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Learn how the process works, from disclosure to product!

Thinking about starting a company? Here are some questions, and resources, to consider:

Please note: the website links provided in this section are for guidance purposes only. The University of Guelph does not warrant or represent that the content of these websites is accurate, useful and applicable to Canadian companies.

Do you have a great idea for a startup company?

Generally, the idea must be disruptive, or consist of a "platform technology" that generates multiple opportunities. If the idea is incremental or simply adds to already existing technologies available on the market, licensing or selling the idea is a worthwhile option.

If the idea stems from research that has been privately or publicly funded under a contract, it is important to make sure that there are no obligations related to the outcomes of the research; for example, an obligation to disclose a commercial opportunity related to discoveries or inventions under a research contract or an inter-institutional agreement, or an obligation to assign ownership of the results of the research to the funding body or host institution.

See the following websites:

Canada Business — Government Services for Entrepreneurs (general information for startups)

Services to businesses (Guide from Service Ontario)

Starting a business — Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade

Is this idea supported by market research?

Small Business Agency of Ontario (Ontario Ministry of Economic Development & Trade)

Business Development Bank of Canada 

The Start-up Donut — Resources for Your Business (tips on market research)


*Please note that some of the links may be to foreign sites. Be diligent in ensuring that the information is applicable to Canadian-based companies.

Is there a conflict of interest?

Talk to your Department Chair about any potential for conflict of interest. You may be required to obtain authorization to start up a company.
See the University of Guelph Conflict of Interest Policy.


Have you protected your IP?

IP protection is ensured by patents, trademarks and copyrights. IP protection is national in scope. This implies that each right (patent, trademark or copyright) must be protected in the country where you intend to make, use or sell the product or service offered by your company.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Do you have a business plan?

A well thought-out business plan is the foundation of a successful enterprise. Organizations that can help you with business planning include:

Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre

Small Business Agency of Ontario

Guelph Chamber of Commerce

National Council on Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer (NCET2)

Do you have a management team?

Having good IP protection is only part of the value of any company. The other part depends on management, financial health and the ability to get a product to market.

For local business expertise and advice, contact:

Must your company be registered?

Do you have a resource for legal matters?

Do you need insurance?

How will you handle accounting?

How will you manage human resources?

What will be the sources of funding for the company?

Funding sources include venture capital, angel investors, private foundations or publicly funded programs.

NSERC – Idea to Innovation Program (I2I)

Ontario Centres of Excellence

Grants and tax exemptions for research and development (Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation)

Can you meet your clients' expectations?

How will you market your company’s goods and services?