The Treefrog Accelerator celebrated the end of its seventh cohort last week, marking more than 250 successful students and startup entrepreneurs who have participated in the program.
It is a five-week program for startup founders who are looking to scale up and take their business to the next level. It was started by Treefrog Inc., a digital business based in Newmarket, the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce and Schulich School of Business at York University in 2021.
"There was a lot of local interest in supporting businesses that were deeply affected by COVID-19," said Laurie Baker, director of programs at Treefrog.
In the first year, there were four cohorts, with 25 entrepreneurs from Ontario businesses taking part in each.
Treefrog held an open house event Dec. 16 to celebrate the latest cohort.
"Our Friday event brought out participants from cohort seven, alumni, also participants from cohort six and community members, startup ecosystem members, and we kind of packed the house at Treefrog," Baker said.
Both the event and the program so far have been a big success, she said, due to their strong partnerships.
"We couldn't ask for better partners in this. They're so committed and really all committed to the same goal and that's creating opportunities for business development in in the local area. You know, we're not Toronto, we are local, and we do represent a lot of local startups," Baker said.
There has been really positive feedback from program participants, too, she said.
"The program is a fast paced butt-kick for entrepreneurs. It makes you think about all the aspects of running your business and not just the fun shiny parts," said Stephanie Uprichard, CEO of Studio Forma Interior Design Inc., which is also based in Newmarket.
In her testimonial, she said the program is extensive, detailed and critical for anyone starting a new business.
"It will save you years in mistakes and money," she said.
Anyone who owns a business in Ontario can apply for the accelerator online. Baker said they work with all kinds of businesses who are looking to grow and to scale and especially want to help support founders from underrepresented communities.
By the end of the next cohort in March 2023, the Treefrog Accelerator will have supported 300 founders and wants to expand this to help 400 more individuals in the next two years.