Lazaridis Institute announces new partners in its ScaleUp program


Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis Institute has announced the next 11 companies taking part in its collaborative ScaleUp program.

This will be the seventh group of companies to benefit from ScaleUp, which will begin its activities later this month.

ScaleUp is a program designed to help Canadian companies, specifically tech start-ups with a high potential for growth, transition to being competitive in a global market.

The companies this year come from a wide variety of different business sectors, ranging from healthcare to travel to artificial intelligence.

“We put on a year-long program for very promising companies that look like they’re at that stage of growth where they’re really taking off,” Kim Morouney, associate professor and managing director of the Lazaridis Institute said.

“That is wonderful for them, beautiful, but also really difficult because everything you do is now going to be very different.”

This year also features a significant amount of diversity among the leaders of the companies selected. Of the 11 companies selected, nine have a founder or cofounder from an underrepresented group.

ScaleUp provides experienced mentors to help advise these companies as they move into the global market. This allows them to stay in Canada where they might otherwise need to move to a tech hub in the US in search of that expertise.

 These mentors also offer programming, where they work directly with the leaders of these companies to discuss their visions and share insights about growing a business.

“They will come in and act as a speaker and facilitator and talk about the best practices in their field, in anything from maintaining a culture, to hiring the best talent, or what the best way is to look at unit economics,” Morouney said.

ScaleUp also has a focus on bringing together peer groups so that those in charge of these companies can share ideas and connect with like-minded colleagues.

One of the keys to success in growing a business during a pandemic and one of the things the Lazaridis Institute had to learn itself, said Morouney, is adaptability.

“[The main thing] we had to understand for ourselves, and what helps us to understand what companies go through, is the ability, when going through a crisis, to stand back, take a deep breath, and look at what you’re confronting as honestly as possible.”

Besides ScaleUp, the Lazaridis Institute also supports research into the areas it’s most interested in, which Morouney described as “the overlap of entrepreneurship, rapid growth and technology.”

Morouney said she’s always excited for the ScaleUp program to start.

“[At Laurier] we get to meet students who are passionate, and they’re gifted and driven in some way, and in the scaleup program we’re meeting men and women like that,” she explained.

“We’re meeting people who have an idea, and they want to make that idea work and they’re just throwing everything they’ve got into it.”More information can be found on the Lazaridis Institute’s webpage. There is also a newsletter students can subscribe to in order to receive information about the institute and the ScaleUp program.

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