End-to-end advisory services for local and international entrepreneurs across all startup stages — from ideation through commercialization — will help close the commercialization gap.
Durham Region is leading the way in innovation by creating an ecosystem that enables business startups and founders to scale and grow their companies, driving growth and productivity and developing a workforce for the technology sector.
Invest Durham, the regional economic development division, is facilitating a community approach through efforts like its recent participation at the global tech event Collision Conference. Working together with 13 of its regional partners, Invest Durham highlighted how the region provides the ecosystem and opportunities that help companies overcome a common challenge — the commercialization gap. While Canada excels at generating ground-breaking research and ideas, there’s a gap in commercializing those ideas and taking them to market.
While incubators, accelerators, hubs, and co-working spaces throughout the country provide support to entrepreneurs, a focus on the idea-creation-to-intellectual-property stage results in few startups taking that next step to successful commercialization (estimated at less than three percent).
Entrepreneurs gain continued support that drives future success
To bolster startup success rates and create sustainable businesses, Ontario Tech University’s Brilliant Catalyst incubator in Oshawa and the 1855 Technology Accelerator located in Whitby announced at the Collision Conference their partnership to deliver end-to-end advisory services to local and international entrepreneurs across all startup stages — from ideation through commercialization. With personalized and detailed handoffs between incubator and accelerator, entrepreneurs will gain continued support that drives future success.
The 1855 Technology Accelerator is a business accelerator focused on helping tech startups scale revenue and operations quickly, including expediting sales and marketing, revenue growth, executive mentorship, research and development, IP/trademark protection, investor readiness, and talent optimization.
Brilliant Catalyst is the university-based incubator and experiential learning hub at Ontario Tech University. It serves students and is a designated entity under the Start-Up Visa Program, which allows it to support entrepreneurs from around the world. It designs and delivers learning opportunities and programs to innovators to help propel the next generation of innovation changemakers and put more Canadian ventures on the map.
Partnership focused on providing a founder-first vision
“Brilliant Catalyst at Ontario Tech has established an amazing entrepreneurship program, which helps not just students, but faculty, international entrepreneurs, and private industries to commercialize and grow their businesses,” says Dennis Croft, CEO of 1855 Technology Accelerator. “Brilliant Catalyst provides a best-in-class experience from ideation through first customer sale, allowing for a seamless handoff to 1855 Accelerator’s value proposition.”
Dr. Osman Hamid, Director of Creativity and Entrepreneurship at Brilliant Catalyst, Ontario Tech University, calls 1855 “an amazing partner.” “The focus that 1855 has on scaling companies complements our focus on helping founders build their ventures from ideation to their first sale. This partnership will help solidify our relationship and give founders the leverage to benefit from two organizations with a founder-first vision and goal,” he says.
The partners already have a history of enabling startups to succeed. For example, IFTech sells the world’s first commercially-available multisensory, multidirectional, force-feedback, immersive, wearable technology for use cases, including training, gaming, movies, and virtual reality.
Trusted support and advice make all the difference
IFTech faced disconnects in the entrepreneur support system early on despite its success. For example, from 2016 to 2020, its founders didn’t have access to startup advisory for marketing, sales, supply chain, operations, or private equity investment raising, which led to a significant delay in commercializing and scaling. But through working closely with Ontario Tech University and 1855 Technology Accelerator to scale, grow, and enhance its technology and commercialization strategies, the company is reaching its goals.
“Without Ontario Tech and the 1855 Accelerator, we wouldn’t have accomplished our business goals, ” says Brodie Stanfi eld, Founder and Co-CEO of IFTech. “We’ve leveraged a wide range of support, including several academic organizations, federal, provincial, and municipal governments, and angel investors. But it all comes down to having the right support and trusted advice to grow revenue and scale the operational capabilities of your company.” “Successful entrepreneurship is done through partnership, through learning and failure, through trying new things, and by being bold with your ideas,” notes Simon Gill, Director of Economic Development and Tourism for Durham Region. “The partnership of 1855 and Ontario Tech University will bolster success rates, create new businesses, and forge a new path for success for the incredible talent learning at Ontario Tech University.”