Several startup organizations have come together to generate a major Atlantic Canadian presence at Startupfest in Montreal this summer and are branding the initiative Startup Atlantic.

In particular, the organizers are hoping business accelerators and incubators, or BAIs, will send representatives and that founders themselves will attend the event to network and promote their companies.

Though it went virtual during the pandemic, Startupfest has maintained its reputation as Canada’s preeminent startup conference, attracting funders and founders from all over the world. The event this year will be held in-person in from July 13 to 15.

 "This is all about the mobilization of the Atlantic Canadian tech community as a united entity," said Propel CEO Kathryn Lockhart in an email. "The collaboration we have seen from leadership across the BAIs, with the support of ACOA, is setting the stage for an ecosystem poised for growth. We are ready to seize that as a region." 

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is supporting the drive to have the region’s startup community show up in force at Startupfest. The aim is to promote Atlantic Canadian startups to investors and groups that provide non-dilutive funding, but this year there is an added imperative. The organizers also want to spread the message about the opportunity and pleasant lifestyle in Atlantic Canada in the hopes of attracting more talent to the region.

The campaign will include a Startup Atlantic booth at Startupfest, which will host events and showcase what is going on in innovation on the East Coast.

The organizing team is asking BAIs across the region to send one or two representatives to Startupfest if possible, to promote their organizations and help staff the booth.  They advise that each BAI is responsible for its representative’s travel and lodging expenses, but asks that these people buy their tickets to startupfest through Startup Atlantic.

They add that founders should attend Startupfest because of the seminars and discussions, networking opportunities and events that include, among other things, $100,000 investment prizes. Founders will be responsible for their own expenses but are advised to check with their “provincial partners” to see if there is financial assistance available.

"I've been to Startupfest many times, but this time will be different," said Propel Chief Coaching Officer Charlotte Murray. "Showing up as Atlantic Canada to represent founders from all four provinces is a game-changer. This will demonstrate to a national audience the calibre of our founders and the broader tech community and also highlight the positive experience of building a startup in this region."