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Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre heading in exciting new directions

The Accelerator Centre is an absolute gem in the Waterloo tech ecosystem. It’s also a significant source of news over the last couple of months.

It’s Canada’s #1 private business accelerator and one of the top-five accelerator organizations in the world. It has helped some of Canada’s most exciting companies – Axonify, Clearpath Robotics and ApplyBoard, among others – get their start. It has programming that helps companies through the entire growth process from ideation to global expansion.

The Accelerator Centre is an absolute gem in the Waterloo tech ecosystem.

It’s also a significant source of news over the last couple of months.

That’s due to new leadership, for the most part. Earlier in 2021, the Accelerator Centre announced that serial entrepreneur Jay Krishnan was coming on board as the new Chief Executive Officer. This appointment reflected the accelerator’s plans to have a more global mindset – helping Canadian companies increase their global reach and build stronger ties to the international startup community.

Krishnan hasn’t waited long to spring into action. In fact, the flurry of activity has come so fast and furious that we thought it’d be helpful to have a summary of changes that have come over the last couple weeks.

Here are four exciting new directions the Accelerator Centre is pursuing:

A new global vision

One of Krishnan’s first acts as CEO was to release VISION 2025 – a strategic roadmap for the future of the Accelerator Centre. The roadmap commits to making the Accelerator Centre the #1 full stack startup hub in the world, while maintaining the organization’s role as a catalyst in the Waterloo tech community.

This new vision means expanding programs to meet a wider variety of stakeholders – startups, corporate leaders, academia and community partners – and building stronger connections with the global community.

You can download the full VISION 2025 PDF or read a short description on the Accelerator Centre website.

Programming for companies across Canada

Alongside the vision announcement, the Accelerator Centre also announced plans to permanently offer its flagship program – The Accelerator Program – in both fully virtual and hybrid models. With this change, the organization is also changing its eligibility requirements to allow startups located anywhere in Canada to participate.

The Accelerator Program provides mentorship, help with access to funding, office space, discounts for services like Amazon, HubSpot and more, as well as access to an international network of programming and funding partners.

The organization began offering the program virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic and has seen consistent increased interest.

A global gateway that brings the world to Canada

The Accelerator Centre has also launched a new event series aimed at exposing Canadian companies to an international market. The series is called Global Gateway: Investor Showcase and it provides seed and pre-series A companies with access to get education, mentorship and advice from global business leaders and pitch their business in front of world renowned angel investor groups and VC firms.

The organization will work with local partners to identify the region’s top-15 seed and pre-series A companies who are looking to explore international markets. Those 15 companies will compete in a Global Gateway VC Showcase pitch session, with the top six companies winning access to exciting market-specific resources.

The first event in the series will feature Mumbai Angels and will connect startups into the Indian marketplace (October 14).

Helping medtech in Waterloo take off

Last but not least, as the Waterloo medtech ecosystem picks up steam, the Accelerator Centre is committed to doing its part. In July, the organization announced a partnership with Grand River Hospital to drive the development and adoption of Canadian-made health innovations. The program is aimed at improving patient care while helping Canadian medtech companies test and enhance their technologies.

In August, the Accelerator Centre announced plans to launch the PLEXUS Medtech Program in partnership with the Medical Innovation Xchange – Canada’s first industry-led medtech hub. This program will provide Waterloo-based medtech companies with one-to-one mentorship and connections to the wider health innovation ecosystem.

Want to learn more about the Waterloo tech ecosystem?