“It’s been a month and a half to two months here right now, and the people here are amazing. It’s fun, loving, and a great networking opportunity. They’ve given us all the tools that’s required for us to grow where we are.”Anashwar Parayil, Co-Founder at Haletale (NEA cohort 2022), about Haletale’s first few months in the program.
Canada is renowned for its welcoming nature, diverse population, and robust economy, making it an ideal place for entrepreneurs in general seeking to start their businesses. The country’s supportive business environment, multicultural society, and various government programs offer a multitude of opportunities for newcomer entrepreneurs in particular.
At LatAm Startups we are aware of this reality, and wanted to help this underserved community of entrepreneurs.
From September 2022 to March 2023 we had seven companies owned by newcomers (either permanent residents or new Canadian citizens) graduating from the Newcomer Entrepreneur Accelerator (NEA) program. In 2021, we received funding support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to run a pilot program with newcomer entrepreneurs. We anticipate that a third cohort of the NEA program will start in the Fall of 2023.
Here’s a brief overview of the seven exciting companies that graduated:
- Bike2Web→ Lead Management Automation & Digital Marketing for Powersports Dealers
- Infinite Harvest Technologies→ Sustainable Technologies to Feed the World
- Vibraint→ improving people’s lives by using modern neurotechnologies
- Haletale→ The All-in-One Rental Listing & Solutions Platform
- RDIT→ Leading IT Transformation to New Levels
- Benlya→ IT & Telco solutions under one roof
- WeRelo→ Fast and Reliable Nationwide Vehicle Relocation
The companies were able to develop a clear marketing and sales strategy, identify funding opportunities, develop an IP strategy, and develop a structure ready to hire new talent, among other deliverables, to help the company integrate into Canada’s ecosystem and recover in a post-pandemic economy.
“It is a great place to create networking opportunities. There’s a solid program defined with market experts and mentors, including a co-working space to accelerate the company and grow the business in Canada.”The words of Andrés Baez, Country Manager, Canada at RDIT.
More reactions of the founders at NEA: “We are looking at the different skills that are going to be important as we grow globally from Canada, and the other one is the access to capital, right? I think LatAm Startups offers the platform for companies like ours that are based initially in Latin America, and wants to expand into the world as a good platform to get into the market.” Luis Ortiz Founder at Infinite Harvest Technologies highlights the most important assets that made him take the decision of enrolling to the NEA Program.
Jaime Romero, CEO and Co-Founder of Bike2Web values the access to different tools that he couldn’t have gotten by himself: “So far our experience with LatAm Startups has been amazing. They have given us access to mentors, coaches, to networks and to other accelerators…”
Being in the program gives the founders the following five possibilities to grow in the Canadian tech ecosystem:
- Thriving Startup Ecosystem:
- Canada boasts a vibrant startup ecosystem, particularly in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. These cities are home to numerous innovation hubs, incubators, and accelerators (like LatAm Startups) that provide invaluable support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for startups. The availability of venture capital and angel investor networks also contributes to the growth and success of new businesses.
- Access to Skilled Workforce:
- Canada’s strong education system produces a highly skilled and diverse workforce, offering entrepreneurs a wide talent pool to choose from. Additionally, the country’s immigration policies prioritize attracting skilled workers from around the world. As a newcomer entrepreneur, you can tap into this pool of talent to build a skilled team that aligns with your business goals and objectives.
- Government Support and Grants:
- The Canadian government provides various funding and support programs to assist entrepreneurs in launching and expanding their businesses. The Canada Small Business Financing Program, for example, offers loans to entrepreneurs to help with startup costs, while NRC IRAP provides advisory services, expert connections, and funding for research and development projects. These initiatives help reduce barriers for entrepreneurs and foster innovation and growth.
- Access to Global Markets:
- Canada’s strategic geographic location offers excellent access to both North American and international markets. The United States, as Canada’s largest trading partner, provides immense opportunities for cross-border trade. Additionally, Canada’s free trade agreements with numerous countries, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), further enhance access to global markets and facilitate international business expansion.
- Support for underserved communities
- Underserved communities of entrepreneurs in Canada (newcomers, black, indigenous, women, to name a few) can benefit from various funding programs and initiatives specifically designed to support their business endeavors. These programs may include grants, loans, or equity investments tailored to the unique challenges faced by entrepreneurs from underserved communities. Access to funding can help these entrepreneurs overcome financial barriers and launch or expand their businesses.
A new cohort for startups that fit the NEA program criteria is expected to start in mid September, 2023. We know you may have a lot of questions, that’s why we have an upcoming info session where you will learn how LatAm Startups can help your company integrate into Canada’s tech ecosystem.
For additional information about this program contact Meg Welter, Program Coordinator NEA.