Accel North Pivots to Help More Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

October 2, 2019

In mid-2017, the growing Clickback team was looking to move into a new home. We were looking for something youthful and vibrant, and found that too many commercial buildings felt overly corporate, dated and enclosed. We were amazed at how hard it was to find the right office that we could feel at home in.

So, why not design it ourselves? We invested in the building at 110 James Street and created a modern, light-filled space for our team. From here, an idea was born.

Wanting to give back to the larger community in Niagara, we transformed the building into a centre for tech innovation and tech acceleration. Through learning that there is a lack of collaboration in the innovation sector between non-profit and for-profit entities and just not enough tech innovation in Niagara, it was decided that Niagara was not ready for a Tech Accelerator. In the course of building the accelerator and working with the community, we discovered that many small businesses and entrepreneurs both in the tech space and outside in various sectors, were also looking for cool, vibrant spaces that could support them as they grew.

An entrepreneur himself, Clickback’s founder Kyle Tkachuk is familiar with the problems facing entrepreneurs trying to establish themselves and their businesses. Kyle himself, many years back was faced with an issue where the business had to pivot and protect cashflow.  He met with the property manager of the building we had our office located in at the time, asking for a rent reduction and/or a smaller space temporarily but the property manager would not help in any way and it created a very difficult time for the company having this large lease expense.  Kyle stated, ‘entrepreneurial ventures can be risky, and don’t always pan out as planned’. Commercial offices expect long-term lease commitments, even if your venture is brand new.

We stopped to ask ourselves the question, what options do entrepreneurs and growing businesses have to establish themselves in Niagara? While various cities in Niagara offer Small Business Centres, there isn’t an entity providing a community and flexible work space options that are dedicated to entrepreneurs and small businesses. With that in mind, we pledged to pivot Accel North from a tech accelerator to a community offering cowork and flexible work spaces, supporting the growth of all small businesses in Niagara.

In order to meet the needs of our members in this new community, it became apparent that a new management and ownership structure was required. As we pivoted away from the Tech Accelerator model, Dino Miele left the organization in September 2019.  A new Building Management Team was introduced including Kyle Tkachuk, President, Steven Emslie, Controller and Laura McMahon, Building and Member Relations Manager along with a Building Maintenance Supervisor who takes care of the facility at 110 James St. Having a full-time, onsite management team dedicated to assisting our members in real-time has differentiated the revamped Accel North and provided our members with the service they deserve.

By providing light-filled, open concept work spaces, we’ve created a space where people can feel inspired when they come to work or start a new business venture.

One of the greatest benefits of being a business owner or entrepreneur is the freedom to choose the direction you want to go. With that comes one of the greatest challenges. How can you know the right direction to go? Starting out, you don’t have a lot of help, limited knowledge and every obstacle is a brand new experience.

To help address this challenge, we are partnering with local businesses and mentors that you will have access to, so you have a support network as you grow. We hope to foster an eco-system that supports business growth, entrepreneurism and professional development in Niagara.

The Accel North relaunch signifies our mission of providing the premier location & collaborative community for Niagara’s entrepreneurs and small businesses to Work, Meet and Grow.

Chris Martin