A not-for-profit that helps tech entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada got a $2.2 million funding boost over the next three years from the federal government Thursday at UPEI.

ACOA will give the money to Propel, an organization that helps early-stage technology entrepreneurs in the region identify whether their product idea is good, then assists with developing plans for marketing and sales.

The goal is to keep innovative entrepreneurs and their ideas in Atlantic Canada.

“By the time they finish with us they have what we call a repeatable and scalable sales process — they’ve figured out how they’re going to bring this great solution to the marketplace and grow a large successful technology company,” said Propel CEO Barry Bisson.

“They become much more attractive to investors.” 

‘A path forward’

The money will help the group offer mentoring and training, and strengthen connections with post-secondary schools in the region through things like workshops, Bisson said. 

“I think what happens, many of these students get started in university, and then they graduate and leave the region and pursue other opportunities,” he said.

Propel wants business students to know they can come to Propel with their great ideas and develop it after graduation.

“We want to be a path forward for them,” he said. “They are unaware that there are these support mechanisms in the region that can help them grow a business here and stay here.”

He said some of the money will also be used to strengthen partnerships with local community entrepreneurship incubators like Charlottetown’s Startup Zone.

Propel said it works with startups in many industries including education, health care, energy, shipping, agriculture, real estate, entertainment and more.

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The money will come to Propel through what ACOA calls a contribution agreement, which will provide reimbursement of program expenses up to $2.2 million until March 2022.

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