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Frequently asked questions

Q

Program Overview

What is The Next 36?

The Next 36 addresses Canada's deficit of high impact entrepreneurs by providing a resource-rich program to a select group of promising undergraduates. Started by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, The Next 36 provides an unrivalled combination of resources, life changing experiences and relationships to Canada’s brightest young leaders and innovators who hold the potential to build and lead outstanding organizations.  

Who is involved with The Next 36?

The Next 36 is spearheaded by a founding group of 50 high-profile business leaders, entrepreneurs, and academics. Its Founding Patrons are Paul Desmarais, Sr., W. Galen Weston and Jimmy Pattison.

The Next 36 leverages a network of over 200 of North America’s most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs, partnerships with Canada’s leading universities, and support from major organizations and investors to deliver an entrepreneurial advancement program like no other.

Refer to our complete listings of past participants, mentors and donors.

How does the program work?

Each year, 36 promising undergraduates from across Canada are selected from a variety of academic disciplines through a rigorous national selection process. The young entrepreneurs form interdisciplinary teams of three and are challenged to build a technology business that can achieve significant milestones within the 9-month duration of the program, and will ultimately continue to scale following program completion.

Throughout the 9-month program, N36 ventures are provided mentorship from some of Canada’s top business leaders, up to $95,000 in seed capital from leading venture capitalists, a comprehensive offering of in-kind resources, and academic instruction from some of the world’s most renowned faculty. 

Why should YOU apply to The Next 36?

There is no other program that combines the following elements and directly involves such an incredible calibre of entrepreneurs, faculty and students. 

1. Capital.  Up to $95,000 of seed capital is provided to each N36 venture.  The Next 36 is supported by an incredible investor group that includes Relay Ventures, Slaight Communications and Alignvest Ventures, and has connections to top venture capitalists and angel investors across North America.  A portion of this funding is provided in the form of a grant from the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario to teams who have at least one STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) graduate co-founder.

2. Mentorship.  Some of Canada’s top entrepreneurs and business leaders work directly with N36 ventures; people like Jordan Banks, Managing Director of Facebook Canada, and Sarah Prevette, Founder of Sprouter, provide personal advice and guidance to N36 ventures from day one.  Teams also have full access to a Chief Venture Advisor who serves as the “Entrepreneur in Residence”.

3. World-class academic instruction.  From day one of the program, professors from universities including Harvard, MIT, Wharton, Georgetown, U of T (Rotman), Western (Ivey) and UBC (Sauder), deliver content that is directly applicable to N36 ventures.

4. Powerful Advisory Resources.  The program is supported by over 200 of Canada’s top business leaders, including Founding Patrons W. Galen Weston, Jimmy Pattison and Paul Desmarais Sr. The Next 36 has a network of supporters and advisory resources in all of the major start-up communities across Canada., available to provide advice and guidance in a variety of areas of expertise.

5. Incredible in-kind benefits. Essential business services are provided by our partners including Rogers Communications (telecommunications), Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP (legal), MaRS (market research), Ernst & Young (accounting, tax, media relations), Rackspace Cloud Hosting, Crashlytics (tech support) and many more.

6. A phenomenal network.  Participants begin building life-long relationships with some of Canada’s brightest and most ambitious young entrepreneurs, seasoned industry leaders, and investors through a range of exclusive meetings and business networking events.

 

What should participants expect from the program?

Young entrepreneurs involved with The Next 36 will experience a paradigm shift in the way they define and tackle problems. They will learn more than they have at university. They will build life-long friendships with outstanding peers and relationships with top business leaders.  They will be pushed out of their comfort zones and have their expectations - of themselves and for their futures - increased dramatically.

 

When does the 2014 program start and finish?

The program begins November 30, 2013, during National Selection Weekend, when 36 young entrepreneurs and their ventures will be chosen to enter the program.  The program culminates on Venture Day on August 13, 2014 when N36 ventures pitch and demo their businesses to stakeholders and investors from across North America.


How is the program structured? 

The total program duration is 9 months, and will be divided into two specific phases:

Entrepreneurship Institute Phase I: National (also referred to as the "remote" period)
November, 30 2013 to May 2014

Teams will be formed and chosen at National Selection Weekend and begin working immediately on their ventures. Each venture team will be introduced to their two CEO-level mentors and begin to lay out their remote work plan for the first phase of the Entrepreneurship Institute.  The teams continue to work remotely on their ventures for the next 5 months while completing their academic year (if they have not already graduated). Each team will be provided with capital, resources and mentorship while it works to invent, launch and sell a technology product or service (mobile, web, hardware).

Entrepreneurship Institute Phase II: Toronto (also referred to as "summer residency")
May to mid-August 2014

Phase II of The Entrepreneurship Institute takes place in Toronto and consists of in-class instruction taught by internationally acclaimed faculty and Canadian business leaders, directed by one of the Rotman School's top-rated professors, Ajay Agrawal. The other professors teaching in this program will come from around the world to teach award-winning short courses on topics critical to entrepreneurs with long-term, internationally competitive business strategies. Alongside academic commitments, ventures will continue to work on their ventures full-time during their summer residency. Regular progress meetings will be scheduled with the N36 Chief Venture Advisor during Phase II in preparation for Venture Day in mid-August.

 

What kind of applicant is The Next 36 looking for?

We are looking for overachieving and innovative applicants with an entrepreneurial track record and the drive and ability to build something big.  The Next 36 is for students and recent grads from any academic discipline and we encourage students from all fields of study and personal backgrounds to apply. Though all N36 entrepreneurs will work on building a mobile venture (e.g. mobile app or web-based service), the program is designed to give young entrepreneurs the skills, experience and role models to become leaders in a range of fields and disciplines.

 

The Next 36 is looking for students who have displayed “entrepreneurial initiative” in the past. What is meant by entrepreneurial initiative?

Entrepreneurial initiative is shown when ideas are developed into results-oriented, operational outcomes. You may have done this by starting a company, a student club, a social enterprise or a non-profit organization.  Entrepreneurial initiative is not necessarily driven by a profit motive, but by identifying an opportunity, by doing something better or differently, and building that idea into a productive team and organization.

 

Who are some of the successful alumni of The Next 36?

The Next 36 has had three cohorts and has already helped launch several successful ventures including Kira Talent, Mobicare (acquired in 2013) and Thalmic Labs.  The true measurement of success for The Next 36 will come 20 years from now when we survey the Canadian business landscape and see how many high impact entrepreneurs have been part of The Next 36.  Read about more alumni ventures.

 

I am an entrepreneur whose venture already has early traction.  Is The Next 36 for me?

In the summer of 2013, The Next 36 introduced a pilot program for young, but more seasoned entrepreneurs without formal business education.  For more information on this program, email [email protected]

This year, The Next 36 has modified its selection process to allow applications from current undergrads with existing ventures they wish to continue building.  More information can be found under “Applying to The Next 36” below.

Q

Applying to The Next 36

Who Should Apply?

We encourage applications from individuals who aspire to build nationally or internationally significant organizations. The program is highly selective and designed primarily for outstanding individuals who:

  • are currently enrolled in their final 2 years of undergraduate study or,

  • have graduated in 2013 (winter/spring term only)

The program is only open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. We accept students from any university or degree-granting institution, enrolled in any discipline. No discipline or university will receive special favour from the selection committee and applicants will be judged on the basis of merit, aptitude and potential as demonstrated through their application.

How are The Next 36 chosen?

After applications close, The Next 36 will review all submissions and select a pool of finalists. All finalists will receive an invitation to attend National Selection Weekend in Toronto (November 28th -December 1st 2013). The final 36 will be chosen at National Selection Weekend and will begin working on their ventures immediately.

How are teams formed?

Teams will be formed in one of 3 ways, based on your preference:

1) With existing co-founders.  If you know another student(s) with whom you would like to build a venture, you should encourage them to apply, and identify each individual on your application as a desired co-founder. If all of you are selected as finalists and are chosen at National Selection Weekend, you will have the opportunity to build your venture together during the program (all co-founders MUST agree to be governed by N36 shareholder agreements). Please note: we prefer ventures with teams of three, however, ventures with two or four co-founders may be considered on a case-by case basis. You MUST confirm your team one week prior to National Selection Weekend (8am EST on November 21st, 2013).

2) With other finalists you choose in advance. If you are chosen as a finalist, you will have the option to form a team of co-founders from this year's pool of finalists before arriving at National Selection Weekend. This will happen during the Team Formation Phase, running from October 23rd until November 21st. The Next 36 will facilitate your introduction (in person or virtually) to all other finalists at the beginning of the Team Formation Phase. During this time you are also challenged to come up with an idea for your business. We recommend you form a team of three, however, ventures with two or four co-founders may be considered on a case-by case basis. You MUST confirm your team one week prior to National Selection Weekend (8am EST on November 21st, 2013).

**under options 1 and 2, finalists will be interviewed as teams at National Selection Weekend and accepted into the program based on individual strengths, overall team strengths/dynamics and your business idea.

3) With other finalists chosen by the Selection Committee

If you do not form a team prior to arriving, The Next 36 will conduct group interviews with individual finalists and the remaining teams will be formed at National Selection Weekend. You should still arrive at National Selection Weekend with a venture idea you would like to pursue.


Am I at a disadvantage if I arrive at National Selection Weekend without a pre-formed team?

No. Each finalist will have a unique situation and preference for how their teams are formed.

 

What happens if the team I joined before National Selection Weekend is unsuccessful? Do I still have a chance of being accepted into the program?

Yes. Strong finalists who are part of unsuccessful pre-formed teams may be offered an individual spot in The Next 36 to join other teams. 
 

Can I apply with an existing venture?

**See above: Option 1 under "How are teams formed?"

Yes.  If all founders are selected as finalists and you all agree to be governed by N36 shareholder agreements. You cannot pursue a business idea that belongs to anyone who is not a finalist of The Next 36.  All ventures developed in The Next 36 will be governed by N36 shareholder agreements and equity apportioned accordingly.  If you have any questions regarding your business idea’s eligibility, please email [email protected]

 

What grades do I need to get into the program?

Applicants must have a B average or better.

 

Who should I use as a reference?

A reference will be required once an applicant has been invited to National Selection Weekend.  Please provide a reference who can attest to your performance and character. This should be either an academic or a professional reference. They should be able to discuss your entrepreneurial initiative.

 

What is the deadline to apply?

October 7, 2013 at 11:59 p.m Eastern Standard Time.

 

I am a co-op student.  Can I still participate in The Next 36?

Candidates who are on co-op term during the National Phase (December – April) can be part of The Next 36 and complete their co-op at the same time.  However, during the summer portion of the Entrepreneurship Institute (May – August), candidates must be focused exclusively on The Next 36.  You may be able to work with your home university to have your N36 experience applied towards your co-op term, but this is at the discretion of your university and must be confirmed before you start the program.

 

I will be on an international exchange during the National Phase of the program (December to April).  Am I still eligible?

Students on exchange are permitted to apply, however, previous entrepreneurs in the program have found it difficult to build their venture while abroad during this phase of the entrepreneurship institute and overseas exchanges are discouraged.

 

I am an international student - can I still apply to the program?

The program is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. However, if you are an international student looking to apply for Permanent Residence after university, we will accept a notarized statement to this effect. If you intend to provide a notarized statement, please email Gillian Nation at [email protected] in advance of the first stage of the application.

 

I am a Canadian student enrolled in an undergraduate program outside Canada. May I apply?

Yes. Canadian citizens who are enrolled at international institutions are welcome to apply as long as they are able to commit to attending the full summer program from early May to mid-August 2014

 

How do I create a stronger application?

 

1.     Apply early.  Starting the application process early will allow you enough time to complete the full application.  It shows us you are enthusiastic about the program.

 

2.     Broaden your definition of entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship can mean starting your own venture, but it can also mean founding a campus club or non-profit initiative, conceiving a new event or solving a big problem in a creative way.   Be sure to elaborate on this experience in the relevant sections of the application.

 

3.     Do your research.  Find out about the program, its components, who is involved, and what is expected of you – The Next 36 is an intense experience and the more you know, the better your answers will be.

 

4.     Highlight any technical or programming skills you might have.  The Next 36 is designed for individuals from all academic backgrounds and programming is not a requirement to participate.  However, teams are challenged to build ventures in the web/mobile space and being comfortable with this subject an asset.  No programming experience?  No problem.  There are a number of resources available online from Code Academy.com to iOS Apprentice and more. It’s a good idea to learn.

 

5.    Talk to alumni or people at your university familiar with the program.  They are a great source of information and can help you through the application process.

Q

National Selection Weekend

What is National Selection Weekend all about?

Each year, out of more than 1000 applicants, a select group of finalists from across Canada are invited to participate in this highly intense and challenging weekend consisting of lectures, interviews, and peer group challenges.  National Selection Weekend occurs in Toronto from November 28 to December 1, 2013.

NEW - This year, N36 finalists will have an opportunity to meet-up (in person and/or virtually) with their fellow finalists prior to National Selection Weekend in order to find co-founders and build a team. If you are not able to form a team before National Selection Weekend, The Next 36 will assist with team formation upon your arrival.  We recommend you form a team with three co-founders, however, ventures with two or four co-founders may be considered on a case-by case basis.  

Teams and individual finalists will arrive with a venture idea that they are prepared to pitch for a spot in the program.  The Next 36 Selection Committee will determine the 36 young entrepreneurs to accept and these new venture teams will continue working on the design and ideation of their business throughout the weekend. On the final day of National Selection Weekend all teams will be tasked with improving their initial pitch and will present it to their peers and a key group of N36 stakeholders.  

At this time, each venture team will be introduced to their two CEO-level mentors and begin to lay out their remote work plan for the following five months.  

Financial Considerations

Finalists' meals and accommodation for National Selection Weekend are covered by The Next 36.  Travel expenses (flight, train, bus) will be covered for those travelling from outside the province of Ontario.  Other travel costs will be the responsibility of the individual finalists.  If the cost of travel poses a financial hardship that would prevent your participation, please contact [email protected] 

Q

Team Ventures

How are teams formed?

Teams will be formed in one of 3 ways, based on your preference:

1) With existing co-founders.  If you know another student(s) with whom you would like to build a venture, you should encourage them to apply, and identify each individual on your application as a desired co-founder. If all of you are selected as finalists and are chosen at National Selection Weekend, you will have the opportunity to build your venture together during the program (all co-founders MUST agree to be governed by N36 shareholder agreements). Please note: we prefer ventures with teams of three, however, ventures with two or four co-founders may be considered on a case-by case basis. You MUST confirm your team one week prior to National Selection Weekend (8am EST on November 21st, 2013).

2) With other finalists you choose in advance. If you are chosen as a finalist, you will have the option to form a team of co-founders from this year's pool of finalists before arriving at National Selection Weekend. This will happen during the Team Formation Phase, running from October 23rd until November 21st. The Next 36 will facilitate your introduction (in person or virtually) to all other finalists at the beginning of the Team Formation Phase. During this time you are also challenged to come up with an idea for your business. We recommend you form a team of three, however, ventures with two or four co-founders may be considered on a case-by case basis. You MUST confirm your team one week prior to National Selection Weekend (8am EST on November 21st, 2013).

**under options 1 and 2, finalists will be interviewed as teams at National Selection Weekend and accepted into the program based on individual strengths, overall team strengths/dynamics and your business idea.

3) With other finalists chosen by the Selection Committee

If you do not form a team prior to arriving, The Next 36 will conduct group interviews with individual finalists and the remaining teams will be formed at National Selection Weekend. You should still arrive at National Selection Weekend with a venture idea you would like to pursue.

Am I at a disadvantage if I arrive at National Selection Weekend without a pre-formed team?

No. Each finalist will have a unique situation and preference for how their teams are formed.
 

What happens if the team I joined before National Selection Weekend is unsuccessful? Do I still have a chance of being accepted into the program?

Yes. Strong finalists who are part of unsuccessful pre-formed teams may be offered an individual spot in The Next 36 to join other teams.


Can I apply with an existing venture?

**See above: Option 1 under "How are teams formed?"

Yes.  If all founders are selected as finalists and you all agree to be governed by N36 shareholder agreements. You cannot pursue a business idea that belongs to anyone who is not a finalist of The Next 36.  All ventures developed in The Next 36 will be governed by N36 shareholder agreements and equity apportioned accordingly.  If you have any questions regarding your business idea’s eligibility, please email [email protected]

 

What Should I Consider When Forming My Team?

Given that N36 entrepreneurs build ventures in the technology space, all ventures require one technical co-founder.  You will want to identify co-founders with experience in sales & business development and design/user experience as well.  Many teams also have a subject matter expert with experience in a particular industry, which can help solve an industry problem.  We recommend you form a team with three co-founders, however, ventures with two or four co-founders may be considered on a case-by case basis.

Please note that teams with at least one Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) graduate (by June 2014) will be eligible for up to $30,000 in seed funding from the Federal Development Economic Agency of Southern Ontario (as part of up to $95,000 in total funding).

 

How do I Build My Venture?

You will be challenged to form interdisciplinary teams of three to build a technology business (e.g. mobile, web, hardware, etc.) that can achieve significant milestones within the 9-month duration of the program. Each venture will receive up to $95,000 in seed capital and be paired with two mentors to guide them through the development of a business plan, financing, recruiting, marketing, selling and gaining exposure for their product. Ventures will have access to funding to hire talent as required.  They will have access to legal, accounting and other professional services, as well as a vast network of advisors.  The program culminates with a venture pitch to potential investors in mid-August 2014 at Venture Day.

 

How is my Venture Funded?

Ventures work with The Next 36 Chief Venture Advisor to reach milestones and receive staged funding and various checkpoints throughout the program.

 

Who owns the Intellectual Property of the venture?

Your venture does. Upon incorporating, all ventures take ownership of the IP created by their venture. Full detail on IP ownership is provided to the entrepreneur in their participation agreement.

 

Who are the Equity Investors in The Next 36?

The investor group consists of Relay Ventures (formerly Blackberry Partners Fund) led by John Albright, Slaight Communications, led by Gary Slaight and Alignvest Ventures Inc.

 

How much of the Venture’s Equity will I own?

Assuming you stay actively involved in your venture and are not diluted by future investors, you will own approximately 30.6% of your venture (assuming 3 co-founders).  Approx. 92% of equity is shared equally among the three co-founders, depending on how much capital is invested by the equity investors.  The co-founders’ equity is subject to reverse-vesting, which is designed to encourage co-founders to stay active with the venture beyond August 2014.  The remaining equity is shared between the equity investors (4%) and The Next 36 (4%).

Q

Summer Residency

 

What is Phase II of the Entrepreneurship Institute?

Entrepreneurship Institute Phase II: Toronto consists of in-class instruction taught by internationally acclaimed faculty and Canadian business leaders, directed by Ajay Agrawal, one of the University of Toronto’s top-rated professors at the Rotman School of Management.  The other professors teaching in this program come from around the world to teach award-winning short courses on topics critical to entrepreneurs with long-term, internationally competitive business strategies.

This second phase of the Entrepreneurship Institute also includes workshops on finance, negotiation, sales, marketing and project management for software development and will provide frequent access to Canadian business leaders. These entrepreneurs and executives will be the subject of business case studies and will guest lecture throughout the program.  There will be several opportunities to meet and pitch investors throughout the summer.  Click here to see 2013 Faculty.

 

Where will I stay during the summer?

2014 Residence accommodations TBA. As a reference point: in 2013, each venture shared a 4-bedroom suite at UofT's Innis College Residence. Each suite featured: private bedrooms, living room, 1.5 bathrooms, a shared kitchen equipped with fridge/freezer, stove/oven, microwave and access to the University’s Internet network.  The cost for living in residence for the summer from early May 2013 to mid August 2013 was approximately $2,600 (including taxes). Individuals participating in The Next 36 are responsible for covering this cost.

 

Can I take other classes or be employed during the Entrepreneurship Institute?

No. Full engagement of all entrepreneurs is an absolute requirement of The Next 36.  During the summer residency, you are not permitted to register in other classes, engage in salaried employment or work on other business ventures between May and August 2014. You are encouraged to devote as much time as possible to the program between December 2013 and April 2014. Entrepreneurs may be excused (with an appropriate reason) from up to three class days and over the course of early May to Mid-August.

 

I already live in the GTA.  Do I have to stay in residence or can I just live at home?

Even if you live in Toronto or the surrounding area, you are still required to live in residence with your venture team for the summer. Much of the program´s learning will happen outside of the classroom, after hours. By living with your peers and co-founders, you will gain the most from your summer, devote more time to your new venture and form deeper bonds with The Next 36.

Q

Financial Considerations

What costs will I have to cover?

There is no tuition charged to participate in The Next 36.  Generous donations of the individuals and foundations supporting the program cover the $30,000 cost per student. Students will be expected to cover their own travel to Toronto for the summer, and cover their living expenses at The University of Toronto.

 

Is there any financial assistance available?

The Next 36 offers 5 bursaries, worth up to $5,000 each, to help candidates with financial need cover the costs associated with living in Toronto for the summer Entrepreneurship Institute.

 

Where does funding for the program come from?

Seed funding for the program has been donated by a committed group of entrepreneurs, business leaders and National Partners who recognize the value of developing entrepreneurial talent in the next generation of Canadians and want to help teach and mentor you. They are committed to building Canada’s most impactful program for promising young entrepreneurial leaders. A complete list of donors is available here.

 

Are there any government grants for the ventures?

Yes.  The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario is providing ventures with matching grants of up to $30,000 per venture.