Toronto has a thriving community of entrepreneurs — but it didn’t happen overnight. Building the city’s rich community of startups, artists and non-profits took decades, and required considerable support from accelerators and incubators.
Through coaching, networking and investment, these organizations lift Toronto’s business community, create jobs and grow companies well beyond their municipal borders. According to a recent survey of 36 innovation hubs conducted by the Innovation Economy Council for the City of Toronto, these centres are supporting 5,293 startups across more than 11 sectors. Diverse in makeup and offerings, these accelerators and incubators fuel the city’s economy and culture.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur looking to accelerate your venture’s growth or simply curious about whether entrepreneurship is the right path for you, there’s a program that can help. Here is a brief overview of Toronto’s top innovation hubs.
Access Community Capital Fund
What it does: Access Community Capital Fund provides microloans ($5,000 to $15,000) for people with poor or no credit scores, and those that cannot access loans from traditional banks. Access Community Capital Fund has supported roughly 200 companies across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area since being founded in Toronto in 1999. With the advent of remote work, the group is now looking to expand offerings throughout Ontario. Sectors it works in: Construction, digital media, arts and culture, hospitality, cosmetics, service
Standout program: The Women’s Business Accelerator helps new Canadian women build profitable companies through coaching and networking. And its Small Business Accelerator features a series of workshops to help entrepreneurs hone business plans, network with industry professionals and improve pitching skills.
Who it’s best for: Underserved and lower-income groups
Notable alumni: Securegard; Detailing Knights
Artscape Daniels Launchpad
What it does: Artscape Daniels Launchpad is a studio, co-working and event space for artists and entrepreneurs working in creative industries. Launchpad programs are the product of more than 10 years’ research and collaboration with Ontario’s leading educational institutions.
Sectors it works in: Digital media, film and television, music, fashion, arts and culture, carpentry, metal work
Standout programs: Along with office space, Launchpad also provides courses on such topics as business law and regulation, bookkeeping and press relations. And these courses are available to non-members as well for varying fees.
Who it’s best for: Artists and creative entrepreneurs
The Big Push
What it does: The Big Push is a virtual equity-for-service accelerator for women-led companies.
Sectors it supports: Agnostic
Standout programs: Entrepreneurs work with a team of experts from scale-up companies and receive mentorship in all areas of business (including PR, marketing, BD/sales, product management, HR and finance) to design and execute on growth plans. Participants get access to the playbooks of scale-up companies and support from their executive teams. For early-stage entrepreneurs, the Big Push also offers half-day interactive virtual workshops that unpacks the fundamentals of moving from idea to growth.
Who it’s best for: Women-led pre-seed to seed-stage tech companies seeking hands-on capacity building and funding support. BIPOC founders currently represent 35 percent of alumni.
Notable alumni: Artery, which turns unconventional spaces into performance spaces for artists; and Pillcheck, which predicts how an individual will respond to medication, based on genetics.
Canada’s Music Incubator
1731 Lawrence Ave. E.
Toronto, M1R 2X7
What it does: Canada’s Music Incubator supports self-employed artists and entrepreneurs, as well as music-sector infrastructure development; it also advocates for creative-entrepreneurship education in secondary schools. Canada’s Music Incubator has booked more than 500 shows, with nearly $1 million in revenue going to emerging artists. The organization takes no stake, and offers free services beyond residency.
Sectors it works in: Music, arts and culture
Standout programs: AE West supports artists working in Western and Northern Canada, with participants taking a five-week residency at Studio Bell in Calgary.
Who it’s best for: Music-industry artists and entrepreneurs
Notable alumni: Porch Swing Entertainment; Iskwē
Canadian Film Centre Media Lab
What it does: The Canadian Film Centre Media Lab provides bespoke training, mentorship and connections to digital-media entrepreneurs, particularly those working in virtual reality and augmented reality. The Media Lab is looking to expand membership to more female business owners from Black and Indigenous communities, as well as other minority groups.
Sectors it supports: Digital media, film and television, arts and culture
Standout programs: In 2020, the CFC launched Fifth Wave, a feminist accelerator mixing radical philosophy with traditional business practices.
Who it’s best for: Artists and creative entrepreneurs
Notable alumni: Stitch Media; Podyssey
Craft & Design Studio, Harbourfront
235 Queens Quay W.
Toronto, M5J 2G8
What it does: An open-concept creative space housing an artist-in-residence program for glass, textile, ceramic, metal and design work.
Sectors it supports: Visual arts
Standout programs: The Craft & Design Studio runs a unique career-oriented three-year artist-in-residence program. The studio provides a stepping stone between school and a professional career for artists in the craft and design field with a self-directed learning ethos. Artists get space to create, networking connections, funding support, mentorship and exhibition opportunities.
Who it’s best for: Post-graduate artists
Notable alumni: Alumni teach across Canada at schools including Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Kwantlen PolyTech University, NSCAD University, OCAD University, and University of Regina.
372 Bay St., 2nd floor
Toronto, M5H 2W9
What it does: Highline Beta connects startups and corporations, helping both grow by accessing the tech, talent and capital of Canada’s innovation ecosystem. Already stationed in five cities, Highline Beta recently launched the Station Fintech Montréal accelerator, which is dedicated to partnering fintech startups with Quebec’s traditional financial institutions.
Sectors it works in: Advanced manufacturing, cleantech, digital media, fintech, food, construction, biotech, etc.
Standout programs: The Venture Studio helps large companies create and uncover new startups — as well as other accelerators — by channelling corporate resources, tailoring services and investing alongside the client.
Who it’s best for: Science-and-tech entrepreneurs
Notable alumni: 100+ Accelerator; Relay
146 30th St., Unit 100
Toronto, M8W 3C4
What it does: indieFilmTO is an incubator and co-working space for filmmakers and artists.
Sectors it supports: Film
Standout programs: The three-month program applies the lean startup methodology to film pitching, marketing and distribution. The goal is to help filmmakers get their project made, seen and funded. Participants have access to mentorship, work spaces, events and business services such as bookkeeping, legal. For graduates, the annual indiefilmTO film fest celebrates short films produced, directed and shot by Torontonians.
Who it’s best for: Entrepreneurial independent filmmakers
Notable alumni: Sorren Isler, who wrote and produced the short film La Maisonette.
What it does: LatAm Startups works exclusively with international startups (particularly from Latin America), helping them enter the Canadian market, set up headquarters in Toronto, and then scale around the world. The accelerator is a dedicated organization in the federal government’s Start-up Visa Program.
Sectors it works in: Advanced manufacturing, digital media, fintech, food, cleantech, construction, fashion, biotech, etc.
Standout programs: Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, LatAm was actually able to expand its cohort of companies via online training.
Who it’s best for: Non-Canadian startups looking to set up shop in Canada.
Notable alumni: Godelius; Smart Dent; MountX Real Estate Capital
MaRS Discovery District
What it does: MaRS supports Canada’s startups and scale-ups, while also helping governments, institutions and corporations advance and adopt new technology. MaRS works in socially-responsible innovation — since 2000, the hub’s programs have positively impacted close to 20 million lives.
Sectors it works in: Health, cleantech, fintech, enterprise, advanced manufacturing and platform technologies
Standout programs: MaRS Momentum is focused on helping the country’s most-promising scale-ups reach $100 million in annual revenue and create 18,000 jobs by 2024.
Who it’s best for: Startups and scale-ups
Notable alumni: Wealthsimple; Amplify Capital; Bitmoji
What it does: This scale-up hub offers the vital missing-middle support to help ventures grow from seed to Series A, including flexible office spaces and online programming. OneEleven was forced to cease operations in May 2020 due to financial strain of the pandemic. However, it reopened last fall, once again operating under a non-profit model as it did when it first launched in 2013. “Everyone’s been fantastic about coming together as a community,” says managing director Matthew Lombardi. “At the height of the pandemic, we’ve had 13 companies sign up in the first month to return, which is nothing short of miraculous in terms of how excited companies here are to have OneEleven back.”
Sectors it supports: Agnostic
Standout programs: The 55,000-square-foot Toronto facility is home to a community of high-potential ventures. (Fast-growing companies can add extra seats as needed.) There are facilitated peer groups and coaching specific to various roles. And ventures can now access OneEleven’s full range of member benefits (including health plans, events, programming, mentorship and venture capital hours) on a monthly subscription, regardless of whether they choose to physically locate in the Toronto accelerator space.
Who it’s best for: Post-seed companies with product-market fit trending toward Series A; ventures seeking support and coaching for key hires.
Notable alumni: Borrowell, Clio, Humi, Koho, Maple, Tulip
Parkdale Centre for Innovation
What it does: Since opening its doors in 2017, the Parkdale Centre for Innovation has been supporting diverse founders, focusing on newcomers and people of colour.
Sectors it works in: Cleantech, construction trades, creative industries, digital and mobile media, fintech, food business, fashion, arts, music and biotech
Standout programs: It offers targeted programs for women entrepreneurs as well as early-stage ventures. Each cohort meets virtually an hour a week over three months, covering such topics as financing, marketing and creating a digital presence.
Who it’s best for: Diverse founders, especially those working in food security, smart technology and connected communities.
Notable alumni: CannaGuard Labs, Psymood
The Remix Project
What it does: The Remix Project provides training and co-working space to youth working in arts and entertainment. The incubator’s mission is to level the playing field for young people from marginalized populations.
Sectors it works in: Arts and culture, entertainment, digital media, fashion and music
Standout programs: Approximately 55 students per year enroll in one of three nine-month programs — recording arts (artist development, D.J.-ing, production, sound engineering); creative arts (graphic design, photography, visual arts); and business (for music, fashion, sports, P.R.).
Who it’s best for: Young entrepreneurs working in creative industries
Notable alumni: Jessie Reyez; Maryam Toson; Whyishnav
Scadding Court Community Centre
What it does: Scadding Court Community Centre strives to lift up individuals and families, strengthen neighbourhood resiliency, and build a better Toronto. The centre has fuelled entrepreneurship and social enterprise since 2012, when it launched Market 707, Toronto’s first shipment-container market.
Sectors it works in: Philanthropy, food, fashion, arts and culture
Standout programs: The Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub, created in 2020, in partnership with Ryerson University and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada offers wraparound support for immigrants and refugees to help them gain hands-on learning, training and establish a permanent business or find employment. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub (WE-Hub) offers mentorship, networking and support for low-income, self-identifying women. And its e-Hub Propel Project is a free e-commerce program that is funded by the eBay Foundation.
Who it’s best for: New Canadians, families, community outreach programs, seniors, people living with disabilities, etc. The program offers culturally-responsive programming and such supports as childminding, settlement, translation services and mental health support referrals.
Notable alumni: Cookie Martinez; Gushi; Nil’s Pocket Bakery
School for Social Entrepreneurs
What it does: School for Social Entrepreneurs is an incubator that focuses on capacity building for individuals, so they can launch enterprises that benefit the community.
Sectors it supports: Social enterprise
Standout programs: SSE’s philosophy is one of “unlearning” the deeply embedded notions we tend to hold, such as leadership being a trait held only by a special few. “We want them to focus on what is the value you’re providing, what is the impact you want to give in your community, and how are you going to make it viable and then build it up more organically,” says SSE managing director Chryssa Koulis. Incubator participants are coached by experienced social entrepreneurs and visit enterprises in their community to learn first-hand. It also offers online learning sprints that teach the fundamentals of social entrepreneurships.
Best for: Toronto residents of all backgrounds who have an idea or business with a community benefit.
Notable alumni: Past fellows have gone on to build social enterprises focused on justice reform; climate change adaptation and mitigation; income inequality; affordable housing and education. For instance, Ohemaa Boateng, founded Baby Steps Childcare, which offers onsite event childcare and unique parent/child workshops in marginalized communities, and Hayley Mundeva launched Thrive Hire, a hiring site for global health workers.
What it does: SheEO provides zero-interest loans to ventures that are majority-led by women or non-binary individuals, who are working on some of the world’s most pressing issues. With chapters in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., SheEO has helped 73 ventures access more than $6 million in funding.
Sectors it supports: Social ventures and non-profits aligned with the U.N.’s Sustainability Goals.
Standout programs: Each year, a cohort of five entrepreneurs are chosen from thousands of applicants across the country and receive an interest-free loan and a year of coaching. These leaders determine how the $500,000 loan is shared. An exercise in cooperation and generosity, there’s only one rule: the money can’t be divided equally. Sponsors contribute to the fund each month. In exchange, they vote on the beneficiaries of these loans, and join a global community of women, to network and learn from their peers.
Best for: Women-led social ventures
Notable alumni: Skincare company Satya Organic and Alinker, a startup that builds a walking bike for people with mobility challenges.
Toronto Business Development Centre
What it does: Incubates Toronto-based companies and facilitates immigration for global entrepreneurs and tech talent, primarily through the Startup Visa program. Since opening its doors in 1989, it’s supported more than 9,000 ventures.
Sectors it supports: Agnostic
Standout programs: TBDC was one of the first designated organizations to administer Canada’s Startup Visa program. Today, it focuses on attracting and enabling global startups to establish Canadian headquarters in Ontario’s key innovation corridors. It also runs a number of programs to help people on social assistance, disabled people and teens (via Ontario’s Summer Company program) launch businesses.
Best for: International talent and global market connections
Notable alumni: Hydrostor, GFL, Tutor-Bright
Toronto Fashion Incubator
What it does: Founded in 1987, Toronto Fashion Incubator is the city’s first business incubator and the world’s first for fashion. Its model has been adopted in Paris, Milan, London and New York. TFI provides everything essential to fashion-sector success — guidebooks to local contractors, patternmakers and sewers; access to industrial equipment; P.R. services; etc.
Sectors it works in: Fashion, arts and culture
Standout programs: Fashion Your Future, held in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood from 2015 to 2017, engaged 144 youth and awarded $60,000 in grants. About 78 percent of those participants are still in business.
Who it’s best for: Entrepreneurs and startups working in the fashion industry
Notable alumni: Christopher Paunil; Foxy Originals; Greta Constantine
What it does: TribalScale builds digital products, modernizes corporations and creates startups. It also invests in product-creation labs with the ultimate goal of scaling its companies. TribalScale is global — the organization has business partners in Dubai, New York City, the Bay Area and, of course, the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area.
Sectors it works in: Digital media, cleantech, fintech, biotech
Standout programs: TribalScale uses agile practices to help transform teams and build digital projects and establish company creation labs. Each lab follows a detailed, proprietary process which encompasses ideation, filtering, prototyping, product development, iteration, and, eventually, company establishment and scaling.
Who it’s best for: Science-and-tech entrepreneurs; large enterprises looking to modernize.
Notable alumni: Every Financial (acquired by Wave); Radio.com
What it does: A fully-virtual accelerator, UPPlift unites entrepreneurs, policymakers, innovators and investors to build smarter, cleaner cities. UPPlift does not just accelerate innovation — the group manages it. Its platform allows clients like governments and BIAs to release calls for products, as well as map the progress of Canada’s innovation community to make better policy decisions.
Sectors it works in: Cleantech, construction, digital media, data analysis, safety and security, mobility, health
Standout programs: The Urban:ID Database tracks the progress of its more than 160 portfolio startups. It also alerts these companies to new opportunities with UPPlift and UPPlift customers.
Who it’s best for: Science-and-tech entrepreneurs, policymakers, corporations, community organizations.
Notable alumni: Level39 (Cognicity Hub); Cleantech Commons at Trent University; Toronto Region Board of Trade
Venturepark Labs Incubator Kitchen
What it does: Venturepark Labs is a non-profit initiative supporting early-stage entrepreneurs in the food and wellness categories. (Business icon Arlene Dickinson founded District Ventures Accelerator and District Ventures Kitchen in 2015; in May 2021 the initiative was renamed Venturepark Labs.) Its non-profit kitchen incubator in North York helps entrepreneurs develop their products and grow their businesses. Once entrepreneurs have established sales traction, they are eligible for Venturepark’s national accelerator program, which helps them build their products into national brands.
Sectors it works in: Food and wellness
Standout programs: In addition to its shared commercial kitchen space, Venturepark Labs delivers “Concept to Market Sprint,” a virtual program that helps entrepreneurs launch their food product ideas. Its national accelerator program has supported nearly 90 companies since 2015.
Who it’s best for: Food entrepreneurs who require a flexible manufacturing space and the resources to develop their food products.
Notable alumni: While its kitchen program has just been recently established, The Venturepark Labs ecosystem has several notable alumni, including Chickapea Pasta and Love Good Fats. Last year, alumni generated more than $150 million in sales.
Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology
What it does: Integrated into the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University, BEST allows early-stage tech ventures to explore different uses of their technology while also developing business skills.
Sectors it works in: Advanced manufacturing, cleantech, digital and mobile media, fintech, green building business, medical devices and drone technology
Standout programs: BEST offers student entrepreneurs 10,000 square feet of workshop and production space, in addition to accelerator and incubation support, mentorship, and access to eduatiocation resources and a global network of partners.
Who it’s best for: Lassonde School of Engineering students
Notable alumni: Odyssey 3D, which creates 3D scans of buildings, and Skygauge Robotics, which provides drone-based inspection services.
Centre for Entrepreneurship at Humber College
What it does: This early-stage entrepreneurship hub supports Humber students, alumni, staff and community at their earliest stages of entrepreneurship. In addition to providing accelerator and incubator support and training, the centre also features a media production studio, 3-D printing and demonstration areas.
Sectors it works in: Sector agnostic
Standout programs: Be Your Own Boss is a seven-week workshop series that zeros in on ideation, marketing as well as sales, finance and operations.
Who it’s best for: Early-stage entrepreneurs
Creative Destruction Lab
What it does: Founded at the Rotman School of Management, and with nine locations in North America and Europe, Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) targets seed-stage tech companies with the potential to become massive international players. The program’s mentors include former Google CFO Patrick Pichette, Tesla project director Shivon Zilis, and astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Sectors it works in: Biotech, fintech, smart cities, digital media, cleantech, supply chain, etc.
Standout programs: The CDL’s Space stream brings together astronauts, entrepreneurs, investors and scientists related to space exploration and transportation, satellite communications, Earth observation, automation and robotics.
Who it’s best for: Science-and-tech entrepreneurs
Notable alumni: Deep Genomics; BenchSci; Xanadu
GENIAL at York University
Glendon Campus, York University
2275, Bayview Ave.
Toronto, M4N 3M6
416-736-2100, ext. 88150
What it does: The business incubator at Glendon Entrepreneuriat et Innovation L’international (GENIAL) offers bilingual training, events and a research program in entrepreneurship and innovation to Glendon students and faculty as well as Ontario francophones.
Sectors it works in: Students in GENIAL create businesses in different sectors, such as education, food, art and beauty products, but they are not required to keep them after they graduate. The hub focuses on developing entrepreneurial skills.
Standout programs: Entrepreneurial Skills Passport (ESP) is a non-credited experiential learning program offered in French and English that is focused mainly on learning by doing. Student entrepreneurs learn the challenges of becoming an entrepreneur by starting their own companies.
Who it’s best for: Francophones who are interested in learning the skills to become an entrepreneur or intrapreneur
1750 Finch Ave. E.
Toronto, M2J 2X5
What it does: HELIX helps ventures from their earliest stages to launch, continuing its support once the company is in market and making revenue. HELIX supported 70 entrepreneurs in 2019, and has helped grow 560 ventures since 2014.
Sectors it works in: Advanced manufacturing, cleantech, construction, arts and culture, digital media, fintech, food
Standout programs: The hub’s InCITEful program brings in lawyers, accountants and marketers to share their expertise; Career Development programs deliver free virtual biweekly workshops throughout the year.
Who it’s best for: students, alumni as well as members of the community who are curious about entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship
Notable alumni: Tazwiz; The Little Blue Elephant; InStage
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Schulich School of Business Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, M3J 1P3
What it does: This virtual accelerator focuses on alumni and students of the Schulich Startups, fostering mentorship and commercialization support from its broad alumni network. It prioritizes commercialization and network acceleration over fundraising, and over the last two years, a growing number of enterprises, venture capital firms and angel investors have joined the community.
Sectors it works in: Advanced manufacturing, cleantech, creative industries, digital and mobile media, fintech, food business, green building business, arts, biotech, supply chain and logistics and e-commerce
Standout programs: The new Schulich Venture Series focuses on discussions with angel investors and venture capitalists. This year, it launched Together 2021, a competition and bootcamp with 400 online participants, created in partnership with Startup India.
Who it’s best for: Entrepreneurs taking courses at Schulich.
Notable alumni: Swyft
What it does: Innovation York, is the innovation office for York University and is made up of three entrepreneurship hubs: YSpace Markham, a physical incubator in downtown Markham; YSpace Digital, a virtual hub that delivers programming through workshops, accelerators, and speaker series; and ELLA, a women entrepreneurship program that delivers programming through two accelerators. It takes a founder-first approach to community, assisting participants at every step of the entrepreneurial life cycle. YSpace-supported ventures have to-date raised nearly $25 million and created close to 350 jobs in Southern Ontario.
Sectors it works in: Sector-agnostic
Standout programs: YSpace’s Food and Beverage Accelerator helps ventures scale in the consumer-packaged goods space. Innovation York is developing a new program within ELLA to support aspiring young woman entrepreneurs on campus develop startups.
Who it’s best for: Students, faculty, entrepreneurs in the surrounding community
Notable alumni: Doorr (acquired by Finastra); Mero
OCAD’s Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers
100 McCaul St.
Toronto, M5T 1W1
What it does: The CEAD works to help students and recent alumni realize their early-stage career goals in art and design with workshops, mentorship, job placements and networking opportunities. The centre organizes informal peer-to-peer sessions as well as provides on-one-on career advising.
Sectors it supports: Creative industries, digital and mobile media, music and arts
Standout programs: Fireside chats and targeted workshops cover everything from circular design to video game development.
Who it’s best for: Current OCAD students and recent graduates
What it does: Part of a province-wide initiative to build entrepreneurial support, startGBC opened its doors in 2015 to promote entrepreneurship as a career path for students. The centre holds regular workshops and networking events and also offers online resources, co-working spaces and mentorship.
Sectors it works in: George Brown College has seven academic centres, so startGBC supports a wide range of entrepreneurs in advanced manufacturing, cleantech, construction trades, creative industries, digital and mobile media, fintech, food business, green building business, fashion, music and the arts.
Standout programs: Its alternative co-op placement scheme allows budding entrepreneurs take a 12-week program to develop their business or social innovation enterprise.
Who it’s best for: Students, alumni as well as members of the community looking who are curious about entrepreneurship.
Notable alumni: full-service renovation contractor GroundUp Constructing, Safe Pod, a social enterprise offers anti-harassment workshops for companies, clothing company Cedar and Vine.
University of Toronto Entrepreneurship
What it does: The University of Toronto’s 10 Entrepreneurship accelerators, spread across its three campuses, have helped roughly 1,600 startups so far. These hubs, including the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Health Innovation Hub, the Hub UTSC and UTEST, offer a broad range of services. In 2023, the Centre for Entrepreneurship will be moving to the new 750,000 square-foot Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, the product of a $100-million gift from Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman.
Sectors it works in: Health, biotech, arts and culture, music, fashion, food, fintech, digital media, cleantech, advanced manufacturing
Standout programs: Though famous for its research, U of T also gives entrepreneurs access to hardware and infrastructure, including 3D printers, laser cutters and work space.
Who it’s best for: Students and faculty
Notable alumni: BlueDot; DNAstack
York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
What it does: York Entrepreneurship Development Institute is a charitable organization, business accelerator and academic institute whose mission is to provide top-tier business education and mentorship to innovative entrepreneurs from any sector or industry to help them build successful businesses and not-for-profit organizations. YEDI guides innovators to refine their ideas and create tested proof of concepts that are attractive to investors and will benefit Canadian society and the world.
Sectors it supports: Agnostic
Standout programs: YEDI offers two semester-long programs per year with distinct not-for-profit and for-profit streams. Participants enter the program with an idea or early stage venture; they graduate with a pressure-tested business model, business plan and network. YEDI’s Incubator Program is offered in partnership with the Schulich Executive Education Centre and offers graduates a chance to secure up to $30,000 in equity free funding. YEDI’s Business Acceleration Campuses in Toronto and York Region feature industrial, commercial, manufacturing and office units along with studies, labs and a theatre. Alumni are also eligible to apply to YEDI’s own Venture Capital fund for a chance to secure up to $500,000 in funding. YEDI is also designated under the Government of Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program and may assist international entrepreneurs seeking to start a business in Canada.
Who it’s best for: Entrepreneurs from any sector and any stage of development.
Notable alumni: Maxi Mind Learning Centers, The JRCC Furniture Depot
Zone Learning at Ryerson University
What it does: Ryerson University boasts 10 accelerators called zones, each focusing on a different industry: Biomedical Zone, Clean Energy Zone, Design Fabrication Zone, DMZ, Fashion Zone, iBoost, Legal Innovation Zone, Science Discovery Zone, Social Ventures Zone and TransMedia Zone. The 10 zones are spread across Ryerson’s downtown campus to promote collaboration with students, academics, local businesses, tech companies and neighbouring accelerators.
Sectors it works in: Health, cleantech, advanced manufacturing, fashion, philanthropy, digital media, etc.
Standout programs: The DMZ’s Black Innovation Programs help Black entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, access to capital and other crucial business support.
Who it’s best for: Graduates looking to apply their coursework
Notable alumni: Hyre; Ulula; Medstack