Two people work on a high-tech piece of machinery.

Introducing Accelerate from Anywhere

As we look to “build back better” from the pandemic by responding to the climate crisis and creating an inclusive economy, now is a crucial time to invest in launching the next wave of climate and water innovators and to ensure broader participation in Canada’s impact entrepreneurship movement.

That’s why we’re launching Accelerate from Anywhere: a joint initiative of the Centre for Social Innovation and Foresight Canada that will provide an “acceleration ramp” for over 160 early-stage cleantech entrepreneurs from across the country.

If you’re a climate entrepreneur, jump to Accelerate from Anywhere.

Whether you’re just starting to discover your path as an entrepreneur or already hard at work validating your solution and proving your business model, Accelerate from Anywhere will connect you to the most suitable program to support your growth.

Accelerators are programs designed to speed up the development, launch and successful growth of a venture. 

Entrepreneurs in Accelerate from Anywhere will be supported with training, mentorship, and connections to funders and potential partners. They will also meet, and have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with, other early-stage cleantech enterprises from across Canada.

Bringing the accelerator to the entrepreneur 

Accelerate from Anywhere provides aspiring and rising entrepreneurs with a shortcut to navigating the innovation ecosystem by connecting them to top-notch, successive accelerator programs, and supporting them as they progress along their journeys. These accelerator programs are accessible to entrepreneurs from anywhere in Canada with an Internet connection, bringing the training, coaching, connections and opportunities directly to them.

Selected entrepreneurs can participate in:

  • Impact Entrepreneurship 101 to explore their purpose as entrepreneurs and develop their business ideas
  • Kickstart to validate their value propositions and examine their problem-solution fit
  • Launch to build their MVPs, validate their business models, and hone their pitches
  • Deliver to develop their technology roadmaps
  • Earth Tech to advance their businesses and raise funding

Taken together, these programs will help launch the next wave of cleantech entrepreneurs.

Note: AfA also supports entrepreneurs pursuing climate solutions that are not primarily cleantech by offering them Impact Entrepreneurship 101 and Prove, our new pre-accelerator program.

Why this is important

The innovation ecosystem can be challenging and confusing for early-stage entrepreneurs to navigate. There are many players to get to know and many programs to sift through. Entrepreneurs must attempt to identify the most suitable programs and supports they are eligible for, and apply to them, all while trying to launch their startups.

Due to systemic barriers, the technology sector and, more broadly, STEM have historically not been demographically representative of society. Those most affected by climate change have often been excluded from meaningful opportunities to develop and implement solutions through entrepreneurship. This is both an injustice as well as a missed opportunity as diversity unlocks innovation.

In addition, as many of the better-known accelerator programs are physically based in Canada’s urban centres, aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators working and living in rural and remote areas have tended to be left out.

This is where Accelerate from Anywhere comes in: This initiative clarifies the entrepreneurship journey with successive accelerator programs, helps participants navigate the ecosystem, and makes best-in-class training and support available anywhere with an internet connection. 

Canada’s cleantech opportunity 

The cleantech market is expected to be worth $2.5 trillion by 2022. Canada’s cleantech sector already employs 195,000 Canadians, and was ranked fourth in the world by the Global Cleantech Innovation Index.

Cleantech solutions are key to building Canada’s low-carbon economy and enabling other industries to become cleaner. Canadian cleantech has the potential to be a major export, and a source of significant economic, social and environmental benefits. 

The pandemic has hit early-stage, pre-revenue entrepreneurs particularly hard, but the recovery is our chance to prioritize this vital sector, leverage our diversity, and unlock cleantech innovation from coast to coast to coast. 

Learn more about these programs and our Accelerate from Anywhere initiative.

Accelerate from Anywhere is made possible by the RBC Foundation and with support from The Peter Gilgan Foundation, Bullfrog Power, Western Economic Diversification Canada, and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program