Calgary’s District Ventures Accelerator is investing $3 million into 20 innovative Canadian startups in the food and health sector that are on their way to becoming globally respected brands.
Canada’s first accelerator solely focused on consumer packaged good (CPG) companies and entrepreneurs announced the new investment with support from District Ventures Capital. The venture fund and accelerator were both established by Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson.
“I’m extraordinarily excited about the growth and expansion of District Ventures Accelerator as an ecosystem for entrepreneurs,” Dickinson said. “This investment builds on our position as one of the top accelerator programs for early-stage CPG businesses in North America.”
The selected early-stage companies will dive into an intensive five-month program and receive a $130,000 cash investment in exchange for a minority equity stake. Ten companies will begin the accelerator program in January 2018, with the second cohort of ten starting in July 2018.
In the program, the founders of food, beverage and health companies will work to scale their business and increase brand equity, distribution, sales and ultimately their valuation.
“This investment shows more than our commitment to Canadian entrepreneurs. It represents our commitment to growing entrepreneurialism in Canada and to diversifying our economy by leveraging our country’s expertise in health and agriculture,” said Dickinson.
She sees the new model boosting demand to what District Ventures cites as one of the country’s most competitive accelerator applications.
“We receive thousands of applications, and have accepted just 47 to date. I expect that the opportunity for entrepreneurs to obtain early investment alongside growth programming will definitely increase demand,” said Dickinson.
District Ventures models its accelerator’s investment structure after Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator, a prestigious incubator that’s spun out Airbnb and Dropbox. As such, the Calgary accelerator gives founders a chance to pitch investors for follow-on funding after the program wraps up.
Entrepreneurs can apply online to District Ventures Accelerator until December 8.