Our North Star
Launch Atlantic Canada’s first billion dollar tech company.
Propel ICT discovers, educates and mentors entrepreneurs who create prosperity.We exist to establish Atlantic Canada as a lucrative startup destination.
Propel values Collective Ambition, Creativity, Growth, Intelligence and Radical Curiosity
Back in 2003, business leaders Gerry Pond, Curtis Howe and Jeff White knew they had to do something
to jump start the ICT sector in New Brunswick. However, they knew they needed a made-in-
Atlantic Canada solution. The traditional accelerator model of an office space located in close
proximity to a pool of investors and mentors wouldn’t work here; they needed the collective
resources of Atlantic Canada.
Collaboration was the critical success factor. Office space was ample and cheap, so it was unlikely startups would need help paying the rent. As for private investment, venture capital investments in Atlantic Canada were almost non-existent at the time; big venture capital firms rarely looked east of Montreal for ideas. Gerry and his partners knew financing would come through the development of strong relationships with would-be angel investors primarily in Saint John, the financial centre of New Brunswick, and with investors outside the region with whom they had strong relationships.
In its first 36 months, PropelSJ nurtured 21 southern New Brunswick startups. Some of its early
successes were: Brovada, a market leader with its business software for the insurance industry;
ShiftEnergy, which develops real-time energy use analysis; and Ambir Technologies, an ICT
In 2006 PropelICT hosted Atlantic Canada’s first Angel Investor Summit to promote
a startup culture in the region, anchored in Saint John. Out of this was born a classic angel
investor network to help finance startups. It also launched a Canadian first, a group of in-kind
angel investors. These were Saint John lawyers, accountants and other business service providers
who accepted a small stipend from Propel in exchange for advice and services to guide
entrepreneurs through business development, growth strategy and the regulatory and licensing
process for their intellectual property.
In 2008, due to market demand, Propel went province-wide, renaming itself PropelICT. In 2011,
it shifted once more, created its flagship program, Launch36, an intensive accelerator program
serving New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI. The goal of the program was to launch 36 Maritime start-ups in 36 months - they actually launched 40.
Propel launched their virtual accelerator Incite in 2018. The program eliminated geographic boundaries which means they can work with any company in any location.
Propel is grateful for the funding provided by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
To date Propel has helped more than 150 companies, who have collectively raised $1.2 Billion Dollars and created 1400 high paying jobs.
Propel ICT is founded in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Propel ICT expands to work with companies across Atlantic Canada.
The Launch36 program is born.
Launch36 graduates 40 companies.
Barry Bisson joins the organization as CEO.
Propel ICT announces a name change to simply Propel and launches their new virtual accelerator Incite.