The Accelerator has decided to modify our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and take yet another bold step towards improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Windsor-Essex and Southwestern Ontario. To achieve this, we have decided to sell our building asset to self-generate the funds necessary to achieve our long-term goals.
Since 2011, The Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator (The Accelerator) has delivered results on a massive scale. Our original $678,000 FedDev Grant has generated a 3,700% return on investment, with The Accelerator assisting hundreds of entrepreneurs and startup companies, helping to create more than 1,500 regional jobs, and generating $25+ million in regional economic impact.
These early successes helped position The Accelerator to make the bold strategic decision in 2018 to migrate the business from leased office space to the purchase of the 55,000-square-foot 1929 Purity Dairy Building to create Windsor’s premier multi-industry business incubation, acceleration and coworking facility.
To further this goal and build upon the success of the initial FedDev funding, in 2020, The Accelerator applied for a new round of grant funding from FedDev to expand our programming to provide a more diverse range of resources, networking, and start-up tools for our communities, entrepreneurs, and startup companies. The application also included funding for retraining workers displaced by the Covid 19 pandemic, expanding our entrepreneurship high school outreach programs, providing business development programming for underrepresented and marginalized groups, export acceleration training, expansion of services into Windsor-Essex, and specifically-designed strategies to attract high-value startups to our region.
The proposed four million dollar project intended to deliver diverse and inclusive programming in business, green economy, sustainability, digital tech, and long-term growth. The project was designed to support more than 500 new entrepreneurs, startups and under-represented founders from Southern Ontario. It is a project that is critical, as our region and nation face rising interest rates, 30-year high inflation, rapidly changing market corrections, tightening cash flows and a significant risk of a downturn in the global markets.
Unfortunately, on July 13, 2022, nearly two years after our initial grant application, FedDev informed The Accelerator that our project was not selected under the Jobs and Growth program for funding. With or without FedDev support, our project was supported by our community, stakeholders, 15 partners from our region, unprecedented political support from all three major parties, as well as support from our cross-border partners.
With this decision, The Accelerator has decided to modify our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and take yet another bold step towards improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Windsor-Essex and Southwestern Ontario. To achieve this, we have decided to sell our building asset to self-generate the funds necessary to achieve our long-term goals. The Accelerator expects to continue as one of the main tenants of the building, with our future business model streamlined, focusing on key areas:
- Coworking, offices and cross-border coworking with Bamboo Detroit
- Delivering core programs such as the High School Entrepreneurship, Windsor Women Accelerate, and Entrepreneur Roadmap Programs
- Attraction and investment in high-value Canadian and international startups focused on North American and global market expansion
- Other strategic partnerships, such as GAMIC (Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge)
The Accelerator building located at 1501 Howard Ave., is the ideal commercial location in Windsor with 52,000 sq. ft. for new automotive, construction, engineering, technology companies placing them within a “10 minute drive” of: The new $5 billion Stellantis + LG Energy Battery Manufacturing plant, the first of its kind in Canada, as well as the Detroit –Windsor Tunnel, the Ambassador Bridge to the US Hwy 75, as well as the construction site of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge scheduled to open 2024-25, access to Highway 401 West Bound, the University of Windsor, St. Clair College and almost all of Windsor-Essex’s Automotive and Automation Tier 1 Suppliers headquarters.
We want to thank all of our regional partners that supported our FedDev grant application process, particularly MP Brian Masse for his tireless work in supporting our efforts to grow the Windsor West entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as MP Chris Lewis for his ongoing support of our work in Essex County and with global automobility startups, and the office of MP Irek Kusmierczyk and the Honorable Helena Jaczek – Ministry for FedDev Southern Ontario.
Over the coming weeks, The Accelerator will work closely with our current clients to ensure their needs are met as we transition to our new business model.
For media inquiries, please contact: Arthur Barbut, CEO