TechAccel Grants

TechAccel Grants

The TechAccel Program is one of the McGill Engine’s key co-curricular/experiential learning programs. It supports early-stage student ventures with Lean Startup Methodology training, 1:1 business mentorship, and funding. The program runs three times a year during the Fall, Winter and Summer Semesters, each cohort is about 18 weeks long. 

There are 2 types of TechAccel Grants available where you are eligible to receive funding.

  1. TechAccel Project Grant
    • Teams can receive up to $2,500 to cover certain project expenses
  2. TechAccel Summer Stipend Grant
    • The lead applicant will receive a stipend of $7,500 to work on their startup venture full time over the summer for 16 weeks. This grant is now available to all McGill undergraduate students regardless of their Faculty of study. 

The grants come out of the Engine Innovation Fund, which is funded by charitable gifts from alumni and other community donors. The Innovation Fund is not an investment fund. Donors are not investing in the companies. 


Key Benefits

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McGill student participants receive CCR recognition*


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Increase your entrepreneurial and innovation skills 

 

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1:1 coaching and mentorship from our TechAccel Mentors


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Networking opportunities and community events

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Project funding or a summer stipend 


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Develop your pitch and presentation skills 

 

* TechAccel is an approved Enriched Educational Opportunities program. 


TechAccel Project Grant Timeline (Winter 2023 Cohort)

Date

Event

January 10, 2023 Information Session
January 15, 2023 Application Deadline
January 26, 2023 Acceptance Emails Sent Out
January 30, 2023 Winter 2023 Cohort Begins
March 13, 2023 Progress Report Due
May 19, 2023 Final Report Due - TechAccel Winter 2023 Cohort Ends

For a detailed timeline, please refer here:PDF icon TechAccel Project Grant Winter 2023 Cohort Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the TechAccel Project Grant?

  • McGill student teams of 2-4 people where at least one team member is a current Faculty of Engineering student (undergraduate, graduate, or postdoc)

  • Lead Applicant:

    • Must be a McGill student (undergraduate, graduate, or postdoc) enrolled full time (all faculties are eligible)

    • The lead applicant must be returning as a full or part time student for at least one more semester (for example, if you are applying for the Fall TechAccel Program the lead applicant must be returning in the Winter semester and if you are applying for the Winter or Summer TechAccel Program they must be returning in the Fall)

  • Teams who are using the funds to advance an entrepreneurial project that is a technologically-based/innovation-driven idea

  • Startup ventures/projects that have some customer/stakeholder validation. If you are at the idea stage where little to no customer discovery or validation has been completed, we suggest applying for a TechAccel Pre-Grant. The Lean Startup Methodology and Customer Development Model are used in order to get an in-depth understanding of customers and their problems so that budding entrepreneurs can strengthen their focus of product development as well as their marketing and sales activities. The Phase 1 process of Customer Discovery is very important since an idea is only a hypothesis until it is tested and validated.

  • A team that already has an established business model with recurring revenues is not eligible.

  • A team that has prior funding of over $25,000 is not eligible.

  • A team’s additional funding sources will be taken into consideration when reviewing a grant application.

Free Resources Available Here!

Who is eligible for the TechAccel Summer Stipend Grant?

  • McGill students teams of 2-4 people 

  • Lead Applicant: 

    • Must be a McGill undergraduate student enrolled full time (all faculties are eligible)

    • The lead applicant must be returning as a full or part time student for at least one more semester (for example, if you are applying for the Fall TechAccel Program the lead applicant must be returning in the Winter semester and if you are applying for the Winter or Summer TechAccel Program they must be returning in the Fall)

  • Startup ventures/projects that have some customer/stakeholder validation. If you are at the idea stage where little to no customer discovery or validation has been completed, we suggest applying for a TechAccel Pre-Grant. The Lean Startup Methodology and Customer Development Model are used in order to get an in-depth understanding of customers and their problems so that budding entrepreneurs can strengthen their focus of product development as well as their marketing and sales activities. The Phase 1 process of Customer Discovery is very important since an idea is only a hypothesis until it is tested and validated.

  • A team that already has an established business model with recurring revenues is not eligible

  • A team that has prior funding of over $25,000 is not eligible

  • A team’s additional funding sources will be taken into consideration when reviewing a grant application

How do I apply and when is the deadline?

Free Resources Available Here!

How are applications evaluated?

  • Evaluation Criteria:

    1. Level of technological and business innovation. Does the team have sufficient competitive advantage/differentiation from similar ideas?

    2. Educational potential/experiential learning opportunity for students. Will the grant contribute to the team acquiring new business and technical skills?

    3. Clearly defined and validated problem. Is the idea/solution appropriate for the problem identified?

    4. Plan to build and test an MVP to try and achieve product-market fit. Have appropriate milestones been identified in order to advance the idea towards a viable business/solution?

    5. Level of market and impact potential.

    TechAccel Project Grant:

    The McGill Engine team can make recommendations for changes to the budget and uses of funds that are required for the acceptance and funding of the request. The level of funding requests per project is expected to follow the level of maturity (e.g. early-stage projects receive smaller amounts in order to prove the concept, later-stage projects can receive greater amounts since there is less technological risk) and the nature of the technology (e.g. app development receives smaller amounts than medical device development since less funding is required).

What expenses are covered in the TechAccel Project Grant?

  • Allowable Project Expenses (purchases made after award notification):
  • Non-Allowable Project Expenses:
    • Items not directly related to the team project, gifts, alcohol
    • Incorporation fees
    • Team outings, meals
    • Personal computer or phone
    • Courses
    • Rent for company or housing
    • Contractors, outside developers exceeding 25% of the grant

The amount of funding awarded per project is expected to follow the level of maturity (e.g. early-stage projects receive smaller amounts in order to prove the concept, later-stage projects can receive greater amounts since there is less technological risk) and the nature of the technology (e.g. app development receives smaller amounts than medical device development since less funding is required).

Is there an Information Session?

Yes, an online information session was held on January 10th from 5:30-6:30 PM ET. If you missed the info session, book an online or in-person appointment.

How is the grant dispersed?

TechAccel Project Grant (lead applicant will be returning the following semester): The grant will be awarded in full to the lead applicant at the start of the program in the form of a stipend. At both the mid-term and final report, a detailed account of how the funds were used is required along with receipts proving the purchases took place. All unused funds at the end of the program must be returned. The lead applicant will receive a T4A tax slip.   

TechAccel Summer Stipend: The grant will be awarded in installments throughout the program in the form of a stipend. The lead applicant will receive a T4A tax slip.

How long is the program?

  • The winter program runs for 16 weeks (3.5 months) from Jan 30th 2023 to May 19th 2023

What are the terms of the award?

  • Grant Reimbursement: The grant will be provided at the start of the program in the form of a stipend. At both the mid-term and final report a detailed account of how the funds have been used is required along with receipts proving the purchases took place. Any unused funds at the end of the program will be returned and the lead applicant will receive a T4A tax slip

  • Reporting: Progress and final reports are due to the Engine's associate director and the team's assigned mentor showing progress, outcomes/impacts/learnings, use of funds, and next steps.

  • Mentorship: A TechAccel mentor will be assigned to the TechAccel grantees in order to help progress the project and accelerate the learnings for the team, under the following PDF iconMentoring Guidelines and Commitment.

  • Empowered Startups: Each team is expected to complete all 6 online training modules and corresponding activities. Teams could be exempt from completing the Empowered Startups training modules depending on their previous experience with the Lean Startup Methodology.

  • Cohort Check Ins: Every 2-3 weeks there will be group check ins to see how progress is being made and to discuss the completed Empowered Startup modules. At least one member from each team is expected to participate in each check-in. 

  • Outreach Activities: Teams must be willing to assist the Faculty of Engineering and the McGill Engine in outreach activities pertaining to technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Giving back: The McGill Engine does not take equity in student companies. There is an expectation, but no requirement, that participating students will make a pledge of cash or equity back to the McGill Faculty of Engineering and/or the organizations that have supported it if their venture is successful and in the meantime, can give to and support McGill's Faculty of Engineering. If grantees elect to make a pledge it will come due only when their venture becomes a legal entity and raises its first round of equity funding from sources outside of McGill. Funding for The McGill Engine programs (and other entrepreneurship programs across McGill) is possible because of the deep commitment of alumni and friends to McGill’s mission. Students who receive $2500 in funding will be asked to sign a pledge to give back to the Innovation Fund and/or McGill. This pledge to give back is a personal choice and is not binding. Funding will not be conditional on a student signing a pledge.

 Are TechAccel Grants available to undergrads, grads and post-docs?

  • TechAccel Project Grant: Yes, all levels of study are welcome to apply. Please note, the lead applicant must be a Co-Founder of the startup and student (undergraduate, graduate, or postdoc) registered full-time in a McGill Faculty of Engineering program in good academic standing. 

  • TechAccel Summer Stipend Grant: Only undergraduate students are eligible. Please note, the lead applicant must be a Co-Founder of the startup and an undergraduate student registered full-time in a McGill Faculty of Engineering program in good academic standing.

  • See the eligibility section for more details. 

What is the difference between a TechAccel Project Grant and a TechAccel Summer Stipend Grant?

  • Grant comparisons available here.

What is the Empowered Startup Platform?

  • Empowered Startups Platform is an intuitive digital platform that delivers comprehensive training, seamlessly paired with optimized, easy-to-use tools and mentor touchpoints, to transform your TechAccel idea into a validated business model. This startup incubation platform is used by universities, startup organizations, and research and development facilities around the world called.

  • The platform has 6 online training modules covering the following topics:

  1. Introduction to Lean Startup Methodology

  2. Building Your Lean Canvas

  3. Business Archetypes and Traction Models 

  4. Customer/Problem Interviews

  5. Validate Your Solution

  6. Venture Report, Pitch & Program Summary

When will I know if I have been accepted?

  • Acceptance emails are usually sent out within 2-3 weeks after the application deadline.

Can I meet with someone before submitting my application?

  • Yes, we recommend having your application reviewed by the Engine's Associate Director before submitting it. Book your appointment today.

Can I apply again if I have already participated in the TechAccel program?

  • You can apply for an additional TechAccel grant if you have not received the maximum award of $2,500. 

  • If you have already received a maximum of $2,500 with either 1 or multiple TechAccel Grants, you are not longer eligible 

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