Big City Incubators vs Innovation Cluster’s Startup Incubator: Which is Better for Your Startup?

Big City Incubators vs Innovation Cluster’s Startup Incubator: Which is Better for Your Startup?

Are you an entrepreneur looking for a way to take your business to the next level? Have you dreaded the idea of having to find a midpoint between investing enough in your work and at the same time not forfeiting quality time with family, friends and leisure activities? If the struggle of balancing professional and personal life sounds familiar, know that mentors in the Innovation Cluster startup incubator programs support and guide entrepreneurs in achieving this balance. Here, we will discuss what advantages are on offer when joining a startup incubator in a smaller city.

The Benefits of Launching and Growing a Startup at the Innovation Cluster


Strong Ties to the Local Community

Startup incubators are in smaller cities often have direct ties with the local community, which can be a valuable asset for entrepreneurs looking to establish their businesses. These ties can help entrepreneurs to build connections and gain support from local leaders, businesses, and citizens. Additionally, these incubators often partner with other organizations such as government agencies, non-profits, and educational institutions, to provide entrepreneurs with access to resources and expertise that they might not otherwise have access to. This can be a key factor in the success of businesses, as it allows entrepreneurs to leverage the strengths of these organizations to help them grow and thrive.

Lower cost of living

One of the significant advantages of selecting a smaller city for business incubation is the low cost of living. Compared to larger cities, rural areas tend to have lower prices for housing and other necessary services such as groceries and utilities. This can help startup entrepreneurs save money, allowing them to focus on building a minimum viable product instead of worrying about extravagant overhead costs. Due to the lower prices in rural areas, startups will also benefit from a variety of other ways, such as access to more affordable suppliers and an overall better quality of life.

Focus on product development without the distractions of city life

A small town startup incubator can provide an environment for product development where you can maximize your work-life balance without the distractions of city life. The incubator can give access to critical resources such as fast internet, business mentors, networking, and experienced investors. Additionally, it can offer a supportive atmosphere with low overhead costs, less stress, and fewer distractions that could impede productivity. Working in a rural area means access to wide open spaces, quiet environments, and abundant natural resources with many health benefits. All these factors combined create the perfect work environment to focus on refining product solutions and developing new ideas without the chaos of an urban setting.

Where is Peterborough and the Kawarthas?

Located in Central Ontario, Canada, Peterborough and the Kawarthas is one of the fastest-growing destinations for entrepreneurs looking for natural beauty and creative ideas to inspire their businesses. With access to professional services, financial incentives, and top-tier talent from nearby Trent University and Fleming College, this area is designed for startups to grow and scale. Plus, with all the lakes, rivers, and hills throughout the region, it’s excellent for those who want a break from the hustle and bustle of big city life.  Peterborough and the Kawarthas has become the top choice for founders seeking a work-life balance, natural beauty, top-tier resources and talent, and an exciting startup culture.

The Benefits of Building Your Startup in Peterborough and the Kawarthas



Entrepreneurs living in Peterborough and the Kawarthas have access to a beautiful natural environment that allows them to find their ideal work environment, with plenty of places nearby to clear their heads, find inspiration, and work out their ideas. 

Peterborough and the Kawarthas is a beautiful area surrounded by pristine lakes, forests, and trails. It also offers easy access to outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, hiking, and swimming. Imagine bringing your laptop to the lake for beautiful scenery while working on your next pitch deck. For entrepreneurs in this region, nature becomes an integral part of their workday as they embrace and explore both their physical and digital worlds.

Work-Life Balance                                                    

Living in Peterborough and the Kawarthas offers a slower pace of life compared to larger urban areas. The region is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, which allow residents to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. The smaller cities and towns in the area offer a more laid-back atmosphere and a sense of community that is often missing in larger cities. 

The slower pace of life in the region also means that there is a more relaxed attitude towards work-life balance, allowing residents to enjoy a better balance of work and leisure time. The community is connected and friendly, people are more willing to help each other and the atmosphere is less competitive compare to big cities. This can be particularly beneficial for entrepreneurs and business owners, as it can help reduce stress and improve overall mental health and well-being.


Peterborough and the Kawarthas offer a unique lifestyle for entrepreneurs, with small-town charm and big city amenities, as well as a safe and secure community. The region is known for its low crime rate, which provides peace of mind for business owners and employees alike and can lead to increased productivity and a more positive work environment. Additionally, the low crime rate can also attract top talent to the area, as many people prioritize safety when looking for job opportunities. 

The area offers a variety of activities to participate in, from artisan workshops to wellness experiences and excellent shopping and dining options to lively arts and culture experiences. This combination of small-town charm, big city amenities and safety make it an attractive option for entrepreneurs looking to establish or expand their business in a welcoming community.


Peterborough and the Kawarthas offer entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to be part of close-knit and welcoming communities that are driven by a spirit of collaboration and volunteering. The community feel that comes from small-town living allows people to feel connected in a way that isn’t possible in many big cities, and there are plenty of opportunities for individuals to get involved through local organizations or events. 

Additionally, this region has a robust support system among neighbors, businesses, and local organizations that provide countless resources for individuals and families. From childcare options to employment opportunities to mental health resources, ample help is available for anyone who needs it. This strong support network helps foster a sense of connectedness within the community, allowing people to come together in times of need or difficulty, making it easy to feel like you belong here when everyone is there to lend a helping hand.

Raising a Family                                         

Peterborough and the Kawarthas provide a great environment for families with a variety of family-friendly activities to participate in year-round and quality education systems. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures like kayaking, canoeing, and tubing on the numerous lakes, rivers and trails, as well as more leisurely pursuits like exploring local museums or enjoying one of the many festivals that occur throughout the year. One benefit of raising a family in the Peterborough and Kawarthas area is the availability of a wide range of sports teams for children to participate in. This allows children to stay active, develop skills and make friends in a supportive and fun environment.

The Innovation Cluster – An Unbeatable Work-Life Balance for Entrepreneurs in Peterborough and the Kawarthas

The Innovation Cluster in Peterborough and the Kawarthas has many advantages for entrepreneurs and an unbeatable work-life balance. You can focus on product development without the distractions of city life. At the same time, you’ll be able to enjoy nature, create a lifestyle of your choosing, join a community that feels like family, and raise any future children in an environment conducive to growth. Whether you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle or want to become part of something bigger than yourself — this is where work and life are made better. 

So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on the chance to develop your business while taking advantage of all our region has to offer. Consider applying to one of our innovative startup programs – the Startup Incubator, the Student Visa Canada Program, and Fast Start for Student Entrepreneurs – and take the first step towards turning your entrepreneurial dreams into reality. It could be just what you were looking for to achieve optimal work-life balance while growing your startup!

5 Reasons Why You Should Get Involved With FastStart!

5 Reasons Why You Should Get Involved With FastStart!

FastStart is a program designed to increase entrepreneurship skills, awareness and help innovative, young entrepreneurs create solid business plans that take their products and services to market – quickly and successfully. So how does FastStart help young entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality? We’ve taken the top 5 reasons FastStart is best at helping young entrepreneurs succeed.

1. Knowledgeable Staff and Valuable Partnerships – FastStart is powered by knowledgeable members of the Innovation Cluster, Fleming College and Trent University, who have years of experience in business, entrepreneurship, technology and more! Joining FastStart allows any entrepreneur to create personal connections with business leaders and mentors in Peterborough and the Kawarthas and beyond.

2. An Inclusive and Motivational Community – The mission of FastStart is to allow entrepreneurs to have an inclusive community that helps them every step of the way in building a business. Often, young entrepreneurs that are starting out with only a business idea struggle with finding resources and know-how. FastStart uses its partnerships, incubation space, events, workshops and more to give youth every opportunity to make their business ideas reality. FastStart provides a safe, inclusive space for entrepreneurs to work with like minded individuals to achieve their dreams in any sector.

3. FREE Resources – We may argue that the best part about joining FastStart is that everything is FREE, so there’s really no reason any youth entrepreneur in Peterborough and the Kawarthas should feel without help in their business. Our resources include. . .


4. See First-Hand Local Businesses FastStart Has Helped Build – FastStart has been helping youth entrepreneurs for years to learn about owning their own business and how to build one from a business plan to taking it to market. Here are a few entrepreneurs that are currently operating their dream startup!

Lindsay Brock – Amusé Coffee Co.
After 15 years of serving coffee and tea, working locally at both Starbucks and David’s Tea, Lindsay Brock decided it was time to open her own café. After a trip to Paris and experiencing the location’s café charm, she wanted to bring the same experience to Peterborough. Amusé Coffee Co. opened on George St. in Peterborough in 2015, where Brock is still located today. Through the help of FastStart, Lindsay is now serving Fair Trade Organic whole bean coffee, premium loose tea, and a range of baked goods and brunch options with a French-feel.

Alex Gastle – Vetterview
Alex Gastle joined FastStart after entering its program Slingshot and winning the program’s final pitch competition for his company, Vetterview. Vetterview is a platform that connects social media influencers and micro-influencers directly with brands looking to leverage influencer marketing through paid collaborations. Alex Gastle came up with the Vetterview idea while living in London, England, observing that brands could better connect with the world around them. Over countless cups of tea, a flight to Toronto and extensive research into social media endorsement, the Vetterview model came to life. Alex Gastle then came back to Peterborough, and with the help of FastStart, further grew his company, obtained a cash prize and is continuing to operate Vetterview full-time!

Jessica Dalliday – Healthy Sweet Potato
Jessica Dalliday currently lives in Kawartha Lakes and is a very busy entrepreneur, running a full-time blog, athletic therapy services, being an influencer and teaching pilates! Jessica always knew health and fitness would be a big influence in her life, which is why she pursued Kinesiology in school and went on to personal training and athletic therapy in Toronto. Recently, Jessica has moved to the Kawartha Lakes area and joined FastStart to continue her entrepreneurial path in a new area, and is now more busy than ever! Through FastStart, Jessica was able to network in the Peterborough business community and make lasting connections for her career.

5. Make Your Dreams A Reality – FastStart provides a safe, inclusive space for entrepreneurs to work with like minded individuals to achieve their dreams in any sector. Head to our FastStart page HERE for everything you need to know about the programming, upcoming events or workshops and sign up for our monthly newsletter below to stay up-to-date on everything youth entrepreneurship!

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