The Accelerated Growth Service
About the Accelerated Growth Service
The Accelerated Growth Service (AGS) is a Government of Canada initiative that includes the four provincial governments in Atlantic Canada.
The Accelerated Growth Service helps Canadian companies get the help they need to grow their businesses by:
- Bringing the right partners to the table
- Connecting you to the programs and services you need to grow your business
- Helping you develop a plan to grow your business
High growth companies are key drivers of Canada’s economic growth and long-term prosperity. While they represent only approximately 4.1% of Canadian businesses with 10 employees and more, they are responsible for 40% of new jobs created.
In Atlantic Canada, their impact is more significant as they are twice as likely to innovate and to invest in advanced processes and skills development. They also generally export more than the average business.
The goal of the Accelerated Growth Service is to accelerate business growth through a collaborative, client focus service model. This dedicated service results in more Atlantic Canadian companies expanding, becoming more competitive, and creating high paying jobs in our communities.
How it works
The Accelerated Growth Service initiative coordinates government support for high growth companies in areas such as financing, advisory support, export and innovation services.
Each participating company has a dedicated Accelerated Growth Service client lead supported by a team of representatives from each participating government department.
The Accelerated Growth Service team, in partnership with the company, identifies growth challenges and works collaboratively to resolve these challenges. The team can also connect the company to other departments and organizations with programs specific to their needs.
This model saves the companies valuable time, focuses government resources on solving growth challenges expeditiously and allows participating high growth companies to receive assistance tailored to their needs. The Accelerated Growth Service client lead remains connected to the company throughout the implementation of the company’s growth plans – enhancing the opportunity for success at each stage of growth.
Are you eligible?
Does your firm have:
- Annual revenues of more than $5M?
- A capacity and willingness to grow?
- A strong management team?
- A focus on export markets?
- A focus on innovation?
- An ability and willingness to invest time and resources to expand?
By providing essential hands-on support when companies need it most, the Accelerated Growth Service (AGS) helps Canadian companies expand, become more competitive, and create quality jobs in our communities.
AGS makes it easier for business owners by:
- Connecting you to the right services, whether financing, exporting, innovation services and business advice
- Matching you with a dedicated advisor who will invite other partners to the table to:
- meet with you to learn your business needs
- work with you to create a plan for your growth
- connect you with the programs and services that would help you most
- help you implement your plan and access these services
- provide ongoing advice and assistance as your company continues to grow
If you are already working with one of our partners, you can ask them about the Accelerated Growth Service, or you can fill out and submit this form.
Participating government organizations in Atlantic Canada
Our core partners:
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada - Leads the Accelerated Growth Service and provides expertise on investment, innovation and more
- Export Development Canada - Helps Canadian companies export around the world with financing, insurance and bonding services, and foreign market expertise
- Business Development Bank of Canada - Provides financing, investments and advice for entrepreneurs
- National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program and Concierge - Provides funding and innovation services to help Canadian businesses develop technologies and successfully commercialize them
- Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service - Helps Canadian business export or abroad by helping them evaluate market potential, prepare for word markets, find qualified contacts and resolve problems
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – Helps Atlantic Canadian businesses compete globally through regionally tailored programs, services knowledge and expertise
Provincial government partners:
- Province of New Brunswick
- Province of Nova Scotia
- Province of Prince Edward Island
- Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Accelerated Growth Service is implemented in the Atlantic region through a regional delivery model led by ACOA.
Participating firms represent a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, clean tech, Information and Communications Technology, service, food processing and aerospace.
List of participating companies in Atlantic Canada
(as of May 1, 2019)
Prince Edward Island
- Trout River Industries Inc., Coleman
- Nature’s Crops International Limited, Charlottetown
- Royal Star Foods Ltd., Tignish
- Prince Edward Island Aqua Farms Inc., Kensington
- Cows, Inc., Charlottetown
- Tronosjet Maintenance Inc. , Slemon Park
- Thinking Big Information Technology Inc. , Charlottetown
- Jasper Wyman & Son Canada Inc. , Morell
- Allan Equipment Manufacturing Ltd. , York
- Apex Industries Inc., Moncton
- Corey Nutrition Company Inc., Fredericton
- CE3 Electronics Inc., Dieppe
- LuminUltra Technologies Inc., Fredericton
- Mariner Partners, Saint John
- Greystone Energy Systems Inc., Moncton
- Alantra Leasing Inc., Sussex
- Remsoft Inc., Fredericton
- TRC Hydraulics, Dieppe
- Measurand, Inc., Fredericton
- Digital Products Ltd., Moncton
- G.E. Barbour Inc., Sussex
- TCI Manufacturing Inc., Fredericton
- InteliSys Aviation Systems (2013) Inc., Saint John
- Maison BeauSoleil, Neguac
- Computer Generated Solutions, Saint John
- Design Built Mechanical Inc., Charlo
- Louisbourg Seafoods Limited, Louisbourg
- Ultra Electronic Maritime Systems, Dartmouth
- LED Roadway Ltd., Halifax
- Cherubini Metal Works Ltd, Dartmouth
- Protocase Inc., Sydney
- The ORB Factory, Halifax
- Stark International Inc., New Glasgow
- JASCO Applied Sciences (Canada) Ltd., Dartmouth
- Nautel Ltd., Hackett’s Cove
- Surrette Battery Co. Ltd., Springhill
- Metamaterial Technologies Inc., Dartmouth
- The Shaw Group Ltd., Lantz
- Master Merchant Systems , Dartmouth
- MetOcean Telematics Limited , Dartmouth
- Acadian Seaplants Limited , Dartmouth
- A.C. Dispensing Equipment Incorporated , Lower Sackville
- Intertalk Critical Information Systems Inc. , Dartmouth
- Trecan Combustion Limited , Hubley
- Stanfield’s Ltd. , Truro
- IMO Food Ltd. , Yarmouth
- Tri-Star Industries Ltd. , Yarmouth
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Bluedrop Performance Learning Inc., St. John's
- Genoa Design International Ltd., Mount Pearl
- Blue Oceans Satellite Systems Inc., St. John's
- Dynamic Air Shelters Ltd., Grand Bank
- The Call Center Inc., St. John’s
- Viking Fur Inc., Cavendish
- Superior Gloves Limited, St. John's
- Fogo Island Co-Operative Society Limited, Fogo Island
- Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises Ltd., Harbour Grace
- Quorum Information Systems Inc., St. John's
- Compusult Limited, Mount Pearl
- Rutter Inc., St. John's
- Virtual Marine Technology, St. John's
- Verafin Inc., St. John's
- Quidi Vidi Brewery Inc., St. John's
- British Group/Atlantic Gaming Inc. (AGI), St. John's
- Anaconda Mining Inc., Baie Verte
- Rambler Metals and Mining Canada Limited, Baie Verte
- Cougar Helicopter Inc., St. John's
- Vinland Materials, Corner Brook
- Carol Lake Metal Works Ltd., Labrador City
- Labrador Rewinding Inc., Wabush
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the Accelerated Growth Service?
A1. In Atlantic Canada, the Accelerated Growth Service coordinates federal and provincial government support for high growth firms in areas such as financing solutions, advisory services, and export and innovation support from existing programming. The minister of Small Business and Tourism, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, announced the launch of the Accelerated Growth Service pilot on June 14, 2016, as part of the national Innovation Agenda. Atlantic region federal ministers and the four provincial premiers announced the expansion of the Accelerated Growth Service to Atlantic Canada in January 2017.
Q2. What are you hoping to achieve in Atlantic Canada with this initiative?
A2. The goal of the Accelerated Growth Service is to accelerate firm growth through a collaborative, client-centric service model thus enhancing economic returns to the regions in which these firms operate. While high growth firms only represent 4.1% of Canadian businesses with 10 employees and more, they are responsible for 40% of new jobs created. In Atlantic Canada, the impact of high growth firms is more significant as they are twice as likely to innovate and invest in advanced processes and skills development. They also generally export more than the average business. Having more high growth firms accelerate their growth and realize their full economic potential more quickly supports a growing and innovative economy and the creation of high paying jobs in Atlantic communities. The goal is to sign up 90 high growth firms in Atlantic Canada by the end of 2019.
Q3. How does the Accelerated Growth Service tie in with the Atlantic Growth Strategy?
A3. Budget 2016 launched the High-Impact Firms Initiative, followed by the announcement of the Accelerated Growth Service pilot, to support growth through coordinated service delivery, as part of the Innovation Agenda. The joint federal-provincial implementation of the Accelerated Growth Service in Atlantic Canada then serves to fulfil the mandate of working with high Impact firms as part of the innovation pillar within the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The implementation of the Accelerated Growth Service in the Atlantic region will stimulate the region’s economy, support both innovative and resource-based industries, and increase job opportunities for Atlantic Canadians. The Accelerated Growth Service also supports other priority areas identified in the Atlantic Growth Strategy, such as:
br> Trade and investment: One of the anticipated outcomes of the Accelerated Growth Service is that participating firms will expand their business activities beyond the borders of Atlantic Canada and achieve success in international markets by furthering their global competitiveness.
Q4. Consolidating all government services through one access point seems like a simple, common-sense way of providing support… why has it taken this long for these departments to work together on this common goal?
A4. The Government of Canada is committed to working with the Atlantic Provinces to make real change happen – by doing different things – and doing things differently. Providing a collaborative, client-focussed approach using the whole of government to address firm challenges is long overdue. The Accelerated Growth Service will enhance returns to the region in working with high growth firms and will build a stronger network of federal and provincial government representatives to service all businesses in Atlantic Canada.
Q5. Why is the government focusing on these companies? Why not offer these services to all Atlantic Canadian companies?
A5. Recent studies have shown that high growth firms are the drivers of sustained net job creation1. Research demonstrates that high growth firms have a greater impact on the economy, growth and employment than the average business thus warranting focussed resources to ensure these impacts have the best chance of being realized. High growth firms face distinctive challenges to expansion and competitiveness. In Atlantic Canada, a 2017 study2 identified the following barriers to growth:
- Human Resources – difficulty recruiting skilled workers and managing staff during growth periods,
- Financing – lack of investment in Atlantic Canada and lack of cash flow to take advantage of growth opportunities.
The Accelerated Growth Service will help remove these barriers so participating Atlantic firms can accelerate their growth and further their global competitiveness through coordinated services tailored to their needs. The Government of Canada, in collaboration with the four provincial governments in Atlantic Canada, will continue to help all Atlantic Canadian small and medium sized businesses become more innovative, productive and competitive through existing programs and services.
1. High-Growth Firms and the Future of the American Economy, Kauffman Foundation, 2010↩
2. Factors for Success in Atlantic Canadian Growth Companies,Saint Mary’s University Business Development Centre, May 2017↩
Running a high growth firm successfully requires an abundance of two things: time, and working capital. Understanding that high growth firms are key drivers of Canada’s economic growth and long-term prosperity, the Government of Canada established the Accelerated Growth Service to coordinate provincial and federal government support in areas such as financing, advisory support, export and innovation services.
The initiative, which is coordinated by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) in the Atlantic region, works as a one-stop shop for businesses to enable them to save time and access highly needed tailored services in an efficient way.
LED Roadway Lighting
LED Roadway Lighting has always had its eyes set on growth in foreign markets. In order to ensure success, the Nova Scotia company needed contacts and a steady source of working capital. The Accelerated Growth Service enabled it to work with various partners, including Global Affairs Canada, who has helped LED Roadway Lighting enter multiple global markets through trade commissioner services. These services have been crucial in establishing commercial relationships, identifying and engaging opportunity, avoiding market pitfalls/challenges, and generally increasing the chance for business success in new and emerging export markets. As President and CEO Chuck Cartmill puts it, “Just being a member of the Accelerated Growth Service has opened several doors in Ottawa, which in turn has connected us to valuable external commercial partnerships.”
LED Roadway Lighting was also encouraged by its Accelerated Growth Service team to conduct an exercise in optimizing working capital management. With the help of the Accelerated Growth Service, LED Roadway Lighting has made new contacts, and identified tailored solutions to free up working capital. This will enable them to reach different markets, as well as continue to grow and manage their business. For Chuck Cartmill, the benefits that the Accelerated Growth Service offers are clear: “The more people we have in our corner, the better we will do,” he says.
Bluedrop Performance Learning
Bluedrop Performance Learning wanted to pursue strategically important business opportunities in the fields of Aerospace and Defence. However, in order to secure significant contracts, the Newfoundland and Labrador company, which provides a variety of simulation and e-Learning solutions to corporate and government markets worldwide, had to demonstrate acceptable financial capability (i.e. minimum working capital/liquidity levels). In addition to these working capital needs, management felt it should maintain a competitive level of investments in Research and Development, as well as Sales and Marketing. However, according to Emad Rizkalla, Founder and CEO of Bluedrop Performance Learning, “These two things don’t pay dividends for years.”
The Accelerated Growth Service team worked with the company to find solutions. For instance, ACOA approved an investment of $3 million in 2017, which allowed Bluedrop to leverage a similar amount from a traditional lender. The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) also provided more than $850,000 in assistance through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to enable continued product development. Finally, the province came to the table and a $5 million contract is currently in the works. Rizkalla credits the service with connecting them to a lot of different players: “They wouldn’t have paid attention to us if we weren’t an Accelerated Growth Service company.”
All this has allowed Bluedrop Performance Learning to set ambitious growth objectives: “If I look out five years, my goal is to be three times the size in revenue, and at least double in the number of employees,” says Rizkalla. He believes the Accelerated Growth Service is set to have impacts throughout Atlantic Canada, because it supports firms that have tremendous potential: “If you support your winners, the ones that are growing and doing well, you'll get far more economic output than if you support a dozen stable or modestly growing companies. We need more 'anchor corporate tenants' in the region and I am thankful for the support in this regard.”
It has been said that a goal without a plan is just a wish. When it came to APEX Industries and its goal of achieving high growth, they knew that they needed a solid plan. Although the company was experiencing challenging market conditions, with a decrease in total sales in the last five years, it had the capacity to support a higher than organic growth – as long as it was supported by a more coordinated approach from federal organizations.
What the Accelerated Growth Service team did was just this: along with Apex Industries, they developed a structured strategy, looking at the entire company’s opportunities and challenges. This multi-year growth plan became APEX 2020, and touches potential growth in all of the firm’s business units, such as Steel Doors and Frames, Aerospace, Contract Manufacturing, Distribution and PDA Group.
According to Paul MacBeth, Director of Finance, joining the Accelerated Growth Service really kicked things into high-gear: “We took a five to 10 year expansion plan and turned it into a two to five year expansion plan.” He adds that being part of the service has allowed the company to take more risk: “It has allowed us to go outside our normal operating procedures. This has been our largest expenditure on equipment in a three year period.”
Since APEX Industries joined the Accelerated Growth Service, ACOA approved $2.5 million in 2017 for three projects, to acquire new technology to implement a growth plan, to upgrade its web site, and to assist in its plan to expand into new export markets. Through these projects, APEX has already created 30 to 40 new positions in the last six months. Additionally, more talks are under way with various federal and provincial partners for investment in APEX 2020.
Rollo Bay Holdings Inc.
This potato growing and packing operation located in Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island, is always looking for ways to improve productivity and develop new products and packaging formats to serve new, higher value markets in Canada and the United States. As Ray Keenan, one of Rollo Bay Holdings’ co-owners, puts it, “a new piece of machinery used to last forever, now it just gets us to the next step, because the demands of the consumer are always changing.”
The company has recently invested in new equipment, which has reduced product waste by 15 to 20% and increased revenue from product that was previously sent for dehydration. It has also created a brand new product: a 1-pound microwaveable format that is allowing the company to expand its demographic target market, and will open markets beyond Canada and the US. This willingness to adapt in order to grow made Rollo Bay Holdings a perfect candidate for the Accelerated Growth Service.
Ray Keenan says that the Accelerated Growth Service helped his company embrace the future much more effectively by providing strategic assistance that helped the company find new opportunities in changing consumer trends. “The Accelerated Growth Service is something that was ongoing, a work in progress. It allowed us to embrace and look forward to change.”
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