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Why your innovative start-up might fail and what you can do about it

Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) helps science and tech start-ups thrive through funding opportunities and business development support
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When Insightworks Learning and Development developed the first generation of their Viewpoint learning platform in 2011, they knew the digital mapping innovation could create uncharted efficiencies in personnel training across the healthcare, industrial and financial sectors.

The Viewpoint platform replicated work environments, operating equipment, work processes or important concepts to immerse learners in interactive scenarios to optimize the training process across different applications.

One success story out of many

Although Insightworks Learning and Development had a proven, functioning product, the company still faced hurdles that many start-ups and small businesses experience – a limited number of employees and a lack of resources needed to drive sustainable revenues.

To help their company successfully deliver this innovative training software and other products to multiple markets, Insightworks Learning and Development obtained access to government funding, business support and intellectual property support by becoming an incubator client of SSMIC.

The growing Sault-based company now operates with over eleven employees and an ever-expanding client base that includes arauco, JD Aero and St. Michaels Hospital.

This is just a single local success story of many coming out of SSMIC.

How C2C can help?

SSMIC’s Concept to Commerce Business Services Division (C2C), has been helping science and tech start-ups, and small to medium-sized businesses (SME) successfully transition from innovative ideas to profitability.

“Just like our partnership with Insightworks, we offer a personalized roadmap for businesses that include exploring funding opportunities and business support that are tailored to each client,” says Taylor Trecroce, Business Development Coordinator, SSMIC. “This could mean working with our business development team to create a detailed business plan, accessing market trend reports to aid in the development of strategic planning for marketplace entry, or helping clients protect their innovations by providing legal and intellectual property support.”

While Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma Region aren’t deficient on innovative ideas (see skritswap, Black Fox Fishing, Stufff Lubricants) many start-ups and small businesses lack sufficient knowledge on the business of commercializing their innovations.

“Two of the biggest reasons that start-ups and small businesses struggle to grow are lack of capital and poor planning,” says Trecroce. “It can be a challenge for resource-strapped start-ups to navigate the process of moving their concept to a profitable business.”

SSMIC has several exclusive funding programs they offer in-house or can help businesses explore alternate financial resources necessary to promote growth.

“Right now our Innovation Accelerator Program, or IAP, is available to fund eligible projects up to $10,000 for our clients,” says Trecroce. “Money through IAP can be used towards various business development initiatives, product development, or sales and marketing efforts.”

Having accessed funding through IAP, Insightworks Learning and Development CEO, Mark Lewis, can attest to how the program benefits businesses. “The IAP program is very helpful for any business looking to grow. It makes things a bit easier.”

In addition to access to funding, SSMIC’s business advisory service is a critical resource made available to clients.

Business development advisors bolster business growth for clients by identifying key market opportunities, developing business plans, offering project management services and coordinating important relationships with community partners.

Becoming a SSMIC Client

The process of becoming a SSMIC client starts with having a great business idea. The next step is to fill out a short business intake form that can be found on SSMIC’s website along with information about eligibility requirements - eligible clients are technology or science-based companies, or a company using technology and science to develop and grow their business. To be eligible businesses must be located in the Algoma region.

Trecroce encourages businesses to reach out, have a conversation and find out what ways SSMIC can help. “We offer a very personalized service specific to each business and we’re here to support through the entire process.”

SSMIC offers a blend of expertise, information, and resources to help innovative concepts transform into successful businesses. Click here to learn more about how SSMIC’s Concept to Commerce Division can help your business or visit

This Content is made possible by our Sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.