The Lazaridis Institute seeks out the ten best ventures in the country

Photo by Marco Pedri
Photo by Marco Pedri

The Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises is currently on a cross-Canada quest to seek out the ten best ventures in the country to join the first cohort of the Lazaridis Institute Scale Up Program.

The institute was created to work within the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, with an aim of supporting growth-oriented tech companies within Canada.

The institute recently embarked on a national roadshow, starting in Waterloo and then moving on to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and more, in the hopes of generating interest in their new Scale Up Program.

“We know that we have a lot of really, really great start-ups in Canada, especially in the Waterloo Region, but we don’t have as many enterprise sized, or we call them globally sized companies, as we should,” said Kim Morouney, program director for the Lazaridis Institute.

“We want to find the most promising start-ups and work with them to overcome the barriers to scaling up.”

The inaugural program will be offered to the ten best ventures, and will involve a weekend a month for five months where the ventures will travel to different Canadian cities and be instructed by world-class experts, followed by a week spent in Silicon Valley.

“The program is also entirely customized to the companies in the cohort,” said Morouney.

“We will choose the experts and design the exact topics depending on the companies that we find and their needs. As well, when they go to Silicon Valley, they’re going to be meeting with investors and advisors of sorts and all of those people will be chosen to the specific company, so it’s a very tailored program.”

The lucky ten will be chosen from the pool of applicants who manage to complete the application before the September 16 deadline, which consists of a written portion, relating to themselves and their venture, as well as a two minute video delving further into the nature of their venture.

Semi-finalists will be asked to conduct a video-conference with judges from Silicon Valley, New York and the Lazaridis Institute, where they will present a six minute pitch and then participate in a lengthy Q&A.

Interest has already been peeked, with last week’s presentations proving successful and a number of applications already submitted through the online form.

“We had one group which was at the [Ottawa event], which finished about 9 p.m., and they had their application in before nine o’clock [the next morning],” said Morouney. “I think there’s quite a lot of excitement.”

The excitement is understandable considering that the pilot of this project is being offered free of charge, with accommodations and food additionally covered over the course of the six months, with ventures only required to pay for their flights.

“We are hoping as many companies will apply as possible,” said Morouney.

“We’re really wanting to find the top ten companies across Canada and provide them with all of the support and the access to resources that they need to be the next Canadian success story.”

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