Last December, in partnership with ACOA, Opportunities NB (ONB) announced support for Scale Up Atlantic Canada, a formalized approach to helping New Brunswick-based businesses reach their full potential. Scale Up Atlantic Canada is led by the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship (TME) and was created by Dan Isenberg of Babson College in Massachusetts.
Last week saw the graduation of the program’s first cohort. Among the companies finishing up was Moncton’s Missing Link Technologies (MLT), providers of multiple IT solutions.
ONB spoke to company Owner and President Charles Gervais for a few thoughts on the program and what it means for MLT.
ONB: Why did you decide to participate in Scale Up Atlantic Canada?
Gervais: Last fall, ONB visited us alongside Dr. Dhirendra Shukla to tell us about Scale Up Atlantic. It seemed like the right program for us for three reasons.
1) The focus on ‘customers, capacity, and cash’ is the perfect recipe for growing a business like ours.
2) It would allow not only myself but our extended management team to participate. I liked the idea of us all being on the same page in terms of executing on key takeaways.
3) The success rate of Dan Isenberg’s ‘Scalerator’ program overall; it’s proven quite successful across multiple jurisdictions. There was no reason to think it couldn’t work here.
What are your key takeaways from the program?
We have been focused on strategic growth for about three years. Scale Up Atlantic came at just the right time because it allowed us to share our challenges with a great peer group. That was my biggest takeaway – the value of connecting with companies at the same stage you are. The collaboration, sharing of challenges and successes, and the resulting partnerships.
It not only connected us with other local companies, it also gives us an in with the broader, global Scalerator ecosystem.
Have you already implemented anything based on your time in the program?
Absolutely, my time in the program convinced me that the right move for MLT at this point was to hire a new CEO – Thomas George. That lets me focus on other growth ventures while allowing MLT to stay focused on scale-up under our new CEO’s guidance. Thomas officially joined us in early July. He even attended a couple of Scale Up sessions including the final one last week.
Why choose to grow here in New Brunswick rather than elsewhere?
In New Brunswick, I have great access to key decision-makers. Partners within industry, as well as partners like ONB and ACOA – who helped make Scale Up Atlantic possible for us – and other departments within government. There is no shortage of people here working to help companies like MLT grow. That has been a consistent advantage for us here in New Brunswick. We feel we have a great ecosystem here that supports our ambitions.
Do you have any advice for other companies that may join future Scale Up Atlantic Canada cohorts?
Be ready and willing to part ways with any existing bad behaviours you may have picked up from your years in business. Also, be ready to step out of your comfort zone and be focused and disciplined. Those are two huge elements of the program. If you are willing to change your thinking, I feel this is the program for you. It will help you take on new tools and strategies and implement them and see real benefits for your business.
Making sure our new CEO is set up to succeed at scaling MLT’s service divisions. On my end, focus on MLT’s growth in other verticals. We are ready to compete worldwide by offering new innovative digital transformation solutions. For example, we have a new spinoff called iTransform, the first dedicated platform for digital business transformation. The long-term goal is for MLT to become a larger group of companies.
To learn more about the various services provided by Missing Link Technologies, including network management, software development, broadband solutions, and more, visit www.mlt.ca.
Cover image (MLT’s 10 Core Values) via Missing Link Technologies.
Written by Jason Boies