The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), in collaboration with Volta and Innovacorp, are happy to present a lunch and learn event on the topic of U.S. market expansion, where a panel of expert business advisors and Canadian Tech Accelerator (CTA) mentors will share their valuable insight regarding some of the biggest challenges and opportunities of doing business in the U.S.

The Canadian Technology Accelerators provide high-potential companies with access to coaching, mentors, specialized workshops and events, and introductions to potential partners, clients and investors through market immersion programs in New York, Boston, and Silicon Valley, among others.

In addition, those companies that are interested are encouraged to apply for the possibility of 30-minute one-on-one meetings with the two visiting CTA advisors. Details about these mentors and how to apply for one-on-one meetings can be found below.


9:00am – 12:00pm – One-on-one Mentor Meetings @ Volta

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Lunch & Learn with Lauren McCullagh, Karla MacDonald and a local entrepreneur

1:30pm – 4:30pm – One-on-one Mentor Meetings @ Innovacorp


This event is for scaling tech companies interested in learning how to scale and expand in the U.S.


The registration page will include a number of application questions for companies seeking a one-on-one meeting with the CTA mentors in attendance. The ideal candidates are innovative Canadian tech companies that already have market traction in Canada and have a well-developed technology, product, or service. The application process will be competitive and, unfortunately, not all that apply will be selected. Applications will be assessed on the following:

  • Management team experience;
  • Product-market fit;
  • Traction in the marketplace;
  • Potential to scale.

Companies selected for a one-on-one meeting will also have the opportunity to speak with a Trade Commissioner about how our network can support their global growth.

What if I only want to attend the lunch and learn event and am not interested in a one-on-one meeting?

Not a problem! Simply select the “General Admission – NO One-on-one Meeting” option below.

What happens if I don’t get selected for a one-on-one meeting?

Unfortunately, not all that apply will be selected for one-on-one meetings; however, please do join us for the lunch and learn event! There will be many great topics discussed and we will be happy to have a chat with you about future opportunities to access global advisors through the Trade Commissioner Service.

How does scheduling for mentor meetings work?

Once your application has been submitted it will be reviewed by the event partners. Successful candidates will be contacted approximately one week before the event date. We will do our best to accommodate your availability, but there may be scheduling limitations.

Please note that registration information provided on this page will be shared between the TCS, Volta, Innovacorp, and CTA mentors Lauren McCullagh and Karla MacDonald.


Lauren McCullagh

Lauren has a diverse background in research, operations, business development and business strategies giving her a competitive edge and perspective in the clinical and public health arena.

After starting her career at the University of Western Ontario, Canada in bench research, she then graduated with a Master’s in International Public Health from New York University. Through her work at the United Nations, Doctors without Borders, American Cancer Society and the Canadian Government, she published several reports evaluating the impact of HIV and public health prevention programs in the Latino Community, South Africa and Guyana.

Her work now focuses on implementing evidence-based programs and digital tools in clinical care. Recently, she her work has focused on integrating tools in the electronic medical record and creating an usability-testing lab to test different UX/UI interfaces. She has published extensively on the design and implementation of digital health tools with a focus on the longitudinal impact of health IT tools on provider’s behavior.

Karla MacDonald

Karla MacDonald is a Managing Director for MacDougall Biomedical Communications with more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Karla most recently led International and Corporate Responsibility Communications for Merck & Co., Inc. where she was responsible for advancing Merck’s communications strategy across its 140 markets outside of the U.S., including reputation management, product communications, media relations and employee communications. Previously, she led communications for Merck’s R&D division where, as a member of the executive leadership team, provided strategic counsel to the division’s president and its senior leaders, and oversaw a team responsible for communications activities associated with its R&D programs and pipeline. Before joining Merck, she was a vice president at Feinstein Kean Healthcare, an Ogilvy company, and managed investor relations for Creative BioMolecules, then a publicly held biotechnology company.

Karla is a Board member and mentor with the Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England and a mentor with the Canadian Technology Accelerator, providing Canadian tech and biotech companies with access to in-market entrepreneurial resources and contacts to help them grow and compete internationally.

She received a bachelor’s degree in Education and a diploma in Communications, both from McGill University in Montréal, Canada.


The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) will provide you with on-the-ground intelligence and practical advice on foreign markets to help you make better, more timely and cost-effective decisions in order to achieve your goals abroad.

Volta is one of Canada’s largest innovation hubs, located in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. Volta aims to create a space where members of the Atlantic Canadian innovation ecosystem can work, connect and learn from one another by accessing co-working space, events and programs.



Innovacorp is Nova Scotia’s early stage venture capital organization. They find, fund and foster innovative Nova Scotia start-ups that strive to change the world. They are especially interested in start-ups in the information technology, life sciences, clean technology and ocean technology sectors and want to help those companies commercialize their technologies and succeed in the global marketplace. Early stage investment is at the core of what they do. They also give entrepreneurs access to world-class incubation facilities, expert advice, and other support to help accelerate their companies.



Date(s) - 20/11/2018
9:00 am - 5:00 pm