Accelerator A2X Project Overview

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Two Countries. One Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

The launching pad for


into the US market.

Two Countries. One Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.



in regional economic impact over 5 years



500 JOBS

created by our members over 5 years

The Accelerator:

Launching Canadian Startups into the US Market

Located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator (the Accelerator) is uniquely positioned to help businesses launch into the US market because of its proximity to the world’s busiest border and relationships with Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founded in 2011, the Accelerator is Windsor’s first not-for-profit business incubator/accelerator. With more than 30 current members and 16 graduates, the Accelerator is an engine of economic creation. Over the past five years, the Accelerator has contributed an economic impact of more than $10 million to the regional economy and has helped create more than 500 jobs. The A2X Project is the next phase of our growth, creating Canada’s flagship cross-border entrepreneurial collaborative between Canada and the US. The A2X Project will offer Canadian startups, looking to expand into the US market, with specialized support through cross-border business programs and entrepreneurial advancement. It will offer US start-ups their first opportunity to go global by establishing a footprint in Canada, and connecting them to trade opportunities with the Commonwealth, Europe and Asia.

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The Vision The A2X Project: Two Countries, One Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Windsor-Detroit is the node that connects Ontario’s Innovation Corridor, the high growth technology and innovation ecosystem, with the United States, the largest consumer market in the world*. The A2X Project represents the most unique crossborder entrepreneurial collaboration ever created between Canada and the United States. Through the A2X Project, we will create a launching pad for Canadian high-growth technology and innovation startups to enter the US market. At the same time, we will develop the landing pad for US startups that wish to enter the Canadian market and establish an international presence. Our goal is to make the region a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity and a magnet for world-class entrepreneurial talent. Investing in the A2X Project will increase Ontario’s competitiveness on the global stage and position our province at the forefront of entrepreneurial innovation.


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Bordering on Greatness The Windsor-Detroit Connection: Bridging Cross-Border Entrepreneurship The history of cross-border commerce between Windsor and Detroit long pre-dates current free trade agreements with the Reciprocity Treaty dating back to 1854. This blossomed into thriving cross-border industries such as pharmaceuticals, food production, distilleries and, ultimately, the automotive industry. From bootlegging to the revolution of the auto industry, Windsor and Detroit share a rich entrepreneurial history and both cities are using entrepreneurship as a driver for recreating their placeas two of the leading cities in North America.

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. —Henry Ford







Over the past 10 years, Detroit has focused on implementing a model of entrepreneurship-focused economic development and the results have been incredible. According to new studies by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, since 2009, investments by the New Economy Initiative (NEI) in organizations supporting entrepreneurs have helped launch 1,700 companies (40 percent of which are minority-owned, twice the national average) and created 17,500 jobs (many in high-tech sectors)*. This has boosted output in the regional economy by nearly $3 billion USD by 2016.


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A crucial part of Detroit’s strategy has been investment in business incubators and accelerators in order to transform the city into a hub of innovation where entrepreneurs both work and live. The A2X Project brings that strategy to Windsor-Essex. METRO-DETROIT BUSINESS INCUBATORS 1. Spark

Ann Arbor, MI

2. Automation Alley Troy, MI

6. Macomb-OU INCubator Velocity Collaboration Center Sterling Heights, MI

7. OU-Inc

3. Build Institute Detroit, MI

4. Detroit Creative Corridor Center Detroit, MI

5. Green Garage Detroit Detroit, MI

Rochester Hills, MI


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8. TechArb Student Venture Accelerator Ann Arbor, MI

9. Tech Brewery Ann Arbor, MI




10. TechTown Detroit Detroit, MI



University of Windsor

12. Genesis Entrepreneurship & Innovation Centre St. Clair College

*Detroit News

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A Foundation for Success

In its first five years, the Accelerator has become the entrepreneurial hub of the region. Each year the impact of the Accelerator has grown exponentially and within our ecosystem we have developed the expertise to help startups in all facets required to accelerate their business. The expert services available at the Accelerator startups include: • Accounting • Angel Funding • Branding and Graphic Design • Legal • Marketing • Mentorship • Programming in multiple languages and platforms • Sales • Website Development


The Bedrock of the Future

1.7 million Canadian Employer Businesses (2015)

Small Business 1.14 million

Medium to Large Business 560,000

As of December 2015, the Canadian economy totalled 1.17 million employer businesses. Of these, 1.14 million (97.9 percent) were small businesses. These businesses also employ more than 8 million individuals in Canada, 70% of the total labour force.* Of small businesses, startups in particular have a huge impact with the TorontoWaterloo corridor, creating nearly 280,000 tech jobs. The Waterloo Region alone boasts nearly 1,000 companies which contribute more than $30 billion annually to the global economy.* A2X will provide these startups within Ontario’s Innovation Corridor a launching pad into the US market. Our focus on innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses will help drive Ontario’s hightech, low-carbon economy.

1.14 million

2015 Canadian Labour Force

Small Business 8 million

Medium to Large Business 3.4 million

*The Globe and Mail

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The Future

Creating Global Success

Taking advantage of the synergies provided by the geographic connection and entrepreneurial history that are shared by Windsor-Detroit is a key component of the A2X Project. Due to this unique relationship, every dollar invested in this project will have an exponential impact. The expertise in programs and services we have developed over the past five years provide the foundation for the next phase of the Accelerator: The A2X Project. The A2X Project will provide Canadian startups with an unprecedented opportunity to enter the US market and act as a landing pad for American companies who wish to enter the Canadian market. The A2X Project is the next generation of programs and services provided by the Accelerator. Built around 8 core modules – four modules focused on accelerating the business and four modules focused on developing the entrepreneur. This project will redefine the Canadian-US entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Connecting Cross-Border Business Growth with Entrepreneurial Advancement. Refer to page 14 for details.

Business Growth

Canada – US Angel Funding

Entrepreneurial Advancement

Silicon Valley Bootstrappers Breakfast

International Legal Services

Cross-Border Mentorship Programs


Cross-Border Accelerator Space-Sharing

Ambassador App

Annual International Entrepreneurship Summit

Windsor-Detroit Women Accelerate Events

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Accelerating Businesses 1. Canada – US Angel Funding ith strong connections to funding sources in the US and Canada, the W Accelerator is well positioned to connect startups with cross-border funding opportunities. Windsor-Essex Capital Angel Network (WECAN), located in the Accelerator, has developed relationships with a number of US based angel groups including, BlueWater Angels, Great Lakes Angels, and the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

2. International Legal Services The Accelerator has partnered with firms on both sides of the border to provide legal support and guidance, such as Clausehound—specializing in providing affordable legal contracts including IP transfer agreements, articles of incorporation and non-disclosure agreements—and Fraser Clemens Martin & Miller LLC—an American firm specializing in intellectual property and technology law, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

3. Cross-Border Accelerator Space Sharing Program The Accelerator is working on MOUs with a number of business incubators/accelerators in Michigan, where members from the Accelerator would have access to their spaces, programs, and services and the Accelerator doing likewise for our US counterparts. TechTown Detroit, Bamboo and Grand Circus are examples of the incubators and accelerators we are collaborating with.

4. Annual International Border Entrepreneurship (AIBE) Summit The AIBE Summit will be an annual international entrepreneurship conference co-hosted by Windsor and Detroit. The summit will bring together entrepreneurs, angel and venture capital firms, and entrepreneurial support organizations such as Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Canada-United States Business Association (CUSBA) for the first time in one place.

Developing Entrepreneurs 5. Silicon Valley Bootstrappers Breakfast The Accelerator is the first organization outside of the US to be granted the rights to have a Bootstrappers chapter in North America. The Bootstrappers Breakfast was started ten years ago in Silicon Valley and has grown to include a presence in major US cities, providing our members with access to an incredible network across the United States.

6. Cross-Border Mentoring Utilizing the broad network of connections that we have built over the past 5 years, we will connect entrepreneurs with the right mentors—on both sides of the border—to ensure the success of their business. The Accelerator mentors are lead by The Coalition 12 for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Mentors for Entrepreneurial Success who are the foremost entrepreneurs and business minds in the region.

7. Ambassador App The Ambassador App is a social networking app specifically designed to connect entrepreneurs in Windsor-Detroit. The goal is to encourage them to build a genuine community of entrepreneurs that have a passion for creating authentic change. The App will help entrepreneurs connect, share and create.

8. Windsor-Detroit Women Accelerate (WWDA) Events Windsor-Detroit Women Accelerate provides a voice for entrepreneurial women in the region who are passionate about accelerating their businesses, supporting fellow entrepreneurs, and giving back to their community in a sustainable way. This initiative started 3 years ago, focusing on Windsor-Essex, and we have expanded to Detroit with our most recent speaker, Tanya Allen, President of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) of Greater Detroit.

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The Members

Entrepreneurs with Passion The companies at the Accelerator span a variety of industries, making a unique culturehas of collaboration In its first five years,it the Accelerator become and inclusion. the entrepreneurial hub of the region and is ready to expand to the international stage Ranging from app development to social enterprise, they share desire creating a brighter future not A2X will beathe firstfor incubator/accelerator in Canada only for themselves, but for our region as a whole. to create an ecosystem that provides a platform for collaboration and rapid expansion into the US market. With more than $10 million combined economic impact since 2014 alone, the Accelerator’s next phase looks to bridge our local successes with international US markets. Current and Alumni Members


Member Highlights

Powerball is the North American leader in 3D visualization tools for the furniture and interior design industry. Using a multidisciplinary approach that combines expertise in 3D content creation, augmented reality and mobile software development, Powerball makes the future of furniture sales reachable today. Powerball specializes in 3D modelling of furniture products to stunning photo-realistic perfection, creating clean, easy-to-use interfaces for mobile, and developing innovative augmented reality experiences.

Detroit Bikes Canada is the first international office of Detroit Bikes; North America’s largest manufacture of bicycles. Detroit Bikes’ mission is to encourage cycling by making an accessible, enjoyable bicycle while continuing Detroit’s legacy of quality manufacturing and design. Located on Detroit’s west side in a 50,000 square-foot factory, Detroit Bikes has the capacity to produce 100 bicycles a day, marking the return of high-volume US frame manufacturing which, through Windsor, they enter Canada and, in turn, the rest of the world.

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The best way to predict the future is to

CREATE IT. –Peter Drucker

The A2X Project is the most unique cross-border entrepreneurship project in North America. It will change the way Canada and the US collaborate in the entrepreneurial space and will pave the way for the knowledge economy of the future. To become a part of the A2X Project through funding and partnership opportunities, or to learn more about the Accelerator and our goal of making Windsor, Ontario, Canada’s Entrepreneurial Gateway to the US, contact us today. Arthur Barbut, Managing Director 519-564-8456 Christopher Pressey, Board President 519-997-2880 The A2X Project is spearheaded by: Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator 720 Ouellette Avenue Windsor, ON N9A 1C2

Two Countries. One Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

Two Countries. One Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

The A2X Project is spearheaded by: Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator 720 Ouellette Avenue Windsor, ON N9A 1C2