Government of Canada supports innovation and entrepreneurship with the launch of the Lab2Market Program

News release

$1.3 million to support 30 business ventures, 20 new commercialized technologies and opportunities for promising researchers

October 28, 2020 · Halifax, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation is essential to creating good jobs for Canadians and helping our economy recover from the impact of COVID-19. The Government of Canada is a partner in these efforts, ensuring that Canada remains among world leaders in innovation. These partnerships help nurture promising ideas, create opportunities for young researchers and support advancements that benefit all Canadians.

Today, Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced support for innovation and entrepreneurship with the official launch of the Lab2Market (L2M) program. Led by Dalhousie University in Atlantic Canada, L2M gives promising researchers access to world-class mentors, a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and funding to explore their work’s commercial potential. Over the next two years, Dalhousie will lead 40 teams of students, researchers and experienced advisors to develop, test and commercialize innovative ideas.

Providing more innovative technologies for businesses 

Through the program, Dalhousie will support 30 business ventures, 20 new commercialized technologies, 5 commercial licensing agreements with industry, and about 10 partnerships with businesses and university-based incubator-accelerators. This work is supported by an investment of $1.3 million in federal funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and support from partner Mitacs.

This project is further proof of the government’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation. These initiatives create good jobs, ensure that Canadians have the skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive environment and help our economy recover from the impact of COVID-19.


“Canada is home to some of the world’s brightest minds, and we want to help them turn their big ideas into commercial successes. With the support of ACOA, the Lab2Market project will help some of our most promising young researchers realize their dreams, while creating good jobs for Canadians. This will ensure that our economy remains on the cutting edge as we’re working to build back better.”

-        The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The L2M project will help connect academia and industry to create tangible solutions to real-life issues. From healthcare to technology, the research that comes out of our universities will be commercialized to bring treatments and convenience to Canadians, and generate new economic growth for our region.”

-        Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax

“Canada needs innovators with an entrepreneurial mindset who have the attitudes, knowledge, skills, discipline and resilience to generate solutions to local, national and global challenges. Canada is already home to world-leading research-intensive universities, and we can generate a pipeline of ventures emerging from them. Canada’s Lab2Market - based on the successful I-Corps program in the U.S. - is a national pilot program that is delivering on these opportunities.”

-        Dr. Alice Aiken, Vice President Research and Innovation, Dalhousie University

“Mitacs is proud to partner with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Dalhousie University on the Lab2Market program in support of Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship. Lab2Market is an important program because it builds on Canada’s commitment to innovation by continuing to support entrepreneurs. Industry-academic collaborations like this one recognize and support highly skilled innovation leaders in driving a productive and prosperous economy.”

-        John Hepburn, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

Quick facts

  • The project is being run in tandem with the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), which is also providing a $1.3 million contribution to Ryerson University to deliver the program in Ontario. Both non-repayable contributions are through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.

  • The Lab2Market program was developed by Incubate Innovate Network of Canada (I-INC), a pan-Canadian network of university-linked accelerators and incubators focused on the commercialization of university-based science and technology-enabled innovation. Ryerson and Dalhousie universities are both members of this network.

  • L2M was specifically designed for Canadians, building from the experience of the United States’ National Science Foundation (NSF) I-CorpsTM program and the United Kingdom’s Innovation and Commercialization of University Research (ICURe) program

  • Dalhousie University is leading three cohorts, one of which has already been completed (L2M-Health, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic). Two four-month cohorts will be led through the L2M Program by Ryerson University, with the first cohort launched on September 21, 2020.

  • Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic
Development and Official Languages

Chris Brooks
Director, Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Michele Charlton
Communications Advisor, Office of the Vice President Research and Innovation
Dalhousie University

Heather Young
Director, Communications

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