The time has never been better to be an entrepreneur at the University of Toronto.
Yesterday, U of T announced that it will receive more than $3 million in funding from the Ontario government to increase training and support for student entrepreneurship.
Offered through the Ontario’s new Campus-Linked Accelerator Program (CLA), the $3,056,000 of funding over two years will enable U of T to better coordinate its entrepreneurship activities, expand the base of students exposed to entrepreneurship at the university and enhance the quality of training, said Scott Mabury, U of T’s vice-president of university operations.
“The University of Toronto has long been a leader in fostering entrepreneurship,” Mabury said. “This new investment allows us to strengthen the impact of our range of initiatives and intensify our ties with the regional innovation ecosystem.”
In fact, U of T produces more startups than any other university in Canada and is already home to a diverse ecosystem of entrepreneurship supports, including accelerators, programs, courses, classes and co-curricular organizations.
One such accelerator, U of T Engineering’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery, has nurtured successful startups like FuelWear and Modly, and engages students through speaker series, idea markets, weekend competitions, expert mentorship, access to the Faculty’s resources and more.
“I am excited about the opportunities this funding will create for the Hatchery and future participants,” said Joseph Orozco, the Hatchery’s executive director. “The Hatchery aims to change the mindset of our students, to foster merit and passion, while learning core business principles. They will leave our program with key competencies that will help them shape their own careers, and have also pushed some great ideas forward.”
The Hatchery works in tandem with other accelerators on campus and around Toronto, including Rotman’s Creative Destruction Lab, the Impact Centre in the Faculty of Arts & Science, the MaRS centre and UTEST, part of the Innovations and Partnerships office. U of T’s Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will operate as an umbrella accelerator to coordinate entrepreneurship activities across the University’s three campuses.
“Fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students is a key component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, through programs that help transfer their ideas and skills to the marketplace while creating rewarding careers,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s minister of research and innovation and minister of training, colleges and universities.
“By partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, we are ensuring our province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today.”