WTC Toronto launches Scale-Up Institute Toronto

Oct 07, 2019

By Igor Fernandes, Toronto Region Board of Trade

TORONTO, ON, October 7, 2019 – Canada ranks second in the world for starting businesses, but struggles to grow them. To change this reality and enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to overcome barriers to growth, the Toronto Region Board of Trade and World Trade Centre Toronto today launched the Scale-Up Institute Toronto, a series of curated program offerings with the objective of fostering a scaleup ecosystem in the Toronto region.

“With fewer than 0.1 per cent of Canadian small firms becoming mid-sized, and two per cent of mid-sized firms becoming large companies, we need to do better,” said Leigh Smout, WTC-T Executive Director. “When we support the growth of SMEs in the tech sector and traditional sectors like construction, food services, and manufacturing, we spur significant job creation and GDP growth.”

Building on the findings of the Defying Gravity expert report, the Scale-Up Institute Toronto aims to fill the gap between the Toronto region’s strong ecosystem of start-ups and the lack of support and resources currently available to help SMEs maintain a strong growth trajectory. The Institute focuses on six areas where SMEs need help: executive leadership, recruiting and retaining talent, growing sales, improving process, protecting intellectual property, and accessing capital.

The structure of the Scale-Up Institute Toronto encompasses five programs:

  • Growth Development Program: The flagship program of the Institute, GDP is a hands-on, highly practical workshop helping SMEs overcome barriers to continued growth.
  • Online Courses: An online primer for GDP, providing a broad overview of growth-related topics and helping companies get a sense of their needs in the space.
  • Workshops: Additional curated sessions in partnership with key ecosystem players, offering a deeper dive into key scale-up topics of particular interest to high-growth firms.
  • Events & Peer-to-Peer Networking: An opportunity for engagement, discussion and discovery, keeping GDP graduates connected with fellow leaders in the professional community and beyond.
  • Advocacy & Ecosystem Support: As a catalyst for the business community we will conduct research, commission white papers, and work directly with government leaders to make the Toronto region as growth-friendly as possible.

With a sector-focused, hands-on approach modelled after the WTC-T’s highly successful Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) – a nationwide program that has helped more than 650 companies grow their business through exporting – the Scale-Up Institute Toronto provides a unique framework for Canadian SMEs to grow their business. For more information, visit