Entrepreneurship and Innovation lab

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab offered by CRITAC, the National Circus School's Research Center, in collaboration with La Piscine, is a community of artists and entrepreneurs who come together to celebrate and inspire innovation in performing arts. The Lab encourages the development of entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, collaboration and resilience through various forms.  
The Lab’s Support and Coaching Program, aims to support the exploration of innovative initiatives in the performing arts sector and to accompany them at the stage of experimentation or proof of concept. 
Do you have an innovative project in the performing arts. This free program will enable you to: 
  • Be supported in your innovation process and in the development of your project  
  • Acquire and strengthen entrepreneurial knowledge and skills to successfully carry out your project (business model, marketing, leadership, etc.) 
  • Prepare an experimentation or proof of concept to test market acceptance and interest  
  • Define objectives and an action plan for the development of the project 
To join the program: 
  1. Make sure you meet the selection criteria detailed below
  2. Make sure you are available for the following steps: 
    • ​​Bootcamp: November 4 to 7, 2021 
      Participation is mandatory! The bootcamp is a step in the selection process to enter the program. 
    • Program: November 2021 to February 2022, equivalent to 3 half-days per week  
  3. Register by August 1st, 2021
For more details on the selection criteria,the selection process and the program phases, see the sections below. 
  • Selection CriteriaOpen or Close
    Projects that integrate the program must: 
    • Work in the performing arts sector (circus arts, theater, dance, etc.) 
    • Have an innovative dimension. In other words, bring a  new proposal in performing arts which must go through stage test in the market 
      Innovation in a project can take different forms: social innovation, technical or technological innovation, process innovation, business model innovation, performance innovation, etc. 
    • Be in preparation for a project or a plan to carry out a first experimentation or proof of concept with the market to validate the relevance of the project 
    In terms of maturity, the program is open to any project, from the ideation phase to the market test phase.  
    It is not mandatory to be a legal entity to register. 
  • Selection processOpen or Close
    Step 1
    Call for projects - until August, 2021 
    Selection of 15 projects that reinvent the future of the performing arts. 
    Step 2
    Bootcamp - November 4 to 7, 2021 
    Four days to work on your project surrounded by resources and talents that will help you deliver the best presentation for the jury. At the end of the bootcamp, six projects will be selected to participate in the program.   
    Participation in this bootcamp is mandatory to enter the program. 
    Step 3
    Program integration - November 2021 to February 2022  
    The six projects selected during the bootcamp begin the Lab Support and Coaching Program. 
    Applications must be submitted by August 1st, 2021.   
  • Course of the programOpen or Close

    The Lab program takes place over a a five-month period consisting of three phases. Participants are required to be available for the equivalent of three half-days per week to work on their project in both collective (workshops with other participants) and individual (coaching and expertise sessions) formats.

    Phase 1: Define your pre-experimentation action plan

    November to December 2021 - 4 weeks 
    • Validation of the project's market elements (customer segments, value proposition, competitive positioning) 
    • Identification and preparation of the experimentation or proof of concept, first definition of the experimentation plan 
    • Carrying out the pre-experimentation action plan (identification of the resources and partners needed for implementation, identification of technical needs, etc.) 
    At the end of Phase 1, a committee will be called upon to validate the market test and the pre-experimentation action plan.  

    Phase 2: Activate your pre-experimentation action plan 

    December 2021 to the end of January 2022 - 6 weeks 
    • Go into the field to prepare your experimentation, guided by the action plan defined in phase 1. 

    Phase 3: Refine your experimentation plan and identify market development strategies 

    February 2022 - 4 weeks 
    • Refinement and validation of the experimentation plan based on the conclusions of phase 
    • Preparation of the action plan for the further development of the project 
    • Identification of go-to-market strategies (business model, business development, marketing tactics, etc.) 
    • Financial modeling, strategic planning, etc. 
    Phase 3 ends with the presentation of the projects to actors in the performing arts sector during a Demoday. 
  • Frequently asked questionsOpen or Close
    What is the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab? 
    The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab, presented by CRITAC, affiliated with the National Circus School, and La Piscine, is a community of artists and entrepreneurs who come together to celebrate and inspire innovation in performing arts. The Lab encourages the development of entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, collaboration and resilience through various forms. 
    In 2021, the Lab wants to strengthen this community, develop entrepreneurship and support innovative projects that reinvent the future of the performing arts. This will take following many forms:  
    • Events on the future of the performing arts such as discussions, [email protected], panels, etc. 
    • Bootcamp (November 4 to 7) to support entrepreneurship 
    • Lab Support and Coaching Program to enable innovative projects in the performing arts to quickly validate their proposal with the market. 
    What can the Lab Support and Coaching Program do for me? 
    The program, which starts in November 2021, will enable you to:  
    • Prepare an experimentation or proof of concept with your project’s target market 
    • Meet with various experts and receive coaching on the following subjects: business development, marketing, market positioning, communication, etc.  
    • Develop your entrepreneurial understanding through coaching, expertise and group workshops that will guide and help you make informed decisions for your project;  
    • Have the opportunity to exchange with experts from a research centre in the performing arts on the technical and research aspects of your project. 
    Coaching in this program will be led by renowned experts from the field of entrepreneurship and the cultural and creative industries, as well as professionals and entrepreneurs from the performing arts sector. 
    How do I know if my project is innovative? 
    To be innovative, your project must:  
    • Bring a new proposition to the market which pushes the boundaries of the performing arts and inspires the future of the cultural and creative industries 
    • Require to go through market testing phases to validate its suitability and relevance.  
    In the 2020 Lab programme, projects supported brought a range of innovative elements to the market, including social, technical, design and artistic.  
    What is meant by experimentation or proof of concept?  
    This refers to projects that have hypotheses (market or technical-based) that need to be validated in order to prove their viability and ensure their development. This can take many forms, but necessarily includes a demonstration with the project's target market.  
    Depending on the stage of development of the project, this may involve:  
    • An initial validation of the pertinence of the project with the market (interviews with potential customers to validate interest and business hypotheses) 
    • A first test of your project (in a simplified form) with target audiences to validate certain characteristics in real conditions
    • A test of an advances version of your project  
    Is the Lab Support and Coaching Program face-to-face or virtual?  
    We hope to offer the whole program in person, so it is important to ensure that you are available and present for the different phases:  
    • Bootcamp - November 4 to 7, 2021 in Montreal  
    • Support and Coaching Program – November to February 2022 in Montreal (equivalent to 3 half-days per week) 
      Possibility of a hybrid format for projects outside Montreal. 

    Depending on the evolution of the regulations related to the current pandemic, it is possible that the program will be offered virtually. 
    What are my commitments to the program? 
    Participants joining the Support and Coaching Program in November 2021 must commit to:  
    • Be available to participate fully in the program (equivalent to 3 half-days per week)  
    • Be fully involved in the program, follow the different stages and work on the proposed tools 
    In which language will the programme be delivered?   
    The Support and Coaching Program is fully bilingual (French and English).   
Have other questions? 
Attend our virtual information sessions on July 5 and July 21 (in French) at 5 p.m.
Don't hesitate to contact us by email at [email protected].

Call for projects

Deadline: August 1st, 2021


Virtual Information Session
July 21 at 5 p.m. (in French)

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