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Facilities Launch Regional Passport

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Several Atlantic Canadian service providers and co-working spaces have banded together to create a passport program, which allows startups to tap the resources of facilities around the region.

Growing out of the partnership between Planet Hatch in Fredericton and ConnexionWorks in Saint John, the Atlantic Canada Entrepreneurial Services Passport was launched last week. Planet Hatch said it has been formed for cross-promoting events, sharing best practices, opening their doors to members in partnering locations, and supporting the common goal of assisting entrepreneurs in the region. A membership with any one of the Passport’s organizations provides free or discounted pricing across the participating locations.

 “As co-working spaces and entrepreneurial service providers on the East Coast collaborate and align their programming and spaces, the benefits for Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs will become stronger and more valuable,” Doug Jenkins, co-founder of ConnexionWorks, said in a statement. “We are always looking for new and innovative opportunities to grow our ecosystem.”

The passport program has been adopted by 13 facilities across the region, though some of the larger incubators or co-working spaces are not in the new network – such as Volta in Halifax, the Genesis Centre in St. John's, Venn Innovation in Moncton and Navigate Startup House in Sydney.

The participants in the passport program are:

- Business Portals, St. John’s;

- CO3 Space, Bridgewater, N.S.;

- Common Ground, St. John’s;

- ConnexionWorks, Saint John;

- The HUB South Shore, Mahone Bay, N.S.]

- LaunchPad, Charlottetown;

- New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation, Sydney;

- North Queens, Caledonia, N.S.;

- Planet Hatch, Fredericton;

- Sackville Commons Co-op, Sackville, N.B.;

- Social Enterprise Hub, Saint John;

- Startup Zone, Charlottetown;

- And The Ville Cooperative, Marysville, N.B.

It’s not known yet if other facilities will join the group.

When asked why Volta wasn’t in the passport group, Volta CEO Jesse Rogers said the Halifax facility had told Planet Hatch that it already had its own network membership program, which grants founders access to its facility and events regardless of where they are based.  

“I met with a few folks from across the region, and have also shared with them our open door policy for Atlantic Canadians,” said Volta COO Melody Pardoe in an email to Planet Hatch.

The organizers of the passport program intend to produce other pan-regional programs, though they’re keeping mum on the details.

“This is ideally only the first of many initiatives that are being put in place across Atlantic Canada,” said Lisa Kinney, Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator at Planet Hatch.