What is Propel ICT?
Propel ICT is an “accelerator” – an organization that works with companies through its Launch 36 program to help them grow and expand their product offering. Propel ICT is a private-sector lead initiative and draws upon the expertise of volunteer mentors to provide guidance to companies and entrepreneurs. Propel ICT began in New Brunswick and has expanded to include all of Atlantic Canada. In the last three years, Propel ICT has helped 31 companies move through the program. With the next cohort, we expect to achieve our ambitious target of having 36 companies participate in the program in three years.
What is new with Propel ICT?
This is Propel ICT’s tenth anniversary. From its beginning in Saint John, New Brunswick, Propel ICT has expanded to include the rest of the Maritimes and, beginning in 2014, Newfoundland and Labrador. As the East Coast startup community expands, Propel ICT is keeping pace. We’re calling this Propel 2.0. To support entrepreneurs throughout the region, we are establishing formal partnerships with Volta Labs in Halifax and Planet Hatch in Fredericton. As our Community Partners, Volta Labs and Planet Hatch will support early stage startups.
What is a Community Partner?
Community Partners enter into an agreement with Propel ICT to offer a range of community-based facilities, equipment and mentorship to young companies in the Propel Cohort. They also support Propel events, and help us in our goals towards a decentralized model of venture acceleration.
What is the difference between the Propel ICT program and those offered by Volta Labs and Planet Hatch?
Propel ICT, through its Launch 36 program, will focus on working with companies that are further along their startup journey. We call this the “Build Phase”. Launch 36 programming focuses on customer acquisition, honing the sales model, building out the team, and identifying what’s needed to scale up the business. Volta Labs and Planet Hatch will work with earlier stage startups. We call this the “Start Phase” program. That includes things like developing a first product release, validating learning, finding those all important early adopters and building the team. They will operate that programming from their base communities
Why have Volta and Planet Hatch been chosen to be Community Partners?
It’s important to us at Propel ICT that our Community Partners be based throughout Atlantic Canada, and share our values of mentorship and investing in new technology services as a key growth industry in Atlantic Canada’s economy. Volta and Planet Hatch have strong track records of supporting their startup communities and making great things happen. By establishing partnerships with them, we’ll accelerate entrepreneurial growth throughout the region.
What about other communities in Atlantic Canada? When will you have a presence there?
Propel ICT is a regional organization with a mandate, as of 2014, that includes all of Atlantic Canada. Volta Labs in Halifax and Planet Hatch in Fredericton are our first community partners. We will explore opportunities for further partnerships in other communities.
What kind of responsibilities do Community Partners have?
Our Community Partners take on a lot of responsibility, that’s why they’re such a crucial part of the overall startup ecosystem. They offer shared working space to members of the Propel Cohort, meeting and conference rooms, audio / visual and printing equipment, Cohort mentorship, host Propel Boot Camps, and offer administrative support to Propel in organizing those Boot Camps.