Activate Circular Accelerator

Accelerate  your business into the circular economy!

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 funding, 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.

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


Companies we’re working with:

What Activate participants are saying:

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



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 6-month CE project
Learning Icon Broad circular economy leadership curriculum
Canada flag icon Southern Ontario businesses
Flower with dollar sign flower Grants from $5,000-  $20,000 per company
mentorship icon 24 hours of mentor support
Globe icon Optional 0% financing for 24 months from Harvest Impact

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.



Circular Economy Accelerator Curriculum

In-depth education to create and support leaders in Canada’s circular economy business community.

Circular Arrows

Circular Economy Business Fundimentals

Circular Arrows

  • Circular value creation
  • Circular business models
  • Circular design principals
  • Example cases & scaling

Business and Economics

  • Donut Economics
  • Indigenomics
  • Carbon Markets
  • Behavioural Insights

Operations, Assessment and Design

  • Sustainable Operations
  • Circular Opportunity Assessment
  • Introduction to Biomimicry

Food and Environment Sectors

  • Food Networks
  • Food Loss and Waste
  • GHG reductions in Agri-Food
  • Built Environment
  • Textiles

Eligible Project Types

This program supports a variety of project types which assist businesses to implement circular solutions and advance the development of regional circular economies in southern Ontario.

Waste reduction innovations that will improve existing food and environment sector practices.

Ecosystem  regeneration from nature-based solutions and bio-based products.

Material loss prevention innovations that will provide long-term benefit.

Approaches to turn waste/bi-products into new products.

New use for excess, lost or wasted materials along your supply chain.

Developing or deploying technology to reduce waste

Partners and network

The Activate Circular Accelerator is administered by Innovation Guelph with support by 10C and the Guelph Smart Cities Office. Our network of partners include:

Educational Institutions

  • Arrell Food Institute, University of Guelph
  • Conestoga College
  • University of Edinburgh (UK)
  • Western University Ivey School of Business

    Think-tanks and Consultancies

    • Anthesis Provision
    • Biomimicry Frontiers
    • Circle Economy (Netherlands)
    • Global Centre of Indigenomics (British Columbia)


        • Circular Valley (Germany)
        • Closed Loop Partners (USA)
        • Tondo (Italy)
        • Foresight (British Columbia)

        COIL Business Network:

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

          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?  

          Circular business models

          The global shift towards the circular economy has begun. All over the world, there are examples of businesses that place circularity at the core of their business design. Common circular business models include:

          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?

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



          7 + 11 =

          City of Guelph
          The Corporation of the County of Wellington
          Innovation Guielph
          10C - Creating space for change
          Business Centre Guelph-Wellington
          Funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario