The internet offers a wealth of invaluable information, tools, and other resources for budding entrepreneurs. In this article, we list four websites that we believe every startup should take a look at.
First of all, does your startup even have a shot at success? That’s a good question to have answered before quitting your day job and pouring all your time and money into a crap shoot. Developed by the Canadian Innovation Centre, the CFA Snapshot will help clarify the viability of your idea. The Critical Factor Assessment analyzes your venture through dozens of criteria to reach a detailed conclusion on its feasibility.
Based on extensive research as to what key factors drive the likelihood of success, the snapshot—available for free—”has a very impressive track record at predicting the success or failure of a venture.” As the CIC proudly notes, “an independent study by the University of Toronto found that ventures that have scored well on a CFA have an 80% success rate at getting to market [and] when a CFA has identified critical gaps in one or more areas, these ventures have a failure rate of approximately 80%.”
Now that you know your idea will fly, it’s time to get into the grittier parts of running a business. Use BizPal.ca to explore in-depth information about federal, provincial, and municipal permits and licenses. It’s important to know what whatever business you operate, you have the right to do so—or legal issues could later bring your whole startup crashing down. (Note: BizPal does not currently service Nunavut or Quebec.)
With any necessary permits or licenses in your pocket, it’s time to take a look at patents, trademarks, and copyrights. The importance of intellectual property, especially for tech startups, cannot be overstated.
You must do two very crucial things at this step. One, apply for whichever patents, trademarks, and copyrights you need to protect and establish your startup. And second, make sure your startup doesn’t encroach on others’ patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Again, mistakes here could lead to serious legal wars down the road that may hamper, and possibly kill, your venture.
Okay, enough with the boring legal crap. It’s time to make things happen! But in order to do this, you most likely a need money injection (even stubborn bootstrappers can benefit from this help).
Fundica, the self-proclaimed “best way to find funding in Canada,” is a free service that matches entrepreneurs with money, almost like a dating site. It’s not about raising millions of venture capital and super angel money—Fundica is designed to connect you to applicable grants and tax credits. But if you do need a big wad of cash, loans and equity can be tapped into through Fundica as well.