2023 NERVE Program Application

Program Details

Review the program offerings, terms, and conditions

  • The program awards up to 5 Canadian-based early-stage entrepreneurs
  • Preference given toward applicants who have recently graduated (less than 5 years from the last post-graduate fellowship)
  • The program will award $100,000 (per individual/company) in addition to training opportunities and mentorship to help early-stage entrepreneurs to build and grow neurotech companies
  • The $100,000 cash award can be used partially as a stipend and/or other project-related costs. Total budget is subject to approval by OBI and should reflect the project plan.
  • Successful applicants will develop milestones for the commercialization of the neurotechnology and sign a milestone-based agreement with OBI
  • The funding to the entrepreneur during the one-year program will be released in 3 tranches and the release of the fund is contingent on achieving milestones outlined in the milestone-based agreement between the entrepreneur, and OBI
  • Each awardee will be assigned an industry-based mentor(s) and liaise with OBI through a dedicated point of contact
  • It is mandatory for all awardees to attend training and support programs hosted by OBI while enrolled in the program.
  • Awardees will also be invited to selective programs and events run by OBI’s partners

Program Eligibility

Review the eligibility before submitting an application

  • The program is aimed at supporting early-stage entrepreneurs based in Canada
  • The applicant must commit to being a full-time entrepreneur during the course of the program
  • The applicant must have an incorporated company or have plans to incorporate a neurotech company based in Canada
  • The company is focused on developing/commercializing a technology based on scientific research and has a fundamental impact on how people understand, diagnose, improve or treat brain and brain-related disorders (neurological, neuropsychiatric, and/or sensory diseases). Note: Programs or services are not eligible.
  • Funding must be used to commercialize a neurotechnology (e.g. devices, therapeutics, software/ICT). The use of funds will be reviewed and approved by OBI.

Program Competition Guidelines

Two rounds: 1) Online Application 2) Virtual Pitch Session

Round 1: Online Application

In the first round, applicants will be required to submit an online application consisted of 3 parts:

Part I: Applicant Information

This section requires basic information about the applicant.

Part II: The Questions

This section consists of the questions about your background, company, and technology. Please be clear and concise and adhere to the word limits. Do not disclose any proprietary information.

Part III: 1-Minute Video

Record and post your 1-minute video on YouTube and provide the link to your video in the application as instructed.

The video is to help us assess how well you communicate your idea and how passionate you are about commercializing this technology and building your company.

The video must not exceed one minute. The video must be uploaded onto YouTube, and a link to the video must be provided when completing the online application form. The video must be set to “Unlisted”.

In the video, please include the following content:

  • Start with your full name, company name, and a one-line pitch on what your company is working on
  • A demo of your product if you have a prototype
  • In what way the NERVE Program and its funding will be used to grow the company over the next year
  • What you would like to achieve through this program if selected?
  • Why your idea is important

Format of the video:

  • Record the video in landscape
  • You are physically present in the video, while pitching your company, demoing your product, and communicating the contents listed above
  • No captions are to be used in the video
  • Record the video in a quiet space where there is sufficient lighting

DISCLAIMER: Your application, including the uploaded video, will become the property of the Ontario Brain Institute. OBI reserves the right to disclose the name of the applicant and project details and/or use the video in publications and other types of media for program and/or communication purposes (e.g. including without limitation in media releases, annual reporting and advertisement). Also, your application may be reviewed by external judges. Therefore, do NOT disclose any proprietary information in this application.

Round 2: Virtual Pitch Session

The selected applicants will move forward to the second round - the Virtual Pitch Session. The applicant will be given 5 minutes to pitch to a panel of expert judges followed by a 5-minute Q&A session. The pitch session will be held virtually and will be recorded. The recorded session may be used in whole or in part for publications and other types of media for program and/or communication purposes (e.g. including without limitation in media releases, annual reporting and advertisements).

During the Virtual Pitch Session, the applicant will be evaluated based on both technology and commercial opportunity as well as on the ability to communicate his/her ideas and business.

Important Dates

Below are the important dates for 2023 competition

  • June 5, 2023 - Application deadline (11:59 PM EST)
  • June 16, 2023 – Invitations sent for the Virtual Pitch Session
  • July 2023 - Virtual Pitch Session
  • July 2023 – Winners will be selected and notified via e-mail
  • July 2023 - Welcome/Orientation Day

Dates are tentative and subject to change.