Here’s How the Canadian Government Defines the Difference Between Accelerators and Incubators

Although the terms are often used interchangeable, we’ve noted the differences between incubators and accelerators before.

Today, the Canadian government decided to offer its own definitions during an announcement—and they’re fairly similar to what we’ve generally accepted in the past. This is what how the federal government defines the two different types of organizations:


Typically for-profit organizations owned and operated by venture capital investors, who intend to generate returns from equity-based investments in their client firms. Accelerators provide a range of services to early-stage firms, including financial support, business advice, office and development space and complementary services offered by partner organizations.


Typically not-for-profit organizations that offer similar services to accelerators but tend to provide longer tenure for participating firms and a broader suite of services in terms of physical space and mentorship. Incubators are often sponsored by universities, colleges and economic development corporations.