Canadaâ€™s Startup Powerhouse The University of Toronto has launched more startup companies than any other university in North America over the last three years.* Donors have played a key role in U of Tâ€™s emergence as a global innovation hot spot. Gifts have helped create accelerators, incubators, labs, institutes and other innovation hubs that enable a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The Engines of Innovation
Entrepreneur Francis Shen (MASc 1983), a graduate of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) and a member of the Boundless campaign executive, has committed a $1 million donation to establish a new entrepreneurial incubation program at UTIAS called Start. The purpose of this program is to provide mentorship, networking and funding to graduate students with promising ideas for commercial ventures.
Across the Universityâ€™s three campuses, researchers and students receive entrepreneurial guidance and mentorship in seed capital, intellectual property protection, market strategies and other key supports to commercializing breakthroughs. This map outlines the innovation hubs at U of T that offer such services.
The Heffernan Hatchery at U of T Engineering helps students refine product ideas and provides critical support including legal, accounting, marketing and intellectual property guidance to help them realize their goals. In 2014 Gerald Heffernan (BASc 1943) continued a legacy of support with a $5 million gift to fund new fellowships and name the Hatchery.
The Institute for Management and Innovation at U of T Mississauga takes an innovative approach to business education by fusing management skills with specific disciplines such as biotechnology, forensic accounting and sustainability. The City of Mississauga is investing $10 million over 10 years to help launch the Institute.
*Source: Association of University Technology Managers