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Call For Applicants: Canada-Chicago Mentoring Program

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) and the Chicago Innovation Mentors (acquired by MATTER) are looking to provide 5 Canadian startups with strategic guidance and access to the right tools and knowledge to penetrate their market.

This is a customized program for each of the selected companies. Each company will be matched with a team of 5 mentors over a period of 6 months which includes 6 monthly meetings (dates chosen in collaboration with mentor team) in Chicago. The companies do not have to be present in Chicago for 6 months but must have a commitment to travel to Chicago for the first day of the program which is February 13th and at least 3 times during the period of March-August 2019 although they strongly recommend the companies attend ALL their meetings in person. While some of the meetings can be held virtually, they know from their experience that the companies who travel to Chicago monthly will benefit the most from the program.  These companies will have more fruitful meetings, have the opportunity to meet additional stakeholders and develop their own local network.
Why Participate?
• Receive coaching and mentoring for a period of 6 months from a team of life sciences/healthcare and other business professionals
• Build your network of key contacts in the Chicago market to take advantage of the business relationships you will develop to identify business opportunities
• Improve your understanding of market access issues in the US
• Immerse yourself in a culture of collaboration, open innovation and entrepreneurial inspiration
• Receive dedicated services from the Trade Commissioner Service

The program is not aimed at providing sales leads to the companies but focuses on the analysis of the Canadian companies’ business models & US strategy. The program for the selected companies will be in three parts:
Part 1: Orientation to the program (January 2019)
· Participate in a webinar with the Consulate and CIM to review the details of the mentoring program
Part 2: Day of Acceleration in Chicago (February 13, 2019)
· Participate in the morning & afternoon program organized by the Trade Commissioner Service
· Pitch and showcase the technology during the Chicago Innovation Mentor February monthly meeting
· Meet potential mentors and network with key Chicago contacts in the life sciences/healthcare industry
· Gain insights on the characteristics of the Chicago market that can improve chances to success
Part 3: Six Month Mentoring Program (March to August/September 2019)
· You will be matched with a team of 3 to 5 mentors (companies will be assigned a lead mentor)
· Engage the team of mentors to analyze and refine business plans. Free access to MATTER, Chicago’s top tier healthcare incubator, its workspace, its network and all of its educational programming.
1. Part of the mentoring will be done virtually (emails, conference calls, videoconferences)
2. In addition to the first meeting (the mandatory Day of Acceleration, planned for February 13, 2019,) meetings are planned monthly. We strongly recommend three (3) additional face to face meetings. Other meetings can be arranged in-person, conference call or via videoconference.  Canadian companies and the mentor teams agree to dates and the Consulate attends the meetings. The Consulate works in tandem with the Canadian companies and CIM@Matter during the entire program and can assist Canadian firms on an-going basis.

Program Expectations
• Part of the mentoring will be done virtually (emails, conference calls, videoconferences)
• Plan to travel to market AT LEAST FOUR TIMES (February 13 + 4 other dates) to meet face-to-face with your mentoring team. Note: we recommend face-to-face meetings.
• Able to commit at least one senior team member (C-level or Founder) to take part in the virtual program and attend a minimum of three in-market mentoring sessions.

Eligibility Criteria
Companies are selected using a competitive application process. Ideal candidates have:
• Created a technology/product with high potential for growth
• Initial traction in the market place (in Canada or the US or another geography)
• A management team
• A need for local professionals to evaluate their business models/strategy
• Resources to visit the market a minimum of four times to meet with their mentoring teams.

How To Apply?
If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact Laura Dalby ( or Chantal Glass ( to receive the application form. Space is limited to FIVE Canadian companies; all applicants will be qualified by a vetting committee.

Application Deadline: November 15, 2018