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Dalhousie bolsters regional entrepreneurship with launch of Creative Destruction Lab (CDL)‑Atlantic
Halifax - Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business is partnering with University of Toronto and other leading national research-intensive universities to expand the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) with the announcement of CDL-Atlantic.
CDL, based out of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, has recently emerged as the leading accelerator program in Canada. The CDL provides promising technology-based startups with access to highly accomplished entrepreneurs and angel investors through an nine-month, milestone-based mentoring program.
As part of the program, MBA students can take a CDL course on technology driven high growth company creation and have an opportunity to work with the participating startups and mentors. “CDL-Atlantic will allow our students at the Rowe School of Business to gain valuable knowledge and real-world experience with innovation-driven companies, and to see the business judgement and leadership of top entrepreneurs and mentors,” said Sylvain Charlebois, Dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie.
CDL attracts the highest calibre of Canadian business leaders as mentors, including founders of WIND Mobile™, Workbrain, Kik and Kobo™ as well as companies sold to Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and Salesforce. CDL has proven to be incredibly effective in helping young companies to strengthen and expand their ventures through exposure to expert guidance and pivotal investment opportunities.
Since the launch of the CDL in 2012, CDL companies have created over $1 billion in equity-value, far exceeding the program’s initial target of $50 million. The CDL’s impressive results have attracted cutting-edge startups from across Canada, the United States, Israel and Europe.
“There is a rising tide of innovation in Atlantic Canada driven by our strengths and partnership with the world’s best,” said Dalhousie President Richard Florizone.
Halifax-based Volta Labs CEO Jesse Rodgers, who was the founding director of the Rotman CDL program who will now serve as a regional leader in CDL-Atlantic, says Dalhousie is a natural partner on the program. “Dalhousie is the top research school in Atlantic Canada, and add in the massive investments into oceans research happening here, it makes so much sense,” he said. “The timing is right and the location is right.”
Mark Hobbs, a Dalhousie alumnus is co-founder of Fundmetric, a data-driven fundraising startup currently finishing up the Rotman program. He says the program will be incredibly valuable to regional startups. “This is phenomenal for Atlantic Canadian companies to receive this type of advice. It develops a new dimension to the ecosystem in terms of the mentor network. Every single company should want this challenge and embrace the challenge that CDL gives them because it makes every one of us stronger.”
Serial entrepreneur Jevon MacDonald, who has served as a Fellow for the Rotman program and built companies in Toronto, Austin, Silicon Valley and Halifax, says he is thrilled to be a part of CDL-Atlantic. Jevon has helped catalyze the startup ecosystem in the region, co-founding Volta Labs, investing in and mentoring local entrepreneurs and supporting key initiatives in schools. “I’m passionate about building our startup community in Atlantic Canada which is greatly out-performing on a per capita basis,” he says. “This new partnership is an exciting step towards showing the world what we have to offer, namely, the talent and ambition to build global scale technology companies.”
John Risley, who has built globally competitive companies in the seafood and telecommunications industries and has invested in numerous startups, will also be a Fellow for CDL-Atlantic. “CDL-Atlantic can leverage research strengths in the region such Dalhousie’s world-leading ocean research, as well as strengths in clean energy, water and technology exemplified by Jeff Dahn’s ground-breaking research partnership with Tesla,” says Risley. “There is real momentum building, and CDL-Atlantic can help translate this research into social and economic impact for Canada.”
As CDL continues to grow, the time is now for the program to expand into Atlantic Canada, and Dalhousie University has been tapped to host this initiative beginning January 2018. By leveraging Dalhousie’s Rowe School of Business and capitalizing on Dalhousie’s world-class research expertise in “Blue-Green” technologies, including ocean technology, clean technology, environmental technology and agri-food and bioproducts, this partnership will further differentiate CDL’s portfolio of technology-based start-ups under the establishment of a CDL-Atlantic at Dalhousie, with both a general stream and a unique “Blue-Green” technology stream.
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Director of Communications & Public Relations, Dalhousie University
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