A business incubator program established by ecopreneur Jill Doucette and the Synergy Foundation has announced it will expand this year to include startups from across B.C.
Developed three years ago to nurture Victoria and Vancouver Island-based entrepreneurs and grow the circular economy, Project Zero has seen 29 ventures complete the program, including 16 female and 15 youth entrepreneurs. These businesses are projected to create over 80 new green jobs between 2020 and 2022.
Examples of successful graduates include Share Wares, a citywide borrowing platform to supply, sanitize, and track reusable packaging for Vancouver businesses, Carbon Wise, offering holistic consulting services to residential architects and builders to reduce both operational and embodied carbon emissions, and BinBreeze, a compost bin deodorizer that eliminates fruit flies and odour (also a 2021 Douglas 10 to Watch award winner).
“The Project Zero team was fantastic in helping me shape my business idea and make it a reality,” says Elizabeth Baudinaud, Founder of Carbon Wise. “The mentorship, guidance, and support I received over the past eight months were incredibly helpful to overcome the many challenges I faced as a young entrepreneur.”
Project Zero “is for people with a great circular idea in the early-stage start-up space and established businesses/non-profits with a new idea for a sustainable product or service,” according to their media release. Accepted participants are provided with access to coaching, workshops, and resources to help them get established. The incubator specifically caters to entrepreneurs, businesses, and non-profits that seek to operate within the circular economy and have a lower impact on our planet.
Successful applicants of the Incubator program will:
- Develop a business plan
- Learn about business operation fundamentals and entrepreneurial skills
- Connect with mentors and coaches
- Develop a business pitch
- Connect with innovative business leaders and industry experts
- Come together with like-minded entrepreneurs going through the same process
Project Zero is free to all successful applicants. The eight-month, virtual program runs from April to December each year. To be eligible, applicants must be based in, and planning to develop their organization in B.C., and operate a business/non-profit/product/service in its concept stage or that makes under $500,000 in revenue.
Applications for the 2022 intake are now open and will be accepted until February 13. Details and the application form can be found at www.project-zero.ca/incubator.
Also read: how Project Zero creates a circular economy