Yukon Investment Challenge to foster a culture of investment in innovation and entrepreneurship

Yukonstruct and Yukon University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship have partnered with Spring Activator to deliver the first Yukon Investment Challenge. This program is designed to support and enhance local businesses and investors, whereby the latter will collectively award one startup with up to $50,000 in investment. The initiative is funded in partnership with the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

The Yukon Investment Challenge is a 10-week program facilitated by Spring Activator and will run from March to May 2022. The Challenge will introduce local investors to five investment-ready ventures in the region, along with seven up-and-coming companies with high future investment potential. Participating investors will learn how to evaluate prospective investments in emerging startups in and around the Yukon, and entrepreneurs will be guided towards being investment-ready for a chance to win up to $50,000 of investment funding from the investor cohort.

Individuals in the investor and entrepreneur tracks of the program will collaborate in each session to promote communication, accelerate due diligence, and create an environment that will empower both sides of the table. The program will include content, facilitators, and guest speakers to address the priorities and trends related to innovation in the Yukon. Each investor will receive a membership in the Yukon Venture Angels (YVA) which connects them to a group of investors interested in exploring investment opportunities, learning about angel investing, and having a voice in shaping the Yukon venture capital and start-up ecosystem.

“This initiative highlights the strength of Yukon's entrepreneurship and innovation community, while also responding to the needs of its members. CanNor’s funding for this project represents our commitment to supporting a strong and inclusive regional network that supports business growth and innovation across the North. The Yukon Investment Challenge will empower both businesses and investors for years to come.” - Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for the Yukon

“Access to investment is key for Yukon businesses as they grow and innovate. This program will support the growing local investment ecosystem in our territory by training both companies and investors,” says Lana Selbee, Executive Director of Yukonstruct. “We’re thrilled to partner with YukonU, Spring Activator, and Yukon Venture Angels to present this challenge.”

“We believe by connecting entrepreneurs with investors through this program they will receive the skills, knowledge and networking they need to continue their business development,” says Lauren Manekin-Beille, Department Head, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Yukon University. “We place great value in continuing to support a strong sense of community through place-based investment.”

“Spring is thrilled to work with YukonU and Yukonstruct to support the growing investor community in the region,” states Davina MacPhail, Impact Investing Program Manager at Spring Activator. “Our hopes are that the Challenge will provide a stepping stone towards funding purpose-driven businesses as key contributors to the local economy.”

“Yukon Venture Angels is excited to support and partner in this creative initiative,” says Barrett Horne, President of YVA. “We believe that encouraging private sector startups and investment is critically important for Yukon’s long term social and economic health–building a foundation for resilient and adaptive communities.”

Apply for the Challenge.

About the partners:

About Yukonstruct: Yukonstruct Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Yukoners bring their ideas to life. Yukonstruct runs a coworking space, a makerspace, and entrepreneur and startup programming at NorthLight Innovation. Yukonstruct is a community-driven organization that believes in the power of entrepreneurship to create a thriving and resilient local economy. The organization is passionate about how ideas can build a brighter, more sustainable, more inclusive future for us all.

About Yukon University: Yukon University is a flexible post-secondary institution that includes a place and pathway for every learner. Our students are grounded in education and research relevant to the North. Our resourceful and creative graduates are building a resilient, versatile and ambitious future for all northerners.

With over 40 degree, diploma, certificate and trades programs, local learners can access opportunities without needing to leave home—those from across Canada and internationally are invited to deepen their understanding of our rapidly changing circumpolar world. Our 13 campuses are located on the traditional territories of the 14 Yukon First Nations. We respect and honour Yukon First Nations knowledge, worldviews, and educational priorities in every aspect of YukonU.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) is a Yukon University service that supports innovators and entrepreneurs through funding, resources, expertise and incubation. I&E is located at NorthLight Innovation with funding contributions from the Government of Yukon’s Department of Economic Development and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor).

About Spring Activator: A certified B Corporation®, Spring Activator is a global incubator, accelerator, and advisory firm that empowers entrepreneurs, investors, and entrepreneurial ecosystem builders to change the world through innovation. With its advisory services, it has helped over 70 different incubators, accelerators, foundations, and governments across 5 continents enhance their capacity to maximize impact both in their local communities and globally. Through its impact programs, Spring has helped more than 750 entrepreneurs create 350 companies and raise over $24M in funding. More information at www.spring.is.

About Yukon Venture Angels: YVA (affiliated with NACO–the National Angel Capital Organization) is a growing community of Yukon early stage investors and entrepreneurs committed to: Pursue early-stage investment opportunities in Yukon; Educate and empower Yukon private sector investors; and Advocate to make Yukon an attractive and genuinely competitive habitat for angel investing and for start-up enterprises.

Lana Selbee
Executive Director, Yukonstruct Society
867 457 0150

Davina MacPhail
Impact Investing Program Manager, Spring Activator