Accelerator Centre Launches first Cohort in Clean Tech Program

In September, the Accelerator Centre welcomed three companies into the inaugural cohort of a new clean tech accelerator program. The pilot project, which is operated in partnership with Sustainable Waterloo Region and the funding by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, aims to incubate and support companies that are innovating in the sustainable technologies, smart buildings, and renewable energy industries. The new theme of the AC’s flagship Accelerator Program brings space, specialized resources, and mentorship to clean tech companies looking to build and scale their business and drive the clean economy in Waterloo region.

While the program is currently run out of the AC’s Waterloo Headquarters, it will soon move into an exciting new space within Canada’s first net positive office building, evolv1, currently under construction by the Cora group in the R+T Park. The new innovation space within that building, named evolvGREEN, will house a community of local startups, government officials, academic institutions, and industry partners that are committed to supporting a sustainable economy and workplace wellness – the perfect home for entrepreneurs looking to make waves in the clean tech space.

We at Sustainable Waterloo Region are so thrilled to be part of this project. partnering with the Accelerator Centre and Ontario Trillium Foundation, we are working together to foster an increase in clean technology in a one of a kind sustainable building, the Cora Group’s evolv1. This project is a big step to proving what is possible in sustainable business, building and creating a clean economy. – Tova Davidson, Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region

The first three companies within the program are ElectransTech, Livescape, and PFX solutions.

Electrans Technologies Ltd.
Brian Fan, Product Development Manager

Brian Fan is the Product Development Manager of Electrans Technologies Ltd. which targets a unique angle on the future of hybrid transportation. Focusing on transport trucks, his company has built the platform to essentially turn transports into hybrid, electric vehicles by applying battery and electric motor to the axle of the vehicle. The idea is to use the same type of technologies that companies like Tesla, to that of the current trucking industry to improve fuel efficiencies.
Brian joined the company in June, and has numerous years of experience as a mechanical engineer focusing on sustainability in the automotive industry. As someone who has worked in automotive R & D for upwards of 10 years and spent time in technology incubators in Taiwan and in Paris, France– he compared the experience in the Accelerator Centre experience by saying that he appreciates the structure and the accountability everyone is held to, like having homework, due dates and regular meetings with mentors. “The sense of community and support is overwhelming and we are looking forward to progressing through the Clean Tech program and launching proof of concept and the prototype in the next year— 2018.”

Ashley Demarte, CEO

Livescape is a botanical design and installation company specializing in living wall and green roof solutions for corporate, commercial, institutional, and custom projects. Ashley and her team offer green wall and roof systems from a range of suppliers, tailoring to the unique needs of their clients. The company also offers full maintenance services to keep various projects lush and beautiful for years to come.

With over 15 years of experience working with tropical and native plants and a lifelong passion for green design, Ashley launched her own company, Livescape, in 2015. It was a natural evolution for the driven entrepreneur, who has earned a name for herself as “The Crazy Plant Lady”.

Equipped with years of experience in green roof and living wall systems, design, installation, and maintenance, Ashley’s work is highly praised by her clients and colleagues. Her passion, expertise, and dedication have earned her a loyal client base across Southern Ontario.

Nicole McCallum, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer

Utilizing a patent-pending engineering advancement to convert PET plastic waste into filaments that can be used in 3D-printers, remain durable, and even conduct electricity. They transform plastic water bottles into prosthetic limbs, solar panels, and more. Currently, Recycl3D using the filaments to 3D-print prosthetic limbs through their non-profit entity, RECYCL3D Planet, in collaboration with head of the bio-medical engineering department at the SSN Institute in Chennai, India, and a research team of 7 additional engineers. Their biomedical engineering team have advanced motion functionality beyond existing prosthesis capacity in the market. In addition, with its unique conductive properties, the extruded-sheet rolls will be used to 3D print solar panels, in partnership with researchers at Newcastle University in Australia.

Visit Sustainable Waterloo Region’s website for more details on the local clean economy and the AC’s program page for more information on the clean tech pilot program.

We’re Hiring! Director, External Relations and Strategic Initiatives

This posting is now closed. Thank you to everyone who applied. We will be reaching out to successful candidates for an interview in the coming days. 

The Accelerator Centre is seeking a highly qualified, passionate and accomplished leader to develop, lead and
help implement strategic initiatives that support the vision, goals and short and long-term plans of our fast
paced, dynamic and entrepreneurial organization. The ideal candidate must be a self-starter with a critical eye,
excellent communication skills, a proven ability to multi-task and take on projects and initiatives with limited

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the Director of External Relations and Strategic Initiatives will be
responsible for government and investor relations, grant/proposal writing, corporate and other contributions and
the planning and execution of strategic initiatives.


  • Overall responsibility for ongoing sustainable funding of the Accelerator Centre.
  • Plan and coordinate the execution of strategic initiatives that support the continued growth of the Accelerator Centre including the establishment of new locations and programs.
  • Serve as a strong advocate and resource for all Accelerator Centre locations, with management of all associated funding.
  • Build strong and trusting relationships with the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, other Accelerator Centre Directors, employees, consultants and other key stakeholders.
  • Facilitate the strategic and operational planning process for the Accelerator Centre.
  • Foster, develop, and liaise with key stakeholders including industry, government and community partners to advance the development of strategic relationships and funding objectives.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders on the preparation of joint grant proposals.
  • Proactively monitor, analyze and interpret current and upcoming government initiatives, programs, legislation and activities and provide advice on key funding opportunities for the Accelerator Centre.
  • Effectively communicate and promote the Accelerator Centre’s strategic and business plans with all levels of government, and ensure direct alignment with, and support of, their efforts to create successful and impactful accelerators and incubators that boost the Canadian economy.
  • Identify public and private funding opportunities for the Accelerator Centre; drive the development of proposal and grant strategies and concepts that directly support the opportunities and needs of the organization and its clients.
  • Develop proposals and grants by assembling information including project context, key objectives/outcomes/deliverables, implementation, methods, timetable, staffing, budget, standards of performance, and evaluation; write, revise, and edit drafts including executive summaries, conclusions, and organization credentials.
  • Work closely with the Accelerator Centre employees who support external relations and the implementation of strategic initiatives.
  • Execution of other duties as assigned by the CEO.


  • A minimum of five years of stakeholder/government relations or related experience, including working and communicating with senior executives.
  • A minimum of five years managing a team with direct reports, budgets, and project plans
  • Proven track record for securing new public and private sector investment, and leading the development of winning proposals and grant applications.
  • Well established relationships with, key elected officials, bureaucrats, decision-makers and influencers across all three levels of government
  • Demonstrated ability to influence and execute strategic deliverables, including the conceptualization, development, launch and management of new programs and projects.
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills, and the ability to effectively convey factual and conceptual information on issues requiring detailed explanation and interpretation.
  • Exceptional relationship building skills and political savviness/agility.
  • The ability to serve as an effective and credible spokesperson for the Accelerator Centre.
  • Strong negotiation skills.
  • Well-developed writing skills sufficient to creatively and precisely articulate ideas and opinions that involve analysis, interpretation, and assessment.
  • Sound judgment and problem-solving skills.
  • Strong oral and written communications skills.
  • Ability to work both independently and within a team environment to achieve business objectives.
  • Proven project and program management skills, including the ability to lead, work effectively with a team to develop and execute work plans.

Please apply with your resume and cover letter to

View the full job description here.

The Accelerator Centre is committed to fostering a diverse community that is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.

A full range of perspectives, lifestyles, and passions are key to creating the inclusive, entrepreneurial environment that is necessary to help our clients build and scale globally competitive companies. Diversity and inclusion at the Accelerator Centre means we are dedicated to the elimination of discrimination, in all its forms, at all levels of our organization and in our programming.

We welcome applications from qualified candidates of all backgrounds regardless of age, physical ability, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation. We will provide any requested accommodation to candidates with disabilities throughout the recruitment process. If you require assistance, please contact noting the job title in the subject line of the email.




Minister Chagger Celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week at Accelerator Centre’s JumpStart SPARK Showcase

News Release

Participating startups demonstrated new technologies and made valuable business connections

November 14, 2017,  Waterloo, Ontario

Canadian entrepreneurs are crucial to Canada’s economic growth, and the Government of Canada is committed to helping innovative start-ups to reach their full potential. This was the message delivered today by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, during a keynote address at the Accelerator Centre’s AC JumpStart SPARK Showcase.

Held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, this annual event celebrates dedicated and hard-working entrepreneurs who have received support through the AC JumpStart program, a unique incubation and mentorship program that supports technology start-ups across southern Ontario. The Minister also announced that 22 companies will receive support through the seventh cohort of the AC JumpStart program.

During the event, entrepreneurs demonstrated their innovative technologies to industry leaders and potential investors. Three start-ups were selected to pitch their company to the audience, and 56 Game Studios was chosen as the winner.

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) invested $8 million, through the Investing in Business Innovation initiative, in support of the AC JumpStart program. The program is delivered by the Accelerator Centre, in partnership with the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. The Accelerator Centre expects to help a total of 180 high-potential businesses grow, creating approximately 700 new jobs.


“Global Entrepreneurship Week is an excellent opportunity to highlight the amazing work being done by innovative Canadian entrepreneurs. This event is a fabulous demonstration of the impressive talent for which the Waterloo region has become known. Our Government is proud to support programs like the Accelerator Centre’s AC JumpStart program. It provides crucial mentorship and seed funding for early-stage technology companies to succeed and thrive. Today’s showcase demonstrates how, with the right support, bright and promising entrepreneurs can help grow the economy and create good middle class jobs.”

– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Member of Parliament for Waterloo

“The AC JumpStart program is an essential source of early-stage funding for start-ups across southern Ontario. The combination of this funding from FedDev Ontario with our mentor model gives early-stage companies a leg up in building their businesses and positively impacts our community. We are pleased to welcome Minister Chagger to the Accelerator Centre to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week and the success of these companies.”

– Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre

Quick Facts

  • Established in 2006, the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo is an award-winning incubator, dedicated to building sustainable and globally competitive technology companies.
  • Each AC JumpStart recipient receives up to $30,000 in seed financing, one-of-a-kind mentorship and coaching from a team of in-house experts, as well as access to market research and connections to investors.
  • Cohort seven of the program is currently underway; applications for the eighth cohort will open in early 2018.
  • In 2013, the Accelerator Centre successfully piloted the AC JumpStart program with the help of a $945,000-investment through FedDev Ontario. The pilot assisted 30 start-up companies, which created 212 new jobs in the Waterloo region.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week, taking place November 13–18, is the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation. Thousands of events and activities in over 130 countries will inspire people to engage in entrepreneurial activity and help them explore their potential to create start-up companies.

Associated Links


Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505
Subscribe to our news updates and follow us on Twitter @FedDevOntario

What’s Life? Media partners with THEMUSEUM for the first ever Life Asks Community Conversation and Pop-Up


What’s Life? is a story-telling media startup, focused on creating and capturing compelling content online and in real spaces. They just created a first of its kind, local-global Digital Pop-Up and partnered up with downtown Kitchener’s THEMUSEUM for their current Model Citizen Exhibition.

“Our Pop-Up and Platform is called Life AsksTM and our aim is to ask people compelling and sometimes disruptive questions about life so we can share micro stories of our real life experiences and why they matter,” says CEO Dave Marmen. “Because of fake news, and many other issues, we are entering a new era of authenticity where people are wanting authentic exchanges and a new kind of conversation.”

This is why the What’s Life? team is also launching a novel, experimental Life AsksTM Community Conversation on November 8th from 7 to 9 pm as part of THEMUSEUEM’s Dialogue Series. It’s where digital meets analog to discuss important questions in the form of open and spontaneous micro-cafe-conversations. “We are inviting everyone who cares about community and good conversation to attend. Different micro cafes are hosted by people from the region who have a burning question to pose the community, which makes it really fun and engaging, as well as relevant to people’s lives in the Kitchener-Waterloo region” says Marmen.

Here’s what can guests expect

“Show up, grab a drink, pick conversations of your choice, move around, and engage in a fun, real-time, hosted discussion with a group of like-minded and diverse people from the local community. We’re expecting artists, adventurers, entrepreneurs (some serial), techies, University students, recent grads, philosophers, networkers, and local thought leaders.

It’s new. It’s different. We want to spark creative connections between people and ideas, life experiences and future possibilities. The Pop-Up Conversation is an opportunity to identify and share what matters most to you. After all, our conversations shape our lives and our communities.

Admission: Pay What You Can (PWYC), with a suggested donation of $10.
More Information:

Get Your Voice Heard

The Life Asks™ Digital Pop-Up is ever evolving and has a 3-month run at THEMUSEUM.  It combines low tech and high tech. There are compelling video interviews with members of the millennial generation showcasing their insights, dreams and real experiences. One section is dedicated to inspiring quotes from local thought leaders and sponsors of the Pop-Up, including the Accelerator Centre.  Visitors can capture their own micro stories related to their lives, insights, and dreams through a curated digital experience using text and video recording. The recording pod allows them to record their answers to 3 disruptive questions – one relating directly to their engagement with the Model Citizen exhibition as a whole.

Another exciting feature is a Wishing Wall for community members of all ages and backgrounds to write their answers to key questions, such as “What One Good would you like to DO or SEE happen in your community?” More than 300 answers are currently displayed on colourful hand-written cards and more keep going up every day.

What’s Life?’s goal is to capture content across platforms that will showcase our community, what people love about it, and how we want to improve it, together. It provides an opportunity to interact digitally as well as socially, together with friends and family, thus creating important linkages between real world and digital interactions. Dave Marmen adds, “These are important conversations that we want to help facilitate in the KW region to make a difference in the way we live, do business, launch innovative projects and interact together in the community. We are excited THEMUSEUM has chosen us as a digital partner to engage the community this way.”

The Accelerator Centre Will Welcome Minister Bardish Chagger to the AC to Celebrate Local Startups and Announce Cohort 7 of the AC JumpStart Program

Media Release

November 7, 2017

To Celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Accelerator Centre will welcome the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, for our annual AC JumpStart signature event, SPARK, on November 14, 2017.

AC JumpStart is an innovative seed funding and mentorship program, funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), aimed at helping technology startups establish and grow their business in southern Ontario. The annual SPARK event highlights some of the brightest entrepreneurial prospects in the Waterloo Region and gives the community early access to these up-and-coming startups.

Companies who have received the AC JumpStart grant within the last year will present their technology in a fair style showcase and will compete for “investment dollars” from the audience. The three startups with the most “investment” will get three minutes to present their startup to the audience. The top startup will take home a cash prize provided by our AC JumpStart sponsor, Gowling WLG.

“We are excited to showcase some of Waterloo’s top up and coming technology companies. Through our partnership with FedDev Ontario, we are helping accelerate businesses through providing essential early stage financing, in addition to the Accelerator Centre’s renowned mentoring program. As a result, Waterloo startups are building better products faster, getting sales traction, and developing a solid foundation to aid them through growth to scale because of this program.” – Clinton Ball, Director of Client Program and Initiatives

SPARK is open to the public and members of the community and local media are welcome.

Please visit our website for more detail or to register to attend.

For more information contact:

Tabatha Laverty
Community Manager


Bringing Clarity to Cybersecurity for Small and Medium Enterprises

In today’s hyperconnected world, running a business is more difficult than ever. In addition to traditional challenges, we now have to contend with cybersecurity threats to sensitive data such as customer information and company intellectual property. Any compromise of this data could close a business down. Every day, the media features many stories of individuals and companies who have been hacked or otherwise compromised.  There are existing cybersecurity options available, but they are generally out of reach for SMEs due to cost and complexity.

“The timing is really good. People are more aware and want to know more. There is a general awareness of the risks while operating a business in today’s digital landscape, and more people are open and interested in protecting themselves.”

-Kathryn Vandenberg

zabu is a cybersecurity company building user-focused tools for small to medium sized companies.  They are developing an easy to understand automated assessment which takes human and technology factors into account to create a composite cyberrisk score, similar to a credit score.  This score empowers executives to visualize, understand, and reduce their company’s cyberrisk exposure, making cybersecurity accessible and relevant to everyone.

“The Accelerator Centre has helped us form a strong foundation for our business.  The expertise, perspective and support from our mentors and from the program itself have allowed us to achieve far more than we could have on our own, especially in this short period of time.”

Kathryn Vandenberg

zabu co-founders Kathryn and Derek not only had complementary business skillsets, they also had a passion for simplifying complex issues such as cyberrisk exposure and helping people make better decisions. They recognized that small and medium businesses were not being served by the existing costly and complex cybersecurity tools, and created zabu to focus specifically on that market.

What’s next

zabu is continuing to develop the product and looking forward to launching a closed field test in January of 2018, and is still accepting companies that would like to participate.

“We are passionate about providing clarity and empowering business owners to take control of their cybersecurity.”

– Derek Wong

Learn more about the Accelerator Centre and Phase One of the Accelerator Program on our website.