Prime Minister Stephen Harper helps Canadian start-up companies to grow and prosper

Waterloo Region, Ontario
20 June 2014

Our Government is committed to creating jobs and opportunities, and strengthening Canada’s economy. That means helping small- and medium-sized enterprises make competitive gains and create high-quality jobs. Canada requires a strong, sustainable venture capital industry to support promising young businesses and ensure they are able to drive job creation, innovation and economic growth.

Business accelerators and incubators are organizations that provide entrepreneurs with the resources and expertise needed to develop their business plan. They play an important role in the venture capital system, serving as invaluable classrooms for entrepreneurs and helping them make headway in a competitive international marketplace.

To this end, on June 20, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the following organizations have been chosen to advance in the selection process under the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP):

Organization: Manitoba Technology Accelerator (MTA)

Type of Organization: Incubator

Location(s): Manitoba

Description: The MTA is a not-for-profit business accelerator located in Winnipeg. MTA provides commercialization support to help promising technology start-ups advance from “good idea” to “investable business”. MTA adds value to its clients in three categories: (1) Facilities and Infrastructure; (2) Mentoring and Active Participation; and (3) Finance and Investment Opportunities.

Organization: Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal (CEIM)

Type of Organization: Incubator

Location(s): Quebec

Description: CEIM is a not-for-profit business incubator. It offers specialized consulting and coaching services, office space and related services for the start-up and development of companies in the fields of information technology, new media, industrial and “clean” technologies, and life sciences.

Organization: Prince Edward Island BioAlliance Inc. (PEI BioAlliance)

Type of Organization: Incubator

Location(s): Prince Edward Island

Description: PEI BioAlliance provides cluster leadership and incubator services to companies from across Canada and around the world. Market targets include products for human, animal, and fish health and nutrition, including cosmetic ingredients, natural health products, feed additives, vaccines, diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals.

Organization: BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA)

Type of Organization: Accelerator

Location(s): British Columbia

Description: The BCTIA is a not-for-profit organization that supports the development, growth and advancement of technology companies located in British Columbia. Through a variety of innovative incubation and acceleration programs, companies can access practical, actionable assistance that has a proven track-record of driving quantifiable results.

Organization: Bioenterprise Corporation (Bioenterprise)

Type of Organization: Accelerator

Location(s): Ontario

Description: Bioenterprise is a not-for-profit business accelerator and commercialization agent, established to help companies at all stages, from start-ups to emerging and well-established businesses, and provides its clients with active engagement and extensive mentoring. The organization works with a variety of sector experts in agri-business and agri-biotechnology sectors.

Organization: GrowLab Ventures Inc. (GrowLab), in collaboration with Extreme Startups

Type of Organization: Accelerator

Location(s): British Columbia

Description: GrowLab is the for-profit operator of a Vancouver-based start-up accelerator that helps entrepreneurs build great companies through seed funding, mentorship, collaborative workspace and three months of intensive programming.

Organization: Propel ICT

Type of Organization: Accelerator

Location(s): New Brunswick

Description: Propel ICT is a not-for-profit organization that operates a 12-week accelerator program designed to quickly move selected entrepreneurs to an investor-ready position and to develop the next generation of high growth technology firms.

Organization: Centre for Drug Research & Development (CDRD), in collaboration with CDRD Venture Inc.

Type of Organization: Incubator and Accelerator

Location(s): British Columbia

Description: The CDRD is a not-for-profit drug development and commercialization centre, acting as a robust incubator to de-risk discoveries stemming from publicly-funded health research, and transform them into viable investment opportunities for the private sector. CDRD’s commercialization vehicle, CDRD Ventures Inc., acts as an accelerator, selecting promising technologies with the goal to further advance them to a stage where they can attract licensing or co-development partners, or form the foundation for a new spin-off company.

Organization: Communitech Corporation (Communitech), in collaboration with University of Waterloo Velocity, Laurier LaunchPad and the Waterloo Accelerator Centre

Type of Organization: Incubator and Accelerator

Location(s): Ontario

Description: From its headquarters in Waterloo, Communitech works with local partners to deliver a mix of accelerator and incubator programs. It supports tech companies at all stages of their growth and development – from start-ups to rapidly-growing mid-size companies, and large global players – to create greater numbers of successful global businesses for Ontario and Canada.

Organization: Corporation Inno-Centre du Québec (Inno-Centre)

Type of Organization: Incubator and Accelerator

Location(s): Quebec

Description: Inno-Centre is a not-for-profit incubator/accelerator that offers a wide range of professional and business services to start-ups and technology-based companies in the fields of information technology and new media, green energy and natural resources, and industrial technologies including aerospace and agri-food.

Organization: Invest Ottawa, in collaboration with Wesley Clover, PARTEQ Innovations and Innovation Park at Queen’s University

Type of Organization: Incubator and Accelerator

Location(s): Ontario

Description: Invest Ottawa delivers collaborative economic development programs and initiatives that increase entrepreneurial momentum, wealth and jobs in the City of Ottawa and its surrounding region, while marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life.

Organization: Ryerson University, in collaboration with Simon Fraser University and University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Type of Organization: Incubator and Accelerator

Location(s): Ontario, British Columbia

Description: The group will undertake a national scope joint research driven incubator project, to amplify the universities’ existing incubator facilities and to create an expansive technology, company and job-creation ecosystem.

Organization: The Next 36

Type of Organization: Incubator and Accelerator

Location(s): Ontario

Description: The Next 36 operates a national accelerator/incubator program for Canada’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Through an unparalleled combination of mentorship, education and seed investment, it fast-tracks the development of Canada’s most talented innovators and supports the creation of industry-changing businesses that will grow Canada's long-term prosperity. 

Organization: University of Alberta, in collaboration with TEC Edmonton and Innovate Calgary

Type of Organization: Incubator and Accelerator

Location(s): Alberta

Description: The group will deliver new and incremental incubator and accelerator programs, in support of its strategy of growing high-growth companies in the health and energy sectors.

Organization: Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre Society (Wavefront)

Type of Organization: Incubator and Accelerator

Location(s): British Columbia

Description: Wavefront is a not-for-profit organization helping wireless and information and communications technologies sector companies confidently grow their businesses through its nation-wide presence, long-term support, deep wireless expertise, and strategic global partnerships. Wavefront support assists small and medium-sized enterprises creating ground-breaking innovations for enterprises across every industry deploying mobile technologies.

Eligible recipients are required to demonstrate matching contributions on at least a 1:1 basis during the period of the contribution funding. The exact amount for each organization will be determined once contribution agreements have been finalized. It is estimated that up to $90 million will be allocated to eligible organizations once these contribution agreements are concluded.

In 2013, the Government allocated $60 million over five years through the Economic Action Plan, with an additional $40 million in 2014, to help outstanding incubator and accelerator organizations expand their services to worthy entrepreneurs.

The one-time request for the proposal process was launched on September 23, 2013, and ended on October 30, 2013, with close to 100 applications received. All proposals were assessed according to strict eligibility and selection criteria. These were presented for evaluation and recommendations to the independent Canadian Venture Capital Expert Panel, a five-member panel with extensive experience in the venture capital asset class, business, and finance.

The National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC‑IRAP) evaluated all proposals based on strict eligibility and selection criteria, including:

  • The extent to which the project will encourage the growth of early-stage firms that represent superior investment opportunities;
  • The potential of the project to develop entrepreneur networks with other important firms and organizations, in order to provide entrepreneurs with a broader range of specialized services;
  • The ability of the organization to demonstrate matching resources, either financial or in-kind, (i.e. mentoring resources, administrative support) for the proposed activities; and,
  • A credible demonstration that the proposed activities will be incremental to existing operations.

Once the independent Canadian Venture Capital Expert Panel returned their recommendations, NRC-IRAP undertook a thorough due diligence process. Following the completion of due diligence, the CAIP contribution agreement will be developed for each project meeting both the organization and project assessment.

CAIP provides support over a five-year period in the form of non-repayable contributions to a limited number of best-in-class accelerators and incubators. Maximum contributions to accelerators and incubators under the program are up to $5 million per year for each selected outstanding organization.

In January 2013, Prime Minister Harper announced the Venture Capital Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy for deploying $400 million in new capital over the next seven to ten years, which is expected to attract close to $1 billion in new private sector investments. Economic Action Plan 2013 announced $60 million in funding over five years “to help outstanding incubator and accelerator organizations expand their services to entrepreneurs”. An additional $40 million was committed in Economic Action Plan 2014 to promising accelerator and incubator organizations to help entrepreneurs for a total of $100 million.