According to pre-COVID data collected by Startup Canada, there are 3.5 million entrepreneurs in Canada. While this may not be an easy time to launch or run a business, entrepreneurs – along with their creativity and problem-solving acumen – will be key to Canada’s economic and workforce recovery.
Fortunately, for entrepreneurs across various stages of business development, there are support programs available in every province and territory. This article shares incubators, entrepreneurship hubs and accelerator programs across the country that may benefit your entrepreneurially minded clients and students.
Although this article provides many examples of entrepreneurship support programs in Canada, it is not a comprehensive list. Know of a program we should include? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.
Yukonstruct provides support for early stage entrepreneurs including business services, conferences, bootcamps and networking events. It hosts the Whitehorse chapter of Startup Canada. Yukonstruct also has a co-working space and maker space offering mentorship, tools and equipment, workshops and more.
EntrepreNorth empowers Indigenous and community-based entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses and livelihoods across Northern Canada. It provides access to business mentors and professional coaches. EntrepreNorth’s flagship Cohort-Based Entrepreneur Growth Program offers eight-10 Indigenous and community-based entrepreneurs the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and support to help take their businesses to the next level.
Inspire Nunavut provides training programs for young entrepreneurs and leaders in Nunavut, combining principles of social entrepreneurship and leadership with Inuit culture and values. Its Kajungiqsainiq program guides participants through the process of starting something new and achieving their personal and professional goals.
Accelerate Okanagan supports entrepreneurs through mentorship, coaching and community. Its Continuous Acceleration model delivers unique programming for different stages of growth. Accelerate Okanagan’s most-used program is the Venture Accelerator Program (VAP), for tech and tech-enabled (e.g. biotech, agritech or advanced manufacturing) entrepreneurs who are committed to starting a company.
The Vancouver-based Launch Academy bills itself as “A Premier Tech Incubator for International Founders.” It includes Launchpad, which helps startups launch and find their product market fit, scale and grow their companies; the VR/AR Hub; and the Maple Program, which supports Canadian Work Visas and Permanent Residency for entrepreneurs, executives and their families.
New Ventures is a non-profit organization that can help tech startups grow. Through government and corporate support, its programs provide education, tools, networking and grant funding to entrepreneurs. The New Ventures BC Competition gives away $250,000 in cash and prizes.
With the aim of developing, testing and accelerating innovative responses to tough social problems, RADIUS offers Labs & Venture Programs, professional development and opportunities for students attending Simon Fraser University, including the Change Lab experiential learning program.
An innovation transfer and business incubator at the University of Calgary. Innovate Calgary’s Innovator’s Handbook outlines the methodology of innovation transfer for the University of Calgary and provides an overview of the commercialization processes and services that are available to faculty, staff , students, entrepreneurs and startups.
Startup Edmonton offers support to aspiring and scaling entrepreneurs to explore and move their product and company ideas forward. It offers several programs, including Preflight, a free series of online workshops for entrepreneurs, and Foundations for Black Founders, a program cohort exclusively for Black founders.
Co.Labs is an independent not-for-profit organization based in Saskatoon that offers mentorship and programming, and helps to build community by connecting startups with each other. Its programs include: Co.Learn, a Tech Summit; Co.Launch, a pre-seed accelerator for early-stage tech startups; Co.Labs, a technology incubator; and Co.Lead, a scale-up technology accelerator.
MTA is a business accelerator designed for entrepreneurs with a scientific or technology-oriented business idea or early-stage companies. It provides international entrepreneurs an opportunity to move to Canada through the Start Up Visa (SUV) Program and empowers Canadian entrepreneurs to expand internationally through the Western Canadian Incubator Alliance (WCAN).
The Winnipeg-based North Forge Technology Exchange is a hybrid incubator/accelerator. It connects entrepreneurs to mentors, subject matter experts and a four-stage Founders Program. North Forge has Canada’s largest non-profit fabrication lab.
Waterloo Region-based Communitech was launched in 1997 and aims to help companies start, grow and succeed. It offers coaching and advisory services for new entrepreneurs; training and skills development programs; opportunities for companies to connect with talent, investors, customers and partners; and more.
This regional innovation centre supports innovative entrepreneurs and companies from a variety of industries start, grow and thrive. Innovate Niagara is a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). It hosts a hosts a suite of educational and networking events throughout the Niagara region.
With services for entrepreneurs and businesses at various stages of development, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development and global expansion programs and services. These include: small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction and more.
MaRS works with startups and partners in health, cleantech, fintech and enterprise. It offers tailored resources at every stage of business growth, from startup to scale-up. The MaRS Startup Toolkit shares advice, lessons and tips from our community of entrepreneurs and operators.
RIC Centre is a not-for-profit innovation hub and business incubator for Brampton, Mississauga, Caledon and other communities in Southern Ontario. It helps companies in advanced manufacturing, Internet of Things, hardware and software, cleantech and life sciences to commercialize their products and get them to market faster.
Velocity, based in Kitchener, is an incubator for early-stage, pre-seed technology startups from the University of Waterloo and around the world. The Velocity incubator program comprises funding, mentorship, workspace, labs and more. Through the PerkinElmer Customer Demonstration Lab, the Velocity community has access to $2 million worth of equipment, as well as to the innovations and experts of PerkinElmer.
CEIM is a business incubator, innovation accelerator and growth catalyst that supports emerging companies throughout all phases of their development. It provides coaching and consulting, as well as programs including Missions Abroad, a pan-Canadian program fostering business development in the gaming and digital media sector, and TechnoChic, a peer support group for women entrepreneurs in tech.
LE CAMP is a business incubator and accelerator that offers a variety of mentorship programs and organizes activities and events to support the growth of innovative technology businesses. It provides services adapted for development stages from pre startup to internationalization.
Prince Edward Island
Startup Zone accelerates new startups or existing businesses by connecting them with the space, resources and supports they need to grow. It provides startup services including growth coaching, legal support and risk management; educational tools such as workshops and data reports; office infrastructure; financial supports including investment supports, government programs and wage subsidies; and expert supports, from sales to human resources.
CATAPULT supports artists to explore the business side of their creative practice. Over an eight-week period, CATAPULT participants receive training in fundamental entrepreneurial skills like business modelling, marketing, branding, financial planning and exporting.
Planet Hatch is an entrepreneurship centre located in Fredericton. It supports entrepreneurs and startups to grow into well-positioned, internationally competitive companies through programs, mentorship and coaching, funding and events.
Venn Innovation provides members with the access to information, support and connections they need to get to market. The Venn Garage is a non-cohort based program designed to help New Brunswick residents better test and validate their startup idea, acquire early adopter customers and initial funding, and prepare their startup team for successful entry into leading accelerators.
Innovacorp funds and foster innovative Nova Scotia startups that strive to change the world. Its target industries include information technology, clean technology, life sciences and ocean technology. It offers early stage investment, incubation facilities, expert advice and other support to help accelerate companies.
Volta Labs’ programming helps budding entrepreneurs, startup employees, founders and corporate innovators navigate the complex challenges of building, running and scaling a business. Volta offers many workshops and programs, including Volta Academy, a 12-week program in which participants learn how to test and validate their idea, outline an MVP and grow a scalable startup.
Newfoundland & Labrador
Genesis is known for its flagship incubator program, Enterprise, which began more than 20 years ago. Enterprise is a three-year incubator program is designed to help technology startups in growing their business and get to product market fit.