MRU’s Growth Catalyst program helping Alberta businesses scale up despite COVID-19 pandemic

March 2, 2021

Mount Royal University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with support from the federal government, is helping Alberta companies scale up despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the region’s prolonged economic downturn.

Growth Catalyst is a pilot initiative led by the Institute addressing the scale-up gap in Alberta. The initiative is partly funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada, a federal program providing business support services across Western Canada.

Khalid Abdul Razak, the Managing Director of Growth Catalyst and Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, explains that while half of all startups survive over five years, only 0.1 percent of small companies become midsize, and only two percent of mid-sized companies become large. Companies grow in ‘episodes,’ which last on average three to six years, and only a few companies experience more than one growth episode.

“The challenge every leader must embrace is how to catalyze growth,” he says, “and our program aims to provide these leaders with a structured disciplined process to identify these growth opportunities and realize them.”

Growth Catalyst recently unveiled the six Alberta companies that will form its inaugural Growth Catalyst program cohort (4iiii, 4Seasons Transportation, Global Analyzer Systems, OneTwoSix Design, Righteous Gelato, and Standens), a mix of fast-moving consumer goods, engineering, transportation, furniture design, and environmental monitoring companies.

“We are a very young senior leadership team so programs like these create powerful learnings we can apply in our roles. The impacts will for sure be seen later in 2021 and in the years ahead where we have major growth goals. There is no doubt in my mind and the team's mind that we are well set up with these new tools in creating our ambitious growth plans for the future”

  • Garrett Cook, Director of Finance and Operations ‘Righteous Gelato’

Company teams gain access to the latest intelligence and tools to build ambitious growth strategies and execution plans. Teams take part in virtual workshops delivered by business growth experts along with support from mentors in the Alberta innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

In an effort to amplify impact, in collaboration with Alberta Innovates, the Growth Catalyst has launched the Growth & Resiliency Speaker Series, an initiative open to business leaders across the province. The first keynote address showcased scale-up expert Verne Harnish. The most recent session featured innovation expert Shawn Kanungo, recently hailed by Forbes as the best virtual keynote speaker. In the past three months, the Growth Catalyst has built and reached a network of over 2,500 business leaders.

“By isolating the factors that catalyze new growth episodes in established companies, we have built a curriculum targeting Alberta leaders ambitious for growth,” said Simon Raby, PhD, Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship at MRU and Academic Director of the program. “Teams embark on an integrative learning and development journey that challenges them to think big and beyond their current problem spaces, searching out and acting on new growth opportunities.”

The Growth Catalyst program is kicking off recruitment for its next cohort. Ambitious business leaders with high-growth companies are encouraged to apply.

For further information, please contact:

Peter Glenn, Senior Media Relations Officer