The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many business-owners — including those just getting started. But some HELIXers in the ACCELERATION Strand are getting a helping hand in their entrepreneurial and startup journeys thanks to the HELIX Emergency Relief Fund and the CIBC Innovators Fund.
Nurjahan Begum is one of 22 HELIXers who will be receiving support in the amount of $2,000 to help the business she co-founded, Progoti. Her venture offers products at cost and also partners with customers to directly support seamers and seamstresses in Bangladesh through a voluntary contribution towards their retirement program.
“This support helped us design a photo shoot for our new product line which will enhance our marketing materials and refresh our website,” Ms. Begum said. “The funding is also providing relief toward some of our operational expenses. We very much appreciate the support during this difficult time.”
For other members of HELIX, Seneca’s on-campus incubator, the pandemic has created a delay in getting their products and services to market, with some not able to qualify for emergency government funding or employment insurance.
The HELIX Emergency Relief Fund was made possible with support from donors such as CIBC, Mike Shaver, Tazwiz and Global Innovation & Skills Development Canada.
Other recipients of the relief funds include:
- Arkaika: A high-quality coffee brand that helps support farmers in Colombia through ethical buying.
- AfroWYF*: Afro Women and Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to leadership development, empowerment and mentoring of African refugee women, girls, and youth in Toronto.
- Beaut: A mobile application that connects you to professional hairstylist conveniently located in your area in real time.
- CarryOne: An integrated web platform that brings together front-end, back-office and social media management.
- CyberAI: A disruptive, transformative leader within the global fintech cyber security industry.
- EMERGE*: A patient-centric mobile application that aims to improve information flow between patients and health care providers.
- EZBeanz: Connects international students with educational institutions, payment platforms and other services to make it easier and faster for them to settle overseas.
- HOLA: Hispanic Open Learning Academy which offers virtual and in-person after-school Spanish programs that are taught through fun activities and an open learning environment for children, teens and adults.
- Infralum*: Design high-precision, rugged instruments and machinery to be used in infrastructure projects to measure the environmental and geotechnical parameters.
- InnScience*: A marketplace that allows organizations and researchers to post or to search research and development projects worldwide.
- Kiss These Feet*: An online shoe boutique for women with shoe sizes from nine to 14.
- Nexus Health*: Provides digital access in the form of a QR code wristband to a secure and shareable database of personal patient data.
- Plushura: Creates premium natural skin care products that allow you to live elegantly every day by nurturing the relationship with your mind, body and spirit.
- Progoti: Offers products at cost and partners with customers to directly support seamers and seamstresses in Bangladesh through a voluntary contribution towards their retirement program.
- Skin RnR: An all-natural, simple, two-step skin health system.
- Zealous Baby Care Services: Partners with new parents, connecting them with trusted care providers that specialize in being an extra pair of experienced hands.
*Received funding through both the CIBC Innovators Fund and the HELIX Emergency Relief Fund.
The need is ongoing — a total of 38 HELIXers applied for support through the relief fund as they continue to pivot their business. If you are able to donate, please consider doing so here and designate your gift to HELIX.