When it comes to attracting international startups to Manitoba, North Forge saw an opportunity that had the potential to benefit numerous stakeholders and the province as a whole.
The North Forge International Startup Program was initiated by North Forge President, Teresa Dukes, to attract international startups to complement the local innovation ecosystem, expand the startup network within Manitoba and impact the global innovation system. North Forge East President, Shane Li has been working diligently to build the program into something truly unique.
The International Startup Program aims to support world-class technology startups as they build, settle and accelerate their business in Manitoba and is designed to help eligible international companies hit the ground running as they enter the North American market. Interested parties with an aggressively growing customer base and realized revenue in their home country can apply to the program through the North Forge website. Once the application has been received, a committee will assess the applicant based on the feasibility of the business, historical performance and quality of the project. Applicants selected for the program are done so with the desired outcome of helping them successfully land and expand their business within Manitoba.
The total length of the International Startup Program is six months. Participants are provided resources such as a personal business advisor, a mentor advisory group, legal and tax advice, market intelligence, investor networking and educational workshops – all to help them establish a business presence within Manitoba. “The goal of the program is to attract world-class entrepreneurs and startups to set-up up their business in Manitoba and use our province as a launching pad to expand into North America,” says Li. “Not only is this program beneficial to international startups, but it also has a positive impact on the North Forge community. By attracting international startups to our province, we are creating more jobs for the local economy and enhancing the local innovation ecosystem.”
In October, Shane hosted a leading venture capital and accelerator from China in Winnipeg. They explored the many opportunities available to help their startups expand business into Canada and ways to invest in Canadian business.