Why GrindSpaceXL?

GrindSpaceXL gives you the skills and mentorship to help turn your early-stage technology venture into a great company.

The application period for the GrindSpaceXL Fall 2014 Cohort in Kingston opens July 29, 2014. The focus of this cohort will be on young entrepreneurs (ages 18-29). The program is partnered with the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) SmartStart Seed Fund.

The Benefits

GrindSpaceXL will help move your company from prototype to product to revenue. To help you make this leap from a promising venture to a great company, GrindSpaceXL offers a 12-week program that delivers:

  • Up to $30,000 in matching funding for each eligible participating company
  • Targeted and intensive entrepreneurship training
  • Extended one-on-one mentorship from entrepreneurs in residence who have built leading-edge companies
  • Specialized advisors who help companies become investor-ready, including intellectual property and financial expertise through PARTEQ Innovations
  • Accelerated business development within a structured environment
  • Opportunities to pitch to qualified investors
  • Working space at Innovation Park at Queen’s University


Before you apply, make sure your company meets these criteria:

  • Applicants must be an incorporated company, headquartered and operating in Ontario.
  • Your company’s core product or service must be technology-based.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are free to use or develop the intellectual property with no third-party rights.
  • In order to qualify for up to $30,000 in matching funds, companies must meet the SmartStart Seed Fund eligibility criteria.
  • You must be able to fully participate in all GrindSpaceXL activities on site at Innovation Park in Kingston.
  • You should be prepared to commit a minimum of 10 to 12 hours per week for GrindSpaceXL meetings and preparation.
  • You must commit to providing status reports and certain business metrics to support program development and evaluation.

Program Schedule

Fall 2014 Cohort:

  • August 21: Application deadline 11:59 PM (EDT)
  • August 28: Shortlist of applicants invited to pitch
  • September 3: Pitch Day at Innovation Park
  • September 5: Winning applicants notified
  • September 15: Program begins
  • Week of December 1st: Demo Day, pitches and program wrap up.

Online Form

The application period for the GrindSpaceXL Fall 2014 Cohort in Kingston opens July 29, 2014.


The GrindSpaceXL curriculum is customized to meet the specific needs of each cohort of companies in the program. A structured learning plan is divided into units covering specific areas of expertise and company development. Sessions are led by entrepreneurs in residence as well as outside experts. Interaction with your fellow GrindSpaceXL participants will also enhance your learning.

This intensive program uses real-world examples that can be applied to your business from day one. The curriculum consists of short interactive workshops, divided into four broad areas:

  • Customer discovery and market validation
  • Go-to-market strategy and sales effectiveness
  • Essential skills for success and sustainability
  • Financing and exit


GrindSpaceXL is a cohort-based program, yet it offers a high degree of customization and individual support. Companies begin with an individual needs assessment. Then they work with the lead entrepreneur in residence to prepare their customized GrindSpaceXL Development Plan.

The development plan identifies key deliverables for each company and assigns mentors to help the company achieve them. Participants work toward these business deliverables while progressing through the GrindSpaceXL curriculum along with their colleagues in the cohort. There are regular checkpoints to assess progress.

During the program, companies participate in a demo day to showcase their products to a broader audience and receive valuable feedback. GrindSpaceXL culminates in a pitch day where participants have the opportunity to pitch to qualified investors.


The GrindSpaceXL program is facilitated by its co-creators, Andrew Jackson, Entrepreneur in Residence, and Elza Seregelyi, Business Advisor.

GrindSpaceXL participants benefit from the diverse expertise and networks of the full team of Entrepreneurs in Residence and Business Advisors at Invest Ottawa and Launch Lab in Kingston.


Participation in GrindSpaceXL helps companies prepare for financing and investment. Experienced mentors help you understand your financing needs, and our program partners facilitate companies’ access to relevant funding programs. GrindSpaceXL culminates in an opportunity to pitch to qualified investors.

We turn early-stage technology ventures into great companies. This is the promise GrindSpaceXL makes to high-potential companies that want to move from prototype to product to revenue.

If your company meets our exacting standards, we can show you how to build a company that can compete and win.

We make this promise only to quality companies. And successful GrindSpaceXL candidates know this promise comes with a price. Not in financial terms, but in the level of commitment you must make to the GrindSpaceXL program. It’s a reciprocal commitment between you and a program that will transform your company.


To be part of a GrindSpaceXL cohort of promising companies means to be part of a collaborative experience that is bigger than the sum of its parts. Your mentors and your peers will keep you motivated and focused on your company’s mission.

What you learn at GrindSpaceXL will be grounded in relevant, leading-edge experience. You won’t feel like you are in a classroom. The GrindSpaceXL curriculum is customized to the specific needs of each cohort, so you will never feel like you are spinning your wheels.

Instead, you will feel like you are benefiting directly from real-life lessons learned by our team of mentors. Our mentors will share their experiences generously, and you will retain the freedom to make your own choices.

The only choice you can’t make is to take things at half-speed. Participants are expected to participate fully in all activities. Keeping pace with assigned readings, completing assignments and hitting business milestones is not negotiable.


GrindSpaceXL Ottawa cohorts work out of Invest Ottawa at 80 Aberdeen Street in the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy, conveniently located just west of the downtown core. Invest Ottawa’s energetic environment offers a mix of open-concept working space as well as meeting and conference rooms.

GrindSpaceXL Kingston cohorts are hosted by Innovation Park at Queen’s University. Located at 945 Princess Street, Innovation Park is a technology development hub where start-ups can connect with organizations and resources to support innovation and commercialization. It also offers convenient work, lab and meeting space.

Being part of a GrindSpaceXL cohort gives you access to the GrindSpaceXL network. Some of Eastern Ontario’s top business leaders will be available to give you insight and perspective on the key issues facing entrepreneurs today.

GrindSpaceXL is part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs. It’s a collaborative network of organizations across Ontario designed to help you commercialize your ideas.

Champion Partners


The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) helps firms to develop technologies and successfully commercialize them in a global marketplace. IRAP is part of National Research Council Canada.


Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is a leading, full-service, national law firm focusing on business law, commercial litigation and intellectual property solutions. With more than 750 lawyers, intellectual property agents and other professionals in six Canadian cities, BLG can cover all its clients’ legal needs, from major litigation to financing and patent registration.

Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. It has a long history of supporting entrepreneurs. Ernst & Young serves a wide range of businesses in a broad range of industries — from ventures receiving their first funding through to large mid-cap companies, family businesses and private companies looking to go public.


Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. It employs about 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 49 other countries.

Major Partners


Gowlings is one of Canada’s largest law firms. It employs more than 750 business-savvy legal professionals active in key global industries, and provides its clients with pragmatic commercial advice.


KPMG provides audit, tax, and advisory services. It has offices in 33 locations across Canada. The firm’s more than 680 partners and 6,000 employees provide crucial services to many of the public and private business, not-for profit, and public-sector organizations in Canada.

Logan Katz

Logan Katz is a forward-looking accounting firm, providing high-quality accounting, taxation and financial services to corporate and individual clients. The firm’s client base comprises more than 650 corporate clients and not-for-profit organizations, and 850 individuals.


McMillan lawyers are recognized as leaders in Canadian and international professional directories. The firm also offers clients continuing education and training programs, including the annual McMillan Business Academy.



The Ontario Centres of Excellence is a partnership with industry and academia. It drives the development of Ontario’s economy by helping create new jobs, products, services, technologies and businesses.


MaRS connects the worlds of science, business and government. It’s a public-private partnership with a mission to nurture a culture of innovation in Canada.


Wavefront accelerates the growth and commercialization of wireless companies across Canada by connecting them with critical resources, partners and opportunities to drive economic and social benefit for Canada.

Previous GrindSpaceXL Cohorts

Fall 2012 Spring 2013 Fall 2013 Winter 2014

Main Contact

Lisa Craymer
Portfolio Facilitator
Invest Ottawa | Investir Ottawa
(613) 828-6274 ext 207

GrindSpaceXL Program Overview

GrindSpaceXL is a demanding program. It includes weekly education sessions, peer-to-peer sharing, and meetings with advisors and entrepreneurs in residence. In four intense months, you will gain essential knowledge and skills to help turn your early stage technology venture into a great company.