Google Helps Small Businesses by Launching Two Accelerators in Canada

By Bruce Harpham Saturday, February 20, 2021

Google is expanding its presence in Canada by opening two new accelerators. The move represents a significant investment in the Canadian tech industry for the search business. By shifting more resources internationally, Google (stock ticker: NASDAQ: GOOGL) recognizes opportunities outside its California headquarters. The three-month accelerator program is accepting applications for its current round until March 1, 2021. Unlike other programs, Google’s accelerator is “equity-free,” so founders do not have to give up a part of their company.

Google office building in Canada.

Google Helps Small Businesses and AI In Canada

The search engine and advertising company has had an engineering presence in Ontario for several years. In recent years, Google has expanded beyond engineering. In 2020, the company offered $1 million to help small businesses get online as COVID-19 closed many businesses. Google’s COVID-19 support was carried out in partnership with Shopify (TSE: SHOP) and Canadian governments.

Google’s presence in Canada has recently focused substantial resources on AI. Last year, the company invested $3 million to support research institute Mila, a Montreal organization focused on AI problems. Google’s support for AI in Canada goes back to at least 2016, when the business contributed $4.5 million over a three-year period to help Mila.

Growing a Startup Company with Google Support

Growing a startup company with Google support means access to a variety of resources. Focused on Seed to Series A startup companies, the program provides early access to new Google products, technical training, and mentoring from Google's employees. The program runs for ten weeks in a virtual format offering a mix of technology challenges, workshops, and machine learning support for each business that participates.

Last year, Google offered support to nine startups, including Arkangel AI (a startup company focused on AI to detect diseases) and Bridge7 (an AI startup business focused on cancer treatment). AI startups aren’t the only companies that have been accepted either.

Harnessing the power of video games for literacy, Eyeread is an ed-tech business that participates in Google’s program. Today, the Nova Scotia startup business has $1.7 million in funding and has developed games such as Squiggle Park (a reading skills game for children aged 3 to 8) and Dreamscape (reading skills for children aged 8 to 15).

The Google Global Accelerators System

The commitment that Google has placed on accelerators extends to multiple locations around the world. The program is also offered in Africa (Lagos, Nigeria), Mexico, India, Brazil, and other locations. Some of the accelerator programs that Google has in place have a different area of focus. For example, the European program is aimed at startup companies with ten or more employees. In addition, the program expects participating startups to have "the potential to leverage Google products / technical expertise (e.g., cloud, leveraging large data sets, AI, or Machine Learning)."

Past Google Acquisitions

Google supports startups and companies, and this is best understood in light of its history. The company has grown substantially in talent and technology through acquisition. In 2020, Google acquired several businesses such as Pointy (a business that helps companies sell products online) and AppSheet.

About the Author


Headshot of Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, "Project Managers At Work," shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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