Ignite Capital FAQ


What if my credit score is under 650? Am I still eligible?

In order to be eligible for the grant money and loan portion of this competition a score of 650 or higher is normally required. We do, however, allow individuals with a score lower than 650 to explain the reason for their credit score and what is being done to improve it for the review committee to consider. There may also be opportunities with other community partners to assist you.

What is a credit score and how to I obtain mine?

A credit score is a statistically derived numeric expression of a person's creditworthiness that is used by lenders to access the likelihood that a person will repay his or her debts. A credit score is based on, among other things, a person's past credit history. It is a number between 300 and 850 - the higher the number, the more creditworthy the person is deemed to be.
To obtain your credit score, please visit: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/ca02197.html#footnote1

What is my income if above $50,000, Am I still eligible?

In order to be eligible for the grant money and loan portion of this competition an income level of $50,000 or lower is required. This is the income stated on your CRA Notice of Assessment for 2015.

Why no freelance businesses?

Ignite Capital and sponsors would like to support businesses that are planning to grow and create employment opportunities for themselves and others in the community. 

Where can I find what my income was from last year?

This is personal income before taxes as reported on your 2015 tax return.
How you can check the status of your refund:

What if the business is a partnership? Do all members have to fit in the eligibility criteria?

If the business is equally shared between partners, then all members must meet the eligibility requirements but can submit one joint application. If you are the majority owner, than only you have to meet eligibility criteria.

Can I apply to more than one category?

Yes! Each year we have entrepreneurs apply to more than one category they identify with. When our review team evaluates all submissions we place you in the category we think you would best compete in.

What if my business is registered outside of Ontario?

The Ignite Capital competition is open to Ontario businesses only.  The primary reason for this is the fact that the final stage is a live pitch in Toronto and as a non-profit organization, we do not pay for expenses (such as travel) related to attending the pitch.

What if I applied last year? Can I apply again?

Yes you can. If you were not a finalist in any of the previous years, you are eligible to submit an application for 2016. 

What if my business was registered before September 2011?

Eligible businesses must be registered for fewer than five years. Exceptions may be made if businesses have been dormant (without sales or activity) for a period of time. 

Who is your ideal candidate? What business stage are you in?

The ideal candidate will have evidence for success and can show a passion for their business. A well communicated business plan is critical in convincing the judges that the business is viable through illustrating a market need for the product or service, as well as explaining the need for financing to create sustainable growth.  It is important to tell your personal story, as well as illustrate sales results for post-launch organizations, or proof of interest for pre-launch organizations (i.e. written statements or contracts).

What if my business has a social mission?

We receive many application for social businesses and they are judged equally against business that do not have a social mission.  All businesses must be for-profit. 

Round 1: Initial Application Process

What does the full application process look like?

To ensure you are eligible for the competition, Ignite requires you to complete their online application form located here. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete. Once you submit your initial application you will receive an email confirmation. To review Ignite Capital’s eligibility requirements please see them on the website here.

If eligible for the competition, you will receive an email inviting you to submit a business plan submission. This submission also requires you to submit a two year cash flow projection sheet and an explanation of why you are applying for this award and how the money will be used.

If ineligible for the competition, you will receive an email explaining why you do not qualify.

If chosen as a finalist, you will be required to submit supporting documentation depending on which category you are applying to such as;

Youth, Women and Indigenous Categories

  • Full credit report showcasing a score of 650 or higher
  • Copy of government issued photo ID (i.e. Driver’s License or Passport)
  • Personal income under $50,000 shown on your 2015 CRA Notice of Assessment for 2015

Immigrant Category

  • Full credit report showcasing a score of 650 or higher
  • Copy of government issued photo ID (i.e. Driver’s License or Passport)
  • Personal income under $50,000 shown on your CRA Notice of Assessment for 2015
  • Proof of your immigration status showing 10 years or less in Canada (record of landing as a permanent resident)
What makes a good application?

A good application has all questions answered in full sentences, focuses on how the money will help them grow the business and takes the time to complete the cash flow projections properly ensuring they include the prize money in their projections so the review team can see exactly how the money will be spent.

Ignite Capital will be hosting information sessions to assist those in the process of completing their submission to answer questions and give some pointers! Ignite Capital will be emailing all accepted applicants on the information session details.

Will I receive feedback from the review team on my submission?

Ignite Capital uses an online integrated workflow creation and management platform for reviewing submission. This allows us to manage all incoming submission and ensure we are judging and evaluating them properly. If you would like to see comments made about your submission, please contact us at info@ignitecapital.ca

Round 2: Business Plan Application

Can I save my work as I go?

Yes you can. You will have a login that allows you to work on the submission as you please. Just remember to submit before September 2nd, 2016 at midnight! 

Can I print my application for my records?

Once you submit your application, you will receive an email of your full submission that you can print for your records.

How do I know you received my submission?

Once you hit submit, you will receive a confirmation email from us. If you do not receive, do not fear! Just give us a call and we will assist you. 

When can I expect to hear back from you?

Our review team will meet in September to review all submission and finalists will be notified by mid-October.  

Winner Awards

Do I have to take the loan option? Why?

Debt-financing is a fundamental component of business growth. In order to reach your next plateau as a business, you will likely need to borrow in order to acquire the assets necessary to scale. Ignite Capital believes this combination of loan + grant creates the right flexibility to provide start-ups with sufficient capital while still allowing recipients to learn to manage debt effectively. For the second and third place winners, the loan will provide much needed capital to launch and/or grow your business.

It is often difficult for emerging entrepreneurs to obtain the capital then need from traditional financing for a number of reasons. The amount of loans awarded provide an opportunity for businesses to obtain that capital and the business can incorporate the loan expenses into their day-to-day opeations.

How is the grant money disbursed?

For the grand prize winners in each category, the grant is administered as an operating loan, e.g. expense invoices or purchase orders are submitted for approval.  The loans for the first, second and third place winners are administered by Alterna Savings and winners will be required to open an account with them.

Who will be judging the competition?

Judges are chosen each year, but typically comprised a panel of experienced business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Who supplies the grant money?

The 2016 Ignite Capital Grant Fund has been graciously provided by TD Bank, All-Canadian Self Storage and APEX PR.

What’s included in the prize package?

In 2015, our prize package included;

  • One-year of co-working space
  • Legal counsel
  • Mentorship support

We’re continuously building our prize package, stay tuned for updates!

Where does the pitch take place? (How does this affect the prize package?)

Ignite Capital is based out of Toronto, Ontario. As such, the pitch competition and prize package has been created with the generosity of local partners. Because of this, the pitch competition is held in Toronto and prize package contents will likely be comprised of Toronto-based products and services. 

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