Space & Support for Startups

The Flats is a great place for startups to experiment and test new ideas

As one of the few underdeveloped industrial areas near Vancouver’s core, the Flats has the potential to not only serve as a shared employment space for the city, but also a laboratory for experimentation and a place of innovation and learning.


What does space and support for startups mean? 

Startup communities refer to entrepreneurial ecosystems that drive innovation, new business creation, and job growth. Anchored by a strong community of entrepreneurs, these entrepreneurial ecosystems include programming that improves access to early-stage mentorship and executive talent, reduces barriers to accessing capital, and supports early-stage businesses in accessing space and equipment as they are getting off the ground.


The Startup City Approach

A strong startup ecosystem creates opportunities for startups to interact with support programs, potential clients, investors, and each other. The Startup City approach does this through:

  • hosting education sessions and events dedicated to helping startups access funding, financing, talent, or digital tools
  • connecting and convening groups of businesses around common challenges such as policy development, space finding, or research and development
  • helping direct local and international attention to Vancouver’s startup community through marketing and communications efforts


How do we create spaces and support for startups in the Flats?



Access to Investment, Talent, Tools + Mentorship

Accessing the right types of capital, mentorship, R&D resources and talent are some of the biggest challenges facing Vancouver’s startup community. Access to these resources can be made easier through a combination of events and programs for startups.


Low Cost Spaces for Startups

Industrial startup spaces are in high demand in Vancouver—including maker spaces, prototyping spaces, and small-run manufacturing spaces. New policies and public-private partnerships are needed to bring these spaces online.


Innovation in Infrastructure + Project Financing

New infrastructure and development in the Flats should reflect the vision to become the greenest place to work in the world through showcasing green technologies, smart city solutions, and innovative financing mechanisms.

Featured Event: Networked Business Boot Camp

 Featured Report: Space Matching in the Flats

 Featured Program: Green + Digital Demonstration Program




Leader Profiles


Commissary Connect

Commissary Connect acts as a local food incubator space within the Flats. It provides low-barrier space, equipment, and business support on a pay-to-play basis to help small local food businesses get off the ground. Commissary Connect currently serves more than 25 businesses, including a handful of our favourite food trucks and bakers.




Great Northern Way Scene Shop + Arts Factory

The Great Northern Way Scene Shop + Arts Factory provides custom fabrication services for theatre, trade shows and architecture projects, while operating a mixed-use arts facility on Industrial Ave. The Arts Factory is designed to help provide affordable spaces to the local arts community and generate working synergies between architects, prop masters, costume designers, digital artists, directors and actors operating under one roof.