As the entrepreneurial spirit flourishes across Atlantic Canada, the city of Fredericton continues to work hard at cultivating a start-up ecosystem that builds on the city’s early successes in key areas like biosciences, ICT and data security.
Most communities that want to grow their start-up ecosystems rely on regional and provincial services to help. By contrast, the city of Fredericton’s economic development agency Ignite Fredericton has invested significantly in its Planet Hatch accelerator to provide a high level of infrastructure to its business start-up community.
Ignite and Planet Hatch have worked with the other key resources in Fredericton to create a true start-up ecosystem that is paying big dividends.
Laurie Guthrie, economic development and marketing specialist at Ignite Fredericton,says that while this investment is paying off for Fredericton, they continue to get asked why they focus on small start up companies.
“Thanks to our tracking we’re able to substantively say that these investments resulted in 17 new homes, and 48,000 movies and 120 new vehicles purchased in our community. That’s when people get it and have that aha moment that this is important for everyone.”
And while the focus on the start-up ecosystem is helping to drive Fredericton’s economy, Guthrie says the real intent of their programs is to propel the provincial and regional economy forward.
“Our programs are open to anyone who wants to use them,” says Guthrie. “I think we need
to build on that – growing the strength of what we have rather than spending money trying to duplicate it in every community.”
As a result, many companies and individuals from across the province (including new Canadian immigrants) continue to learn and grow thanks to Planet Hatch’s programs and services.
It’s for all these reasons Fredericton was named Canada’s Startup Community in 2016. Despite this success Guthrie says they won’t be resting on their laurels.
“We’re going to work hard to improve our services with what we’re calling Planet Hatch
2.0,” says Guthrie. “We’ll bring in new partners, continue to focus on international
student retention and we’ll continue to focus on creating a culture of entrepreneurship
with our students.”