British Columbia incubator and accelerator organizations
In 2013, the Government of Canada allocated $60 million over five years through the Economic Action Plan, with an additional $40 million in 2014, to help outstanding incubators and accelerators expand their services to small and medium-sized businesses.
Over the next five years, four British Columbia incubator and accelerator organizations will receive up to $31.4 million in CAIP funding to provide Canadian entrepreneurs with the resources and expertise needed to develop their business plans and seek follow-on financing.
- The BC Technology Industry Association will receive up to $10.4 million in CAIP funding over the next five years to support the development, growth and advancement of B.C. technology companies of all sizes and in all sectors. Through a variety of innovative incubation and acceleration programs, companies have access to the resources that matter most: mentors, customers, partners and investors.
- HIGHLINE will receive up to $600,000 in CAIP funding over the next five years. HIGHLINE, formerly GrowLab Ventures Inc., is a start-up accelerator based in Vancouver and Toronto. This venture capital–backed for-profit organization helps digital entrepreneurs build companies that achieve product-market fit and secure institutional capital. HIGHLINE gives digital founders an edge through timely seed funding, intense mentorship, global connectivity, curated workspace and three months of specialized programming.
- The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), in collaboration with CDRD Ventures Inc. (CVI), will receive up to $10.9 million in CAIP funding over the next five years. CDRD is a robust incubator and Canada’s national not-for-profit drug development and commercialization centre. It aims to de-risk discoveries stemming from academic health research, adding value and transforming them into viable investment opportunities for the private sector. CVI, CDRD’s commercialization vehicle, acts as an accelerator, selecting promising technologies with the goal of advancing them to a stage where they can attract licensing or co-development partners or form new spin-off companies.
- Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre Society will receive up to $9.5 million in CAIP funding over the next five years. Wavefront is Canada’s Centre of Excellence for Wireless Commercialization and Research. It helps accelerate the growth and success of wireless companies, connecting them with critical resources, partners and opportunities, to drive economic and social benefits for Canada.
The one-time request for proposals for the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program was launched on September 23, 2013. It ended on October 30, 2013, with close to 100 applications received. All proposals were assessed and 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, in business and in finance.
The National Research Council of Canada’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.
Delivered by NRC-IRAP, 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. Recipients will be required to demonstrate matching contributions on at least a 1:1 basis during the period of the contribution funding.
Maximum contributions to accelerators and incubators under the program are up to $5 million per year for each selected outstanding organization.
What is a business accelerator or incubator?
Accelerator: Typically for-profit organizations owned and operated by venture capital investors who intend to generate returns from equity-based investments in their client firms. Accelerators provide a range of services to early-stage firms, including financial support, business advice, office and development space, and complementary services offered by partner organizations.
Incubator: Typically not-for-profit organizations that offer similar services to accelerators but tend to provide longer tenure for participating firms and a broader suite of services in terms of physical space and mentorship. Incubators are often sponsored by universities, colleges and economic development corporations.