Activate Circular Accelerator

Accelerate  your business into the circular economy!

Cohort 2 intake launching spring 2022!

The circular economy is the business opportunity of this century!


Our current food system is predominantly designed around a make-take-dispose model which is wasteful, carbon heavy and inefficient.

  • 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted
  • $21-billion in value is lost annually, just from food manufacturing
  • 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the food sector

COIL Activate: Fueling circular innovation at the nexus of the food and environment sectors.


The COIL Activate Circular Accelerator is designed to help innovative companies grow and scale their circular economy businesses, products and solutions. Through mentorship, education, links into a national and global circular economy (CE) network, we are building the next generation of Canada’s CE business leaders.


It’s time for your business to ACTIVATE Canada’s circular economy.

Reference:  Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International. The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste: Roadmap. 2019.

Focus sectors

COIL Activate is focused on funding and accelerating innovative circular economy businesses working in the nexus of the food and environment sectors.



Circular Arrows

Circular design

Circular Arrows

Designing products or services to reuse materials that would otherwise have been end of life or designing for future reuse of materials in a product.

Reverse logistics

Processes that facilitate the reuse and recycling of products and materials to create new value. 

Food networks icon

Food Networks

Food networks icon

Collaborations across the food supply chain (food producers, processors, manufactures, retailers) working to create new social, economic, and environmental  value in the food system.  

Disruptive technologies

Technologies that disrupt the linear status quo and generate new value from circular practices.

Eaten apple with circular arrows surrounding it.

Food loss and waste

Eaten apple with circular arrows surrounding it.

Solutions that reduce, recycle and revalue food waste

An icon indicating emissions reductions

GHG emissions

An icon indicating emissions reductions

Solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The design of materials and processes around biological processes.


Businesses operations deliver social and environmental benefit.

Circular design

Reverse logistics

Food networks


Disruptive technologies

Eaten apple with circular arrows surrounding it.

Food loss and waste

An icon indicating emissions reductions

CO2 emissions



What we offer:

  • Funding & financing up to $30,000 
  • Hands-on executive-level mentorship
  • World-class circular training
  • Link to Canada’s leading agri-innovation hub
  • National and international connections



Who we activate:

  • Leaders in the food and environment sectors 
  • Businesses focused on circular transformation
  • CE entrepreneurs with traction, ready to scale 
  • Demonstrated track record of growth
  • Companies with innovative circular solutions


About COIL Activate Circular Accelerator


The COIL Activate Circular Accelerator helps motivated entrepreneurs and enterprises scale their circular business and deliver solutions that help transition Canada toward a sustainable, circular economy.


To support, expand, and grow sustainable, circular enterprises that create and deliver goods and services in ways that generate sustainable social, economic and environmental value.

Activate Accelerator Team:

The Activate Accelerator program is delivered through Innovation Guelph. Innovation Guelph’s skilled and committed Circular Economy Innovation Hub team (CE iHub) is focused on helping circular businesses succeed. Our  hands-on approach, business know how and circular economy expertise  will help expand your opportunities and grow your revenue.

COIL Connections:

COIL Activate is a program of COIL and Our Food Future, Guelph and Wellington County’s smart cities strategy to grow more circular businesses and collaborations across Ontario.

Participants in the Activate Accelerator will be linked to COIL’s Urban-Rural Testbed, a broad network of public, private and not-for-profit organizations committed to growing the circular economy. Participants will also benefit from COIL’s broader programs and platforms including our CE Business Passport, ReSourceExchange Material Marketplace and potential links with the COIL Circulate CoLab program which is funding five industrial-scale CE demonstration projects.



COIL Activate Accelerator program

Canada’s hub for circular economy innovation

Through cultivating a dynamic circular food economy in Guelph and Wellington County, we’ve become national leaders in prototyping and scaling circular business approaches. As a regional hub with international reach, Innovation Guelph supports business growth through access to funding, mentorship, and training. Since 2011, we have supported over 1200 businesses, including over 50 scale-up companies each year.

Maximizing value

As a COIL Activate business, you will access world-class circular economy training that is specially crafted to unlock your business’ potential to reduce waste and reach new markets. Our mentors get to know your business inside and out; they join your team and leverage their decades of experience to take your business to the next level.

Stopwatch icon 16 weeks
Canada flag icon Canadian businesses
Flower with dollar sign flower Funding up to $30,000
mentorship icon 32 hours of mentor support
Globe icon Scaling network

Partners and network

Our growing network of national and international partners will expose you to invaluable opportunities and support you in reaching your scaling goals.

A world map in blue with Ontario, British Columbia, Italy, Netherlands and the UK in orange indicating their partnership with COIL.

Accelerators, Incubators, Think-tanks and Consultancies

  • Circular Valley
  • Closed Loop Partners
  • Foresight
  • Provision Coalition
  • Tondo

Academic Partners

  • University of Guelph Arrell Food Institute
  • University of Exeter Centre for Circular Economy
  • Western University Ivey School of Business
  • Conestoga College

    Local Experts

    • 10C
    • Business Centre Guelph-Wellington
    • Guelph Chamber of Commerce
    • Innovation Guelph
    • LaunchIt Minto
    • University of Guelph John F. Wood Centre

    Subject Matter Experts

    • Biomimicry Frontiers
    • Maison Verte
    • Ontario Co-operative Assn.

    Learn about the Circular Economy

    The circular advantage

    Put simply, circular business practices are likely to be more efficient, sustainable and profitable than what you’re doing today. Expanding circular concepts across your business will help you to reduce waste and inefficiencies, generate new revenue streams, unlock long-term savings, and foster innovation. With employees increasingly valuing the sustainability efforts of companies, circular practices are also your key to attracting top talent.

    The global shift towards environmentally responsible business has begun. Since 2014, global environmentally responsible investment has increased by 68%, reaching over USD $30 trillion in 2020. Consumers are driving this shift – seven in 10 feel that it is important for brands to be environmentally responsible and have tried or would like to try circular practices.

    (link to source)

    The future is circular. Is your business ready?  

    Regenerative materials:

    A company reduces the need for new material inputs through the use of bio-based, renewable or recovered materials.


    Recovering Waste:

    A company uses as little energy and natural resources as possible through using waste as an input or incentivizing the return of used products or packaging.

    Circular design:


    A company designs products to last and optimizes products and materials for reuse, repair, or refurbishment.



    Shared ownership:

    A company leases products and uses them until the end of their lifecycle rather than selling brand-new products to individuals or businesses.

    Products as a service:

    A company offers the outcomes of a product rather than the product itself.


    Shared ownership:

    A company leases products and uses them until the end of their lifecycle rather than selling brand-new products to individuals or businesses.

    Products as a service:

    A company offers the outcomes of a product rather than the product itself.


    About Innovation Guelph

    Innovation Guelph has been fostering innovation since 2011. Their agile approach to supporting entrepreneurs reflects the evolving needs of their clients.

    As a core delivery partner of COIL Activate Circular Accelerator, program participants will benefit from Innovation Guelph’s international network and deep experience helping enterprises start, grow and thrive.

    Any questions?

    Thinking about applying? Wondering if this is the  right program for your business?

    Please reach out to our team. We’d love to hear from you.



    12 + 4 =

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How and when do I apply?

    Cohort 1 launched in October 2021. 

    Applications for cohort 2 will open in spring 2022. 



    When does the program start?

    Cohort 2 will launch in April 2022.

    Are there any business size or revenue requirements?

    Selected businesses must be able to produce a Canadian tax return indicating at least $200,000 in annual revenue.

    We appreciate that 2020 was an exceptional year, so please contact us if you have any questions.

    Are there any requirements based on where my business is located?

    Your business must be registered corporation in a Canadian jurisdiction and operating within southern Ontario. This area covers broadly Ottawa to Windsor across the innovation corridor. If you have any questions please contact our team at [email protected]


    How can I learn more about this program?

    To learn more about the COIL Activate Circular Accelerator please contact the CE iHub team at [email protected] 

    How will the program be delivered?

    The program will be run virtually through a combination of learning sessions, mentor meetings, and events over a 16 week period.

    How much time should I plan to devote to this program?
    Typically two members of an organization’s leadership team will need to commit approximately 96 hours over 16 weeks for the accelerator program. This program aims to support client business success and schedules, learning modules, and mentorships are designed around the client business. Please contact us if you have any questions.
    What funding options are available?

    Businesses will have access to a $20,000 grant as well as an optional $10,000 loan offered through a 2-year term at 0% interest. 

    How many people can participate per business?

    Typically two members of the leadership team – usually including the founder, President/CEO participate in this program. 

    City of Guelph
    The Corporation of the County of Wellington
    Innovation Guielph
    10C - Creating space for change
    Guelph Chamber of Commerce

    Logo - John F. Wood Centre for Business and Entrepreneurs

    This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.