Canada’s global conference on scaleup ecosystems.

February 20-22, 2019

Lazaridis Hall, Waterloo


What is DRIVE?

DRIVE is Canada’s global conference on scaleup ecosystems. In its inaugural year, DRIVE poses the question of how to create domestic value in a global tech economy.

DRIVE will bring together thought leaders from around the globe — policy-makers, researchers, accelerators and successful tech CEOs — to compare best practices and highlight bold ideas.

DRIVE is not just a collection of talking heads: DRIVE is data-driven, providing participants with the evidence they need to make better decisions. DRIVE will make a permanent contribution to the study of scaleup ecosystems by releasing research, data and tools that will live beyond the conference.


Featured 2019 speakers.

DRIVE’s keynote speakers.


Richard Florida

Thought-leader, author and senior editor at The Atlantic


Deena Shakir

Advisory board member at TechWadi


Daniel Isenberg

Investor, author and professor at Babson College


Spotlight speakers.


Maria Gotsch

President & CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City


Dickson Nsofor

CEO and founder at Kora


Anna-Maija Sunnanmark

Senior innovation adviser at Nordic Innovation


Jayson Myers

CEO at Next Generation Manufacturing Canada


Kathryn Maunders

Strategist, facilitator and coach for impact-oriented enterprises at
Ten Thousand Starlings Limited


Menno van Dijk

CEO and founder at Scaleup Nation


Charles Plant

Senior fellow at The Impact Centre - University of Toronto


Jörgen Sandig

Cofounder at Scoutely


Featured 2019 sponsors.

DRIVE’s keynote sponsor.


Marnie Walker

Lecturer and co-founder of Maple Leaf Angels


Featured 2019 topics.


Thursday, February 21

Scaling cities: Tech ecosystems, urban renewal and smart development

Clusters and superclusters: Examples from the advanced manufacturing sector

What’s next: The promise of AI and quantum

Innovators or cookie cutters?: Do accelerators spur or limit growth?

Where’s the boundary?: National, regional, municipal ecosystems

Public, private, profit: Perspectives on capital

Where we live: What tech CEOs really think

Friday, February 22

Global reach, global impact: Examining cross-national and international models

Investing in the future: The role of universities and corporations

The data-driven ecosystem: Opportunities and threats

*full agenda coming soon 

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Waterloo’s reputation as a tech hub continues to expand. DRIVE will enable us to share our ecosystem’s energy and vision with global players — international hubs, founders and policy-makers — and to learn from their diverse perspectives on growth.

Managing Director Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises
Co-Chair of DRIVE

DRIVE is where data, policy and practice meet in the world of scaleup ecosystems. We’re bringing together leaders from global accelerators, policy-makers, academics, funders and founders to challenge each other and present bold new ideas on building scaleups.

Founder and CEO of Hockeystick
Co-Chair of DRIVE


We can’t wait to see you there.


Interested in becoming a sponsor?