OneEleven’s partners, DMZ and Oxford Properties have come forward to help OneEleven members impacted by the sudden closure of the tech accelerator. 

Hard hit by the global economic situation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Toronto-based tech accelerator OneEleven announced last week that it is permanently ceasing operations.

DMZ, another tech accelerator which is also a close partner of OneEleven, announced late last week that it will help OneEleven’s member companies by providing them with three complimentary mentorship sessions covering any area of business needed from its entrepreneurs-in-residence and DMZ staff, without any need to apply.

“With many startups in survival mode during the pandemic, access to mentorship, capital, customers and government relations support from incubators and accelerators are needed more now than ever. That’s why DMZ is continuing to find ways to help as many startups as possible get through this pandemic, continue to grow and create more made-in-Canada careers,” Ahmed Saleh, DMZ told IT Business Canada in an email.

The applications of companies that will decide to apply to the DMZ will be expedited. If accepted, DMZ will waive fees for the next two months and provide access to all its services, including coaching, capital, customers, community and space once offices open back up, Abdullah Snobar, executive director of DMZ, noted in a blog post.

OneEleven was founded to help Toronto’s emerging technology companies grow through access to shared space, expertise and resources. But, the company noted in a blog post last week, its model also involved OneEleven absorbing some of that risk: the risk of failure, such as the risk of graduations, closures or layoffs among its companies.

In an attempt to make sure its member companies were equipped to survive this seismic societal and economic shift, OneEleven provided two months of rent abatement to them for April and May, ensuring that they had some runway to access new government support programs and assess their own strategies without major layoffs, OneEleven explained. It also introduced remote programming, expert support and resource centres to make sure its members have access to expert advice, programs and leadership models. 

“But at the same time, we could not ignore that our own model was existentially threatened. OneEleven does not receive government funding. Our membership and partnership fees represent our entire operating budget, and we have always done great things with slim margins,” Siri Agrell, executive director of OneEleven, and Dean Hopkins, chair of the board at OneEleven, noted in a separate blog post

In addition, the accelerator says it advocated on the behalf of its members to all levels of government, including calling for Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance along with expedited SR&ED payments and other changes to existing and new support programs, rolled out as quickly as possible by government partners committed to Canada’s ongoing competitiveness in technology.

After May 31, OneEleven member companies will have the option to remain in the space, under new contractual arrangements with Oxford – one of the founding partners of the accelerator and the real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) – which is helping founders from OneEleven navigate the pandemic. 

“Our member companies will continue to have access to their workspaces. Their offices and desks are safe, secure and well cared for as they have been throughout this work from home mandate, thanks to the efforts of our team and our Oxford partners,” the blog post reads. 

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