Google for Startups Accelerator Canada to be held virtually in September


Google for Startups will host its Canadian accelerator program virtually. The original aim for the three-month program was to host two cohorts in 2020. Now, it will be completing one, which will begin in September.

“While the program’s three-month timeline will remain the same, the content rollout will be distributed equally across each week.”

The accelerator’s first cohort, which was expected to begin in April, was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Google Accelerator, the first such in Canada, will now run from September 8 to November 27. Its content will remain the same, including mentorship and technical support, although it will be distributed virtually instead of in person.

“We’re committed to supporting Canadian startups across the country, and we’ve updated our program so that the virtual experience will still deliver on technical project support, deep dives and workshops, as well as mentorship,” said Ashley Francisco, Canada startup ecosystem lead at Google.

“While the program’s three-month timeline will remain the same, the content rollout will be distributed equally across each week, to help participants manage additional priorities and responsibilities during this time,” Francisco added.

Accelerator programs across Canada have been forced online due to current health regulations mandating physical distancing. Many pitch days and demo days, such as Techstars’ Startup Weekend or Startup Canada’s Canadian Export Challenge have also been held online.

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Google announced its accelerator targeted toward early-stage tech startups in Kitchener-Waterloo in March. The program represents the tech giant’s first accelerator in Canada and the 12th globally. Eight to 10 startups are expected to participate in the 2020 cohort.

At the time of the announcement, Steven Woods, senior engineering director at Google and Waterloo site lead, called the Toronto-Waterloo corridor “the perfect place for [Google] to expand our footprint, and help grow the next generation of founders in Canada.”

In an interview with BetaKit, Francisco, who is leading the accelerator program in Canada, called the move “a new evolution for Google and our presence in Canada.”

Google said it hopes the new virtual format will benefit startups outside of Ontario, which may have had challenges working out of Kitchener-Waterloo for the program.

As part of making the accelerator virtual, Google for Startups has extended the application deadline to June 30. Applicant selection will be announced on the week of August 17. The organization said it will continue to monitor health guidelines for potential future events.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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