
  • Health & Biotechnology
  • Other product industries

Please note that the Fast Lane program is not for start-ups.  Learn more about Innovation Guelph services for start-ups by visiting our website.

Ready to enter the Fast Lane? Apply here.  Follow us on Twitter #IGFastLane

Not sure you qualify for Fast Lane? More questions? Contact me at Kevin.Boon@InnovationGuelph.ca or my colleague Steve Barrett at Steve.Barrett@InnovationGuelph.ca.

We look forward to working with you and helping your business accelerate and grow to its full potential.