Charlottetown's entrepreneurial StartUp Zone looking to expand

Just nine months after it opened, Charlottetown's StartUp Zone is full, and trying to figure out how to add seats.

The zone was launched in a downtown Charlottetown building in June with the assistance of ACOA and the provincial government. The plan was to support entrepreneurs in the early stages of their businesses.

There are currently 27 businesses in the zone, filling the available 40 seats.

Looking to attract recent immigrants

CEO Christina MacLeod said one of the reasons they would like to expand is in order to attract more entrepreneurs who are recent immigrants.

"We have a lot of new immigrants coming. They come from cultures that are very supportive of entrepreneurship. They also come with access to large markets," said MacLeod.

"One of the things that we really strive for here is for our companies to continue to talk to each other, work together, you know, make connections for each other. And so that's a real value that we can capitalize on."

Four of the 27 businesses enrolled in the StartUp Zone program were created by new Canadians, including entrepreneurs from China, India and Sri Lanka. The Zone is actively reaching out to more new Canadians through the newcomers association, P.E.I. Connectors and Innovation PEI.

Possibilities for expansion include taking over the second floor of their building at Water and Queen streets, or trying to rearrange the space they're already in, said MacLeod.

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