New partnership for Accelerator

The Accelerator Centre has entered into a five-year memorandum with the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate program, which is based in Australia.

The Accelerator Centre, a facility that allows entrepreneurs in the Waterloo Region to launch their own tech startups, has entered into a five-year memorandum with the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate program, which is based in Australia.

The partnership is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in both programs to actively collaborate with each other.

The program functions by giving clients currently placed in the Accelerator program access to resources available at the University of Wollongong, and vice versa.

This includes students being able to approach mentors from both programs.

Additionally, if there are ever issues with funding or programming, CEOs and CFOs across the world have the opportunity to actively communicate with each other.

As well, when something new is introduced, clients are encouraged to converse back and forth. They are also advised to learn from each other’s mistakes and not implement them into their existing business model.

There are also added opportunities for clients enrolled in either program to connect with clients registered in the contrasting program.
CEO of the iAccelerate program, Elizabeth Eastfield, said that unlike the Silicon Valley which has a more established start-up hub, the Waterloo start-up community is still in its early stages of development. Because of this, her goal in the new partnership is “to use Waterloo as an inspirational model, and to learn as much as possible.”

Eastfield continued that one of the key ambitions for this project is increasing jobs through this collaboration and encouraging female entrepreneurship.

“We have a very strong ambition to include female entrepreneurs in our ecosystem. They are very often ignored.”

The program is not designed to be a pilot program and is more about “deeply establishing a framework in which students can exchange and share knowledge,” according to Eastfield.

Carole Schwartz, interim director of marketing for the Accelerator Centre, stressed the importance of preserving the ecosystem within the Waterloo region.

“Any time there’s an accelerator program like ours in the community, it’s important to educate the startups to what the possibilities are if they stay within the community.”

“There are lots of opportunities for students in the overall ecosystem right now,” she continued.

“There are a lot of resources available to them, and there’s a lot of programming, and I think that programming and expanding and recognizing that we’re still not meeting all the needs in our community for tech startups is what’s important.”

She noted the multiple programs available for students in the Waterloo region to venture into entrepreneurship.

“So many students want to become entrepreneurs, instead of taking the traditional route of going into the corporate world, and working for somebody else,” she said.

“So many students want to work for themselves.”

Placing an emphasis on the importance of finding a good fit for yourself in terms of the multiple programs offered to students in the Waterloo region, Shwartz concluded, “It’s really just about doing your research, and looking for all that is available out there.”

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