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Trevor Macausland To Join 3Plus

Trevor MacAusland will bring fresh perspectives largely gained from the startup world to his new role as Director of Business Development for 3Plus Corp., the economic development agency for Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview.

PropelICT announced Friday that MacAusland would be leaving his post as Vice President of Business Development at the East Coast tech accelerator to take the new job at 3Plus. For years, MacAusland was Propel’s executive director and ran its accelerators. The transition will be gradual as MacAusland will oversee the next cohort of Propel Build, the course for more mature companies that will meet in Moncton through the summer.

For the most part, MacAusland’s focus in the coming years will be developing the economy of the metropolitan area in Southeast New Brunswick with a heavy emphasis on innovation and new industries.

“One of the reasons I was probably the successful candidate is … most of the economic development in the region has been focused on entrenched and existing industries and protecting the status quo,” he said in an interview on Sunday. “I told them in talking about this job that that’s not what I’m interested in. I’m interest in taking an existing industry and transforming it.”

As you might expect, MacAusland is going to use some lean methodology in helping new businesses that crop up in the area. If someone wants to open a restaurant, he’ll likely suggest a popup restaurant or mobile outlet before they invest in bricks and mortar.

He also wants Moncton to develop more new businesses and join cities like Fredericton in churning out more high-growth companies.

But he also knows economic development goes beyond startups. He looks forward to working with established companies on commercializing internal ideas and bringing them to market.

MacAusland is looking forward to the Build cohort this summer. Propel now offers concurrent cohorts in several cities throughout the region. Propel Launch offers places to early stage companies while Propel Build guides about a half dozen later-stage companies.

“Trevor’s commitment and hard work is a big reason why Propel ICT has evolved to become one of Canada’s most respected accelerators,” Jeff Thompson, Chair of the Propel ICT Board, said in a statement. “He has been a major catalyst for the growth of the East Coast startup scene. We are fortunate he will continue to make his mark by leading the Build program in Greater Moncton.”

MacAusland said Propel hasn’t yet decided what companies will be accepted into Build this summer, but he was heartened to see several companies from the last Launch cohort apply.

In 2011, MacAusland championed the idea of an accelerator that would “launch’’ 36 companies in 36 months, and thus Launch36 was born. No one was sure at the time it was a realistic goal. But when he stood before the crowd at the last Launch36 demo day last November, he was able to announce that 49 companies have gone through the accelerator in the allotted time.

Asked what his fondest memory of the past five years was he said there were many but one night was extra-special.

“For me, the highlight was the demo day for the first Launch36 cohort here in Dieppe,” he said. “When we started, I said we were going to do 36 in 36 months and didn’t really know we’d be able to do it. [The first Demo Day] was the first time I said to myself, ‘We’re going to be able to do this because people are drinking the Kool-aid.’”