Scaleup and Growth Accelerators Provide New Opportunities for Alberta Innovators and Entrepreneurs to Excel

EDMONTON, Alberta, March 31, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Alberta Innovates is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of business accelerator(s) to vault Alberta’s promising start-ups and small and medium technology companies through scaleup and growth faster.

Alberta has a scaleup gap. While half of all start-ups survive over five years, only 0.1 per cent of small firms become mid-sized, and only two per cent of mid-sized firms become large. Alberta Innovates is seeking three or more technology/business accelerators to address the scale-up gap and help Alberta startups and Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to scale and grow and contribute to a thriving innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

This RFP is also intended to expand Alberta’s global innovation mindset by attracting global technology firms and investment to Alberta via world class acceleration and ecosystem. Selected accelerators will also help to diversify Alberta’s economy by supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in new technology areas that will create high-quality jobs throughout the province. This will contribute to 900 new junior technology firms, 20,000 jobs and $5 billion in technology firm revenue in the province by 2030.

Up to $25 million in funding is available for a three-year contract for three or more accelerators (with an option to extend for an additional two years). Alberta Innovates will consider both private and not-for-profit acceleration models.

The RFP is open until April 30, 2021. Full details can be viewed on the Alberta Purchasing Connection website.

QUOTES

“While we need many more startups at the start of the funnel, we also need to ensure we are scaling up those businesses and helping them achieve growth. By increasing the number of successful scale ups in the province, we create jobs and attract investment.”

Hon. Doug Schweitzer, Minister, Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“Our goal is to make Alberta a hub for high growth entrepreneurial businesses and recognized as an attractive place for technology investment. We want to help companies scale – not just to become $5-million or $10-million companies – we want to see companies get to $100 million or more.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

BACKGROUND

Business accelerators are a tool to help companies scale and grow at a faster rate. An accelerator provides and intensive learning experience for cohorts of selected businesses, where mentors compress years of experiential learning into a few months.

The overall objectives of the RFP and the scaleup and growth approach are to:

  • Build Alberta Entrepreneur Ecosystem capacity;
  • Increase entrepreneurial scale-up capacity and knowledge in Alberta;
  • Improve business maturity;
  • Increase the number of Alberta new scalable junior technology companies;
  • Create Alberta jobs;
  • Increase new Alberta technology company revenue;
  • Increase follow on investment (investment attraction).

Three different streams of accelerators will be considered:

  • Pre-Accelerators – work with entrepreneurs at earlier stages of development
  • Sector-Based Accelerators – scale up and growth with connections to sector-based industry, mentoring and capital
  • Sector-Agnostic Accelerators – designed specifically for global scale up growth and investment

All three streams are designed to attract local and global accelerator programs to Alberta, to recognize technology and innovation scaleup potential in the province and strengthen it.

Alberta Innovates will host a registered Vendor-only Information Webinar on April 22, 2021 to provide vendors with an overview of the RFP process and an opportunity to ask live questions. Proposals by vendors are due April 30, 2021.

Alberta Innovates is the province’s largest and Canada’s first public research and innovation organization. For a century we have worked closely with researchers, companies and entrepreneurs – trailblazers who built the province’s industries and strengthened communities. Today we are pivoting to the next frontier of opportunity in Alberta and worldwide, driven by emerging technologies across sectors. We are a provincial corporation that provides seed funding, business advice, applied research and technical services, along with avenues for partnership and collaboration. Learn how Alberta Innovates.

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