For businesses in the idea stage seed capital is typically provided by the founders themselves and "love money" from family and friends. There are also a number of public and private organizations willing to step in and make relatively small investments to help grow businesses to a stage where bigger dollar players, such as venture capitalists, take an interest.
Accelerators are like a "Boot Camp" for Start-Ups. You must apply to an accelerator, and you must meet certain requirements to be considered. Once chosen, you are given resources and guidance to get your company to the next level. Recently, I spoke with Roger Chabra of RHO Ventures about his perspective on the state of funding, accelerators, and start-ups in Canada.