Start a Business
This page is intended for individuals of the general public and members of the UM community (faculty, staff and students) that are interested in launching a start-up company based on IP developed at the UM. It also provides a broad overview of the startup process and provides background information on all resources available at the UM and in our province to become an entrepreneur!
Build your start-up!
Meet some of our entrepreneurs
UM entrepreneurs have created more some companies, securing millions of dollars in investment over the past decade. Our research has the potential to be transformed into products or services that impact society globally. No matter what type of entrepreneur you are, the Partnerships and Innovation office can help bring your ideas to life!
UM technology has led to the creation of new companies that are making an impact in Manitoba and around the world. Learn more about some of our start-up companies:
Your exciting new ventures have our support
The Partnership and Innovation office supports the creation of early stage companies by providing IP protection, market strategies, and connections to other supports.
Generally, the requirements for successfully launching a start-up include a compelling technology, a strong market opportunity, a competitive advantage, a sound business and financial plan and an experienced management team. Many technologies created at the UM are early stage and require significant investment of resources, time and talent to bring them to the marketplace.
Steps to launch a company based on a UM technology:
We encourage all members of the UM community to contact our office early in the discovery and invention process to discuss how we can assist you to protect your invention, and so that we may assess your innovation to determine if it is suitable to launch a start-up company.
We also encourage entrepreneurs to contact our office to inquire about available UM technologies that may be start-up company opportunities.
Once you have identified a technology from our portfolio, our office will either license or assign the technology to your company through a contractual agreement. In some instances, our office may consider a short-term option agreement preceding a formal license or assignment agreement so your company can evaluate the technology. IP may be a source of value, and a major tool for attracting financing for your company.
3. Build alliances
Our office can guide and refer you to valuable programs, competitions, mentors, strategic resources and investors.
4. Business plan
A formal business plan is important to develop as you will need to understand the market potential of your technology, competitors, funding requirements and to be able to predict when you will see a return on your investment.
Commercializing technology is a capital-intensive process that requires you to establish relationships with venture capitalists, and angel investors as well as pursuing other forms of capital such as government grants.
Most early stage technologies need further development and we can assist in connecting you to researchers who may be able to help in this area.
Canada's first national-level research commercialization program is now available in Manitoba. The Lab2Market program is 16 weeks in duration, helping researchers validate their ideas with the purpose of finding business/commercial value.
The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship
The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship (SCCE) supports students from all UM faculties that want to start a business. The SCCE is dedicated to supporting student entrepreneurship in a variety of ways including:
- Educational opportunities
- Events and competitions
- Venture coaching
Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that designs and delivers research and training programs in Canada.
North Forge Technology Exchange
North Forge is an incubator accelerator and entrepreneur community supporting Manitoba's innovative science-based, technology-enabled, and advanced manufacturing startups.
Business isn't just for business students. IdeaStart will open its doors and its resources to students, faculty, and staff from across the UM community.
All ideas deserve to be heard and explored with the support and insights of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, and community partners. IdeaStart will be a place to dream, brainstorm, collaborate, test ideas, and plan for success.
Whether a business, a social enterprise, or a grand plan for community development or environmental change, the best ideas are shaped by entrepreneurial thinking and approaches. It is this spirit that will guide IdeaStart and inspire people to say their idea out loud and see how far it can go.
Building on the success of the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Asper School of Business, IdeaStart will provide a central physical location, a supportive community, and exceptional leadership. Students, faculty, and staff will have access to:
- one-on-one mentorship from faculty and business leaders in the community;
- state-of-the-art technology and inviting workspaces;
- educational programs, and more.
Are you wanting to create a business opportunity based on a UM technology?
Our community partners, incubators, and accelerators provide mentorship, expertise, workspace and networking opportunities to all entrepreneurs looking to scale their business. Our connections include:
Frequently Asked Questions
What are your available technologies that are suitable to create a start-up?
All UM Technologies that are available to be turned into a start-up company are listed on UM Technology page.
When can a start-up company begin negotiating a license, an option or assignment agreement for a particular UM technology?
Anytime, we welcome discussions about company formation around a technology.
In consultation, we will negotiate and execute either a license, option or assignment agreement for a UM technology. These agreements are legal contracts to which certain rights to a technology are granted by the university.
An option agreement is often used to exclusively reserve rights in an invention while a company advances the technology through proof-of-concept, explores funding opportunities or raises capital. Option agreements may include milestone payments and other financial considerations .
In most licensing agreements, the licensee is responsible for the costs of maintaining the patents.
How long does it take to license, option or assign a technology from UM to create a start-up?
This could take several weeks or months depending on negotiation of business terms. Our office has agreement templates, we recommend to expedite the negotiations and discussions between the parties.
Many entrepreneurs are concerned about the financial terms that are included in these agreements. The goal of our office is to negotiate an agreement that meets the needs of all parties. The financial terms vary but are influenced by market size, stage of development, timeline to market entry, competition, regulatory, and the company needs.
How are conflicts of interest handled concerning UM faculty start-ups?
The UM encourages all entrepreneurial activity created by its faculty members. However, the UM is also committed to avoiding either perceived or actual conflict of interest issues concerning faculty start-ups. All UM faculty members have responsibilities to optimize technology transfer and mitigate conflict-of-interest when licensing, or pursing an option or assignment of UM IP to a start-up. More specifically, a faculty associated start-up should not utilize University resources to support company activity, or use UM students as staff or for projects for their company. Faculty should also discuss the number of days per academic year with their department head that may be allocated to work on projects related to their start-up outside of their University obligations.
See UM’s Policy on Conflict of Interest for more information.
What is the role of UM inventor’s in a start-up company?
Each situation is unique, and range from almost nothing to being an active member of the company. It is common for UM inventors to serve as consultants, advisors or in some other technical development capacity based on the inventor’s skills and expertise.
Can the business terms within a license, option or assignment agreement be altered to accommodate early-stage ventures?
Does the university take equity in start-ups?
We can, but this is something that is typically negotiated. Since most start-up companies have limited cash, the university can accept equity as part of the financial terms of a license agreement.
Will UM take a seat on the company board?
Not generally, but we may in certain circumstances.
If the start-up is based on an invention jointly owned by UM and another institution, what happens to the invention?
Under these circumstances, UM enters into an Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA) whereby one of the institutions will take the lead in negotiating the agreement. This way a company can negotiate a single agreement with the lead institution.
What happens if there are follow on patents to the original UM invention?
Follow-on inventions based on research at the UM are typically owned by the UM as per the University’s IP Policy. Licensing of the new invention will be handled as if it were a new discovery.
If the invention is unpatented software, will the start-up still need a license?
Yes, a license is required for unpatented software. Alternatively, an open source license may be obtained to utilize the software should the UM inventor(s) select this option as a main source of distribution.