In the midst of those hazy, lazy days of summer, startup incubators and accelerators around Atlantic Canada are hard at work preparing for a bevy of activity in the autumn.
These “startup organizers”, if you will, all like to be called something different – like incubator, accelerator, co-working space, or startup house. But they all provide places for startups to work and/or provide instruction in how to develop your company.
Several of them have let Entrevestor know about their plans for the autumn, so we’re letting fly with our first Startup House/Incubator/Accelerator/Co-Working Space Roundup. Here goes:
- Launch36 – The regional accelerator is now accepting applications for its third cohort, which will be shorter and more intense than the previous versions. Tapping a network of well over 100 mentors, the program teaches lean startup methodology with an emphasis on sales and client calls. The cohort’s time frame has shrunk from five months to 12 weeks, and there will be two sessions a week instead of one. And instead of a gala demo day at the end, Launch36 will hold an “Investor Day” to offer the startups private meetings with potential investors, to be followed by a community day. The program is open to startups from across the region and the deadline is Aug. 16.
- ACcelr8, Fredericton -- The new incubator at Knowledge Park is now looking for not only entrepreneurs but also mentors. It plans to launch its first four-month accelerator program in mid-September, and participants can use the facility for up to one year (but are expected to help contribute to shared costs). Information sessions will be held Aug. 6 and the deadline for applications to be in is Aug. 9 at 5 pm. Some mentors should be in or within easy reach of Fredericton, but the group is also looking for people who can visit sporadically and help the companies.
- Volta, Halifax – Volta plans to “take over” The Diamond, 6 Powell Street, Vancouver, and make it an Atlantic Canada House during the GROW Festival, Aug. 15 and 16. The idea is to replicate the strong presence the East Coast displayed at the recent International Startup Festival in Montreal. There’s a buzz around Volta these days, with a dozen or so startups and a venture capital fund beavering away within its rather garish walls. The startup house also has a full slate of events planned, and details can be found on its website.
- Common Ground, St. John’s – The new co-working space has sold out its “founding member” spots to a handful of participants. “We're on track to open the doors officially in September,” said founder Chris Gardner. He added the venture has received a lot of support from a number of organizations, individuals and businesses to help get it off the ground.
- mLab Canada, Fredericton – The incubator for mobile telecommunications has now completed construction of the facility in the old courthouse in Fredericton. Founder Gary Stairs said they are painting and decorating with the goal of holding an open house in September and the first cohort launching Oct. 1. “We are nearing 60 percent capacity already,” he said.
One final word is that it’s a tad misleading to describe all these initiatives separately because they are working together on common interests. For example, I saw Launch36 Honcho Trevor MacAusland on Friday at an event hosted by Volta in Halifax. He’s held similar lunch and learn events with the groups in Fredericton.
Stairs said there are ongoing efforts to establish a network of incubators throughout the region, so members of one facility can work and network in another facility if they’re visiting that city. “This is occurring and must continue to occur,” he said.