Business Incubator

No equity.  No fees.  Fast-track your startup to success.

2023 Spring Cohort applications due Sunday, March 26, 2023.

Submit your application today!


About The Forge Business Incubator Program

The Forge Business Incubator is a limited-enrollment program for early-stage startups, creating customized plans for a small cohort of startups to help encourage growth. These entrepreneurs are past the business idea stage and have started gaining traction by launching their startup to the market or have developed a working prototype. The Forge accepts three Business Incubator cohorts per year.

The Business Incubator program is sector agnostic – program alumni include software, hardware, IoT, medical devices, healthcare IT, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and consumer products companies.  Full-time founders based in Hamilton are preferred but all applicants are welcome.

The Forge is wholly funded by McMaster University to contribute to and support the development of the entrepreneurship and innovation community in Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In order to best support these communities, The Forge and McMaster University do not take equity in the companies we work with.

Business Incubator Client Perks

  • 8 Months of incubation with the opportunity to extend
  • Financial reimbursement program
  • Dedicated workspace within The Forge at McMaster Innovation Park
  • One-on-one mentorship from Entrepreneur-in-Residence and/or Incubator Manager
  • Advisory from 50+ Volunteer Mentors
  • Professional service providers for IP, legal, accounting, finance, tech advisory, marketing, and more.
  • Makerspace with advanced prototyping equipment and makerspace technical lead for advisory
  • Conference and meeting rooms
  • Connections to government funding programs including OCI, NRC-IRAP, NSERC, Mitacs, etc
  • One-on-one investor pitch practice
  • Introductions to angel investors and venture capital firms
  • Workshops, seminars, and networking events
  • Access to talent and recruitment support
  • PR/media exposure via newsletter and social media
  • Business address and mailbox

Application Process

  1. Submit your application.
  2. The Forge will contact you to schedule a phone interview.
  3. If selected, you will be invited for a follow-up interview to discuss your startup via Zoom. Applicants will have the opportunity to deliver a 5-minute pitch with 10 slides or less.
  4. Based on the results of the interview process, The Forge will select 5 companies to join the new cohort.

Tip: You will not be able to save your application mid-way through. We recommend that you write out your answers on a separate document before beginning the application form.

Hear from some of our valued clients

Michael Jobity, Founder & President of Jetson Infinity

Business Incubator Client

The Forge is is not only a business incubator, but it is a community of innovators, dreamers, and experts who want you to grow. Since joining The Forge, my business – Jetson Infinity has exploded with many exciting opportunities in the areas of lead generation, IP protection, and manufacturing. The resources at The Forge are invaluable and the team consistently operates with respect, integrity, and optimism.

Dr. Lauren Foster, Co-Founder & CEO of AIMA Laboratories Inc.

Business Incubator Client

The mentors we’ve been exposed to at the Forge have been extremely generous with their time. Moreover, their advice has been critical in shaping our corporate development and enabling our rapid growth that would not have been possible otherwise. Advice on communication strategies, legal aspects of incorporating and shareholder plans, as well as investor exposure has been tremendously helpful.

Daniel Hacikyan, Co-Founder & CFO of EarthOne Inc.

Business Incubator Client

The Forge has really been a solid foundation for the growth of our business since we have joined and really has been a big part of how we were able to achieve our goals thus far. The Forge opened funding, mentorship, and business partnership opportunities. I’d definitely recommend The Forge to other early startups like us who are heads down with growing the business and need a network to reach out to for support.

Rachel Bartholomew, Founder & CEO of Hyivy Health

Business Incubator Client

The Forge provides a space where you can receive the support you need from industry professionals, likeminded entrepreneurs and mentors who have been in the position you are in. When our company was accepted and started working with The Forge, I felt like I was surrounded by people who understood my cause and were proactive about getting me the support and help I needed to get where I needed to go. The Forge has resources that extend into a wealth of knowledge accessible from McMaster University.