Canadian Technology Accelerators
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service manages the Canadian Technology Accelerators (CTA) in New York, San Francisco & Silicon Valley, Boston, Denver and Philadelphia, global clusters for technology and entrepreneurship. This initiative provides those Canadian start-ups in information and communication technology, digital and social media, gaming, clean technologies, and life sciences with access to unique resources and contacts that can help their international growth.
The CTAs make available free office space for three to six months where physical offices are located within existing business incubators. The CTAs help you to refine your business model, collect competitive intelligence, pursue key clients, access financing sources, and engage strategic partners.
To date more than 170 companies have utilized the CTAs. Some of the positive impacts include:
- Greater exposure to customers and partners
- Ability to raise venture funding
- Development of new business opportunities, strategic partnerships, refined business plans and objectives
- Establishment of new networks of contacts that will help companies grow well into the future
- Immersion into a culture of collaboration, open innovation and entrepreneurial inspiration
- Taking part in a community that shares advice, ideas, and contacts
- Receiving dedicated services from the mission’s experienced trade commissioners
- Establishing a presence in the market while acquiring new customers/clients
- Access to mentoring and networking events hosted by the Canadian missions
Success Factors for CTA Participants
In order to be ready for the CTA, you must develop these factors before applying:
- Clear expression of your company’s value proposition and objective(s)
- Preliminary sense of desired contacts
- Ability to express why you and these contacts should want to meet each other
- A clear understanding of the various financing mechanisms that can help grow your start-up
- A pitch deck you have delivered before
You are considered an ideal candidate if you:
- Are a product-ready Canadian small or medium enterprise with a potential for high growth
- Have initial traction in the marketplace as evidenced by users or paying customers
- Are able to highlight the past experience and qualifications of your management team
- Can get to and from the CTA and cover your living expenses in market
The Trade Commissioner Service works with stakeholders in Canada and the local market accelerators, venture capital firms, associations, etc. to select CTA participants. In some missions, companion programs help prepare you for tenancy in the local CTAs. Once selected for a CTA, a short Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed between you and the Consulate General. It outlines specific expectations and solidifies commitment on both sides.
Upon arrival in territory, you will meet a Trade Commissioner at the designated accelerator. A review of your objectives is conducted and a plan is formulated for the time in the accelerator. At the end of the tenure in the CTA, you are also required to give an exit interview and to share stories of success as your business grows.
Keep in Mind
You are responsible for travel logistics, legal status in the US, visas, and expenses related to in-market activities, living and lodging.
Canadian Trade Commissioner Service CTAs
The CTA initiative is managed and led by the Trade Commissioner Service, with support from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the Province of British Columbia, the Province of Alberta, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Venture Capital, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED-Q), and the National Research Council Canada – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).