In 2003, our founders Gerry Pond, Cathy Simpson, Jeff White, and Curtis Howe set out to jump-start the ICT sector in New Brunswick. This was a time when entrepreneurship was far from a supported, conventional career path. Today, we are fortunate to be a part of a burgeoning startup ecosystem with many resources available to new founders and where entrepreneurship is celebrated.
We feel that now is an opportune time to re-evaluate and transform our programs to better support the Atlantic ecosystem. Over the past few months, our CEO Barry Bisson has had more than a hundred meetings with our alumni, our sponsors and funders, our community partners, and our Board to discuss that very topic. (A big thank you to everyone for taking the time to meet with Barry and for sharing your candid feedback.)
From all those conversations a few common themes stood out:
- Our programming and work with early-stage startups is one of our major strengths, and very important for Atlantic Canada;
- We must forge lasting relationships with our startups, particularly beyond our 12-week programming; and
- Atlantic Canada’s founders and startups are everywhere. We must learn to work across our broad geography and population density and find new ways to support talent development and value creation.
The feedback from our community helped us refine Propel's vision, mission, values, and role in the community. Building on this, we’ve decided to roll out a new program in 2018. It will be tailored to the startups across our region and better support entrepreneurs through their entrepreneurial journey.
On January 26th, we presented our plan for this new program to our Board of Directors. The Board unanimously supported and endorsed our plan, sharing words of encouragement like:
“2018 will be a big year for Propel ICT! The new direction is truly driven by what our stakeholders across Atlantic are asking for, and its a direction the whole board is excited to pursue."
- Jeff White, COO at East Valley Ventures & Chair of Board, Propel ICT
"This is going to be great for founders in Atlantic Canada! I love seeing something that really connects the startup community across the four provinces."
- Nicole Leblanc, Director of Strategic Investments & Women in Tech at BDC & Director at Propel ICT
"This is a very compelling value proposition. The pan-Atlantic approach is a big differentiator that will bring out our best."
- Rob Cowan, Partner at McInnes Cooper & Director at Propel ICT
At this point, we cannot share all the details of our new program. However, we want to share a little about our new program's design.
Our mission is simple: We are committed to discovering and supporting entrepreneurs who create prosperity for Atlantic Canada.
Our values will guide the development of our new program:
- We are committed to radical curiosity - constantly seeking out constructive insight
- We have a collective ambition - Propel is totally focused on serving Atlantic Canada
- We are scrappy - we are relentless and unapologetic in our pursuit of value creation
Here are the specifics we can tell you about our new program:
- We are committed to putting the entrepreneur first;
- We are committed to early-stage startups;
- We are focused on ICT;
- We have an Atlantic mindset. We are one region, one population; and
- We are a virtual organization.
In the coming months, we will be focused on the development of our new program. As a consequence, we will not be running the existing Launch and Build programs during Spring 2018. Our new program will roll out in September 2018 and applications will be announced in the spring.
Atlantic Canada is an environment rich in entrepreneurial talent. Propel ICT is excited to continue to help that talent flourish and grow to build globally competitive companies that will call Atlantic Canada their home, and their headquarters.