The Accelerated Growth Service


Table of Contents


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:

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:

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:

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:

Provincial government partners:

The Accelerated Growth Service is implemented in the Atlantic region through a regional delivery model led by ACOA.

Participating Companies

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 December 3, 2019)

Frequently Asked Questions

Success Stories

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 LightingImage shows a photo of the Friendship bridge connecting the countries of Brazil and Paraguay and the following “at a glance” statistics:  Years in Business – 11; Number of employees – 150; Head Office – Halifax, Nova Scotia; Industry – Construction and Infrastructure; Foreign Markets – Worldwide; Main Product/Service – LED street and area lighting fixtures and control systems.

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 LearningImage shows a photo of Bluedrop Performance Learning headquarters in St. John's, Newfoundland and the following “at a glance” statistics: Years in Business – 26; Number of employees – 200; Head Office – St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador; Industry – Learning Technologies; Foreign Markets – United States and Australia; Main Product/Service – Training, Simulation and eLearning.

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.”

APEX IndustriesImage shows a photo of detention steel doors and the following “at a glance” statistics: Years in Business – 57; Number of employees – 230; Head Office – Moncton, New Brunswick; Industry – Machinery Manufacturing and Aerospace; Foreign Markets – United States and Europe; Main Product/Service – Contract Manufacturing, Steel doors and frames, Aerospace non-critical flight components, Product development and automation.

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.Image shows a photo of a bag of potatoes and the following “at a glance” statistics: Years in Business – 25; Number of employees – 30; Head Office – Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island; Industry – Agri-food; Foreign Markets – United States; Main Product/Service – Potatoes sold in 5 lbs and 10 lbs consumer packs as well as 1 lbs microwaveable packs.

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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