Solving Canada’s biggest business challenges

The District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space is an innovation accelerator founded by Arlene Dickinson’s District Ventures and IBM Canada. Our unique programming and demand-driven innovation with large enterprise clients sets us apart and creates an environment where entrepreneurs and large enterprise build relationships, collaborate on real world challenges, grow, and excel.

The District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space is not simply an accelerator – it is a platform for a smarter, more efficient and more entrepreneurial business environment in Canada.



How it works:

For Large Enterprises and Corporations

(Industry Client, Consortium, Association or Institution)

The District Ventures IBM Innovation Space is for large enterprises and corporations looking to test an innovative or disruptive business model, build a POC (Proof of Concept), or launch a minimum viable product that can then be commercialized and scaled.

We aim to provide solutions that create a smarter, more efficient and innovative business environment in Canada by creating solutions for real-world problems.

The Innovation Space does this by:

  • Helping you explore potential opportunities or solutions in areas causing business problems.

  • Exposing you to the IBM Cloud open development platform and Watson Services.

  • Supporting you with the collaborative build of a business model through the Lean Model Canvas and Design Thinking frameworks.

  • Identifying the domain knowledge experts in your teams.

  • Partnering your corporation with a qualified start-up, scale-up or entrepreneur and IBM/DV domain experts.

  • Facilitating the development of solutions, on a specified timeline and with a projected return on investment.

For Entrepreneurs

(Start-up, Scale-up, SMB)                                      

We are invested in your growth and longevity. The District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space enables entrepreneurs at various stages of their business development to excel through exposure to clients, mentors, collaboration, and the use of powerful technologies such as IBM Cloud and Watson.

The Innovation Space offers entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to engage with high-level executives, investors, and mentors to further innovate and tackle challenges identified by many of Canada’s leading industries.

The Innovation Space does this by:

  • Supporting you with access to a vibrant Innovation Space, leading edge technology, coaching and mentoring services.

  • Supporting you with the collaborative build of a business model through the Lean Model Canvas and Design Thinking frameworks.

  • Exposing you to industry needs and market demands.

  • Connecting you to relevant clients to expand your footprint and grow.


What you get:

As a Large Enterprise and Corporation

  • Access to innovative solutions through hand-picked and qualified entrepreneurs.

  • Rapid development and testing of business models.

  • A highly collaborative environment and access to resources that augment your current expertise.

  • The opportunity to leverage leading edge IBM technology.

  • Support for the Canadian economy through entrepreneurship.








As an entrepreneur

  • Build and scale your solution using up to $10,000/month of credits on IBM Cloud for one year. Use these credits to host your solution, and to add services like Watson, Blockchain, Watson IoT, Security, Data Science and GPU servers to your solutions.

  • Access to a team of expert mentors ready to assist with your technical and business needs.

  • Access to clients through IBM’s networks to help your business scale quickly and efficiently.

  • Work space at our Calgary office.

  • Events and programming focused on everything from selling your product and recruiting the right people, to integrating IBM technology in the most effective manner.

  • Assistance with seeking funding through our partners and local VCs.

Program Fee

  • Please note that there is a program fee of $10,000 per start-up/scale-up to participate in the 6-month accelerator program.