Reflection Beyond Conferences: Elevating Canada’s Incubators with the Power of Collaboration

Reflection Beyond Conferences: Elevating Canada’s Incubators with the Power of Collaboration


Amid the profound societal changes catalyzed by advancements in AI, human-machine augmentation, and cybersecurity, a significant yet under-discussed trend has emerged. This crucial trend emphasizes the importance of authentic human connections and collaborative efforts within the relationships between the incubator, founder, and ecosystem.

Innovation and collaboration are vital drivers in today’s startup scene. Recent events have highlighted the relationship between incubators, founders, and the broader ecosystem. In our first blog in this series, Camila will explore themes such as changing demographics, collaboration, and culture.


Changing Demographics and Global Outlook


Entrepreneurship isn’t just for the young and academic; it’s a global and diverse movement.

Entrepreneurship is not solely for the young and academic; it’s a global and diverse movement.

One key insight shared by successful incubators is the evolving demographics of entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, only 30% of startups now originate from universities. Instead, most entrepreneurs (averaging 37 years old) bring valuable experience and capital, reshaping the startup landscape.

Universities, colleges, and professionals are essential to target when promoting incubators’ services. The days of only students being risk-takers are long gone!

The Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (“ICPK”) not only nurtures entrepreneurs from Trent University and Fleming College but also supports them regionally and globally through different programs: the Regional Incubation Program and the International STARTup Visa Program. Out of the current 100 clients, ICPK ensures diversity and inclusion in demographics such as age, culture, background, and expertise. The incubator has more than 45 clients with a Ph.D. as the highest level of education; other clients include parents who have worked on their side hustle for over three years and individuals from science, manufacturing backgrounds, or trades. ICPK has clients from Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and more, maintaining a robust, diverse, and inclusive client portfolio that inspires various generations and cultures.

Our mission as incubators is clear: we must break down barriers for local entrepreneurs and open their eyes to both local and global opportunities. Often, Canadian markets move at a slower pace compared to their U.S. counterparts. Therefore, our responsibility is to nurture a global mindset from day one, empowering them to seize opportunities beyond borders. With the STARTup Visa Program, for example, ICPK supports clients landing in any province in Canada, allowing them to be where their business will be most successful. However, most STARTup Visa clients prefer to establish themselves close to the Cluster, feeling supported where they can network and hit the ground running with the right mentors. They have also established a strong relationship with ICPK and its ecosystem after at least a year of working with them, using Community Futures Peterborough, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, and RBC, among others, to set up their business here while keeping international markets in mind.

A global outlook is critical for long-term success in today’s interconnected world. Startups must adopt this perspective from their inception to thrive on the international stage. #SupportLocal is just one part of the equation. Most of ICPK’s regional clients in Peterborough have ideas to expand in the U.S. in the medium term, knowing that the U.S. tends to support business faster than Canada.


Key Insights

  • The demographics of entrepreneurs are shifting. Universities no longer dominate the startup scene; experienced professionals are stepping in.
  • Surprisingly, only 30% of startups now come from universities. Instead, most entrepreneurs, averaging 37 years old, bring valuable experience and capital.


ICPK’s Inclusive Approach:

  • Diverse Client Portfolio: Entrepreneurs from universities, various professional backgrounds, and global locations.
  • Emphasis on Global Opportunities: Encouraging a global mindset for long-term success.


Mission for incubators:

Break down barriers for local entrepreneurs and foster a global mindset from day one.

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