Canada’s business accelerators and incubators ecosystem in western Canada is on the rise, with several key programs and players making headway in the innovation space.
Global Advantage Consulting Group was commissioned by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) in late 2019 to conduct a study of the business incubators and accelerator ecosystem in the western provinces. We studied publicly available documents and interviewed several key stakeholders to determine how WD can help to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in western Canada.
Out of this research, Global Advantage developed the Western Canada Business Accelerators and Incubators Ecosystem map, which details the flows of inputs and outputs and identifies gaps and opportunities to strengthen the region’s innovation ecosystem.
Among a few insights, there seems to be a correlation between where lion’s share of government funding (British Columbia and Alberta) is dispersed and the degree to which those provinces succeed in creating a strong landscape for innovation and incubation of start-ups.
Conversely, the provinces that receive less funding (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) have a harder time enticing investment. The start-up ecosystem seems less active and exciting for investors, thereby resulting in less private equity, angel and venture capital-funded projects, and companies willing to headquarter there. There may be an opportunity to provide more resources and access to funds to entrepreneurs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Other highlights of the project included:
- Based on publicly available sources, this study found a total of 78 Canadian BAIs that are located or operating in Canada’s four western provinces.
- More than 860 companies in Alberta, 208 in Manitoba and 100 in Saskatchewan are estimated to currently be enrolled in or graduated from BAI programs. More than 17.6 K startups and entrepreneurs in BC are estimated to have been supported, are currently enrolled in or graduated from a BAI.
- Private sector contributes most of the funding towards BAI programs in western Canada, based on analysis of websites, annual reports and news articles.
- Most BAIs offer business development and training, mentoring and networking, while relatively fewer BAIs offer direct funding of startups.
- Regina, Saskatoon and Edmonton have seen large jumps in the tech talent labour pool between 2013-18, while Vancouver and Calgary have seen a decline in the same period.
- More BAIs in western Canada assist early-stage companies than growth-stage companies.
Purchase the Western Canada Business Accelerators and Incubators Ecosystem map here.
Global Advantage Consulting Group’s ecosystem maps and associated decks illustrate your environment, pinpoint your position in the wider ecosystem, and help you understand major interactions and flows between stakeholders.