About Ignite

What is Ignite?
Ignite is an exciting entrepreneurial journey organized by Spark Centre and supported by several municipalities and businesses across Durham Region. Ignite begins with a pitch school open to all technology, innovative or inventive applicants and will end with an extraordinary finale celebrating two Startups. Our goal is to Ignite a startup community in Durham Region. Together, we hope to inspire, bring visibility and support entrepreneurs, ultimately creating jobs and economic wealth for Durham Region. By highlighting the local resources available to startups, we can show our entrepreneurs that Durham has everything they need to successfully start and grow their companies.

Why Ignite?
Durham Region is in the middle of an economic shift. We can contribute to this exciting transformation by fostering a community of entrepreneurs. By making an example of two high-potential companies through Ignite, we can demonstrate what is possible when the right ideas receive the right support. In addition, Ignite will showcase the exceptional local resources available to support new and existing businesses.

Why Compete in Ignite?

There are many reasons to compete in Ignite! The first thing that will catch most entrepreneur’s eyes is the cash prize:

Student Category: $5,000
Young Entrepreneur Category: $25,000
General Entrepreneur Category: $25,000

These cash prizes will help the winners to launch or scale their startups without adding any debt load, or diluting the founder’s equity.

Winners will also receive entry in Spark Centre’s new Thrive program, which includes a four month term at Spark’s Oshawa or Whitby location rent free, access to a multitude of advisory services, preferred rates with service providers, and much more!

Outside of the prizes for winners, all participants will learn how to pitch their ideas, have a chance to practice in front of real investors and entrepreneurs, and have an amazing opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs in the area!

Where did the idea come from?
There are accelerator programs in cities all over the world. The idea to run a similar project in Durham gained momentum in recent years thanks to the Region of Durham’s Art of Transition program. Discussions within the creative community revealed the need for a more diversified local economy, better links between businesses and creative professionals, and ultimately a stronger economy that can support arts and culture. At the same time, local startups and businesses were looking for community support. Then, in June 2012, Spark Centre opened with a mandate to help start and grow innovative local companies right here in Durham.