The Accelerator Centre is a key feature of the R+T Park. The Accelerator Centre encourages the growth of high-tech firms and act as a catalyst for the creation of new products and services. It provides a fertile environment to commercialize the innovative work done in universities and colleges, hospitals and laboratories, and in private sector research facilities. The Accelerator Centre provides a broad range of services including IP management consultation, mentoring, access to professional service providers, community networking events and investor matchmaking with innovators. Common services, including office and meeting space, administrative services etc are available to clients, who are encouraged to commercialize their ideas and ultimately lease space in other areas of the Research Park.
In 1999, the Economist magazine noted that "America gets most than half of its economic growth from industries that barely existed a decade ago." Knowledge and innovation rather than natural resources are the driving force for economic growth. Therefore, for Canada to excel in this knowledge economy, we must do more to nurture the growth of technology start ups into global enterprises. We must help link Canada’s start-ups with business coaching, venture capital and the competitive intelligence they need to become successful. Also, dynamism is needed in transferring technology to industry from universities.
The Accelerator Centre, a facility of approximately 21,000 square feet strategically located in the R+T Park, has a strategic role to play in this process. It goes beyond simply providing office space; it provides entrepreneurs and new companies with access to coaching, mentoring, professional management advice, and even services, such as accounting, IP management, high-speed internet access and vital business networks. Waterloo’s research program generates hundreds of technology innovations with potential commercial value. To maximize the economic return to the community, the Accelerator Centre systematically evaluates the innovations, protect the intellectual property, help form companies from the most promising technologies, and license other innovations to established companies.
Studies by National Research Council have proved that such facilities are gaining a new role as they are proving to be effective in promoting cluster development by being focal points through which cluster proponents can launch business and scientific networks, coordinate the development of the innovation infrastructure and, ultimately, attract new resources to the selected region.
This remarkable Centre is the result of the partnership formed for this project, with the capital funding being provided by the Region of Waterloo, Province of Ontario, and Government of Canada. The operation of the Accelerator Centre is undertaken by a special purpose, not-for-profit Corporation.