It’s a common refrain in Canada’s tech industry that we excel at producing startups, but falter at scaling them. The Lazaridis Institute wants to help companies change that narrative.
The Waterloo, Ont.-based institute, part of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, announced Tuesday it would be touring 15 cities across Canada this summer in order to give startups across the country a chance to join its annual Lazaridis Scale-Up Program.
“Tech leaders, policy-makers, and media all point to the fact that scale-ups account for less than five per cent of Canadian companies and yet create more than 50 per cent of all new jobs,” the organization said in a May 22 press release. “The Lazaridis Institute investment in the tech sector is an investment in Canada’s future.”
Now in its third year, the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program connects the founders of 10 promising Canadian tech companies with global experts, helping them improve their business models, grow their networks, and seek additional funding. According to the Institute, all 10 of the first cohort’s companies reported increased revenues, and 90 per cent launched a new product or service, increased exports, and secured external financing.
The 15-city tour, a first for the class of 2018, will take place between June 5 and 27, and span from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C. (You can read about the class of 2016, which happened to be based entirely in eastern Canada, here, and the class of 2017 here.)
In each city, the Institute will host a presentation by Chris Yeh, a general partner with Silicon Valley-based Wasabi Ventures Global, about the Stanford University-supported “Blitzscaling” approach to scaling. According to the Institute’s release, the tour will also include discussions regarding “business models that support lightning-fast growth, shifts in strategy needed at each level of scale, and the management challenges that arise as a tech company grows,” and Hockeystick, the open database of Canadian startups and investors partially funded by the Institute.
“The free platform will help resource-strapped startups and scale-ups gain international profile, and more efficiently access support programs and funding opportunities,” the release says. “The platform will also make it easier for accelerators to identify startups that meet their program parameters, and will provide provincial and federal governments with the requisite impact metrics.”
According to Lazaridis Institute managing director Kim Morouney, the tour represents “an opportunity to connect with tech ecosystems across the nation.”
“We want to share our research, invite companies to take advantage of this new data platform, and learn how we can all work together to scale Canada’s tech companies,” Morouney said in the release. “Our goal is to uncover the resources and foster the talent tech companies need to grow—and to stay here in Canada.”
Applications for the Institute’s third annual Scale-Up Program open on May 22 and close July 27.
The tour, meanwhile, will visit the following cities on the following dates:
- Halifax: Tuesday June 5
- St. John’s: Wednesday June 6
- Moncton: Thursday June 7
- Winnipeg: Monday June 11
- Saskatoon: Tuesday June 12
- Calgary: Wednesday June 13
- Edmonton: Thursday June 14
- Ottawa: Monday June 18
- Waterloo: Tuesday June 19
- Toronto: Wednesday June 20
- Victoria: Tuesday June 26
- Vancouver: Wednesday June 27
- Montreal: Wednesday July 4
- Quebec City: Thursday July 5
- Charlottetown: TBD