Creating Atlantic Canada’s Next Entrepreneurial Superstars

September 26, 2017

Creative Destruction Lab coming to Atlantic Canada through Dal partnership

Written by: Matt Reeder, Communications Advisor, Dalhousie University

Dal creative destruction image
Students at the Rowe School of Business are set to gain from Dal's new partnership with the Creative Destruction Lab (File photo: Danny Abriel)


Canada’s top startup accelerator has joined forces with Dalhousie to launch a new branch of the program in Atlantic Canada — one that will help promising ventures transition into high-growth companies.

Dal’s Rowe School of Business will serve as the hub for the Atlantic offshoot of Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a program based at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Like the Toronto program, CDL-Atlantic will provide startups with access to a powerful network of accomplished entrepreneurs and investors through a nine-month, milestone-based mentoring program.

Mentors in the program in the past have included the founders of WIND Mobile, Kik, Kobo, as well as companies that have sold to tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon.

CDL has proven to be incredibly effective in helping young companies strengthen and expand their ventures through exposure to expert guidance and pivotal investment opportunities. Since launching in Toronto in 2012, CDL companies have generated more than $1 billion in equity value. An offshoot launched earlier this year in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia has added to that success.

"We are thrilled to join such a strong network of universities and business schools,” says Sylvain Charlebois, dean of Dal’s Faculty of Management. “Knowledge sharing is so critical to an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Our economy will reap significant benefits from this partnership.”

Halifax-based Volta Labs CEO Jesse Rodgers, who was the founding director of the Rotman CDL program and will now serve as a regional leader in CDL-Atlantic, says Dal is a natural partner on the program.

“It’s the top research school in Atlantic Canada, and throw in the massive investments into oceans research happening there and it makes so much sense,” he says. “It’s seems like the timing is right and the location is right.”

In addition to a general stream, Dalhousie will have a specialty program for ocean, clean and agri-food technology companies.  By collaborating with Dal and other partners in the region such as the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), CDL-Atlantic will help leverage the unique strengths in the region and spur the commercialization of more ocean, clean technology and agriculture research.

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