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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto - Is 2021 the year for your idea to shine? Start here!

Welcome to 2021, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! We're off to a rough start to be sure, and life
Issue #32  •  January 11  •  View online  •  Suggest a link
Locally curated talks, workshops, and other events for those interested in creating a startup, growing one, or who want to connect with startups in the Greater Toronto Area.
Welcome to 2021, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! We’re off to a rough start to be sure, and life under lockdown continues to be difficult, demoralizing, and depressing for many. It’s OK to be tired. It’s OK to feel frustrated. It’s OK to feel slow and unproductive. Give yourself, your coworkers, and your employees the space to heal and manage the unique hardships we’re all facing.
This year can still be the year you take your idea or early-stage startup to the next level. The pandemic will continue to bring disruption for some time, which means opportunities abound for those who can recognise them. Take Xesto, a startup with roots in the University of Toronto. Buying shoes online often involves some guesswork and finger-crossing when it comes to fit. Xesto hopes to change that with its shoe-sizing app, identifying foot sizes within 1.5 millimetres thanks to collaboration with researchers at UofT.
That collaboration between Xesto and UofT was made possible by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) program which supports research and development collaborations between companies and universities. If you’re interested in learning more about this program, check out Tuesday’s event on the OCE grant application process.
Alongside grants, there are two new opportunities available to you in these early days of 2021. Ryerson’s DMZ is offering a six-week bootcamp to support early-stage Black tech founders with exposure to the many facets of entrepreneurship. The Founder Institute is also accepting applications for its Waterloo-Toronto cohort. (BTW, the Founder Institute also has programs in Western Canada and Montréal. If you know people in those regions, be sure to let them know.) More information on these two opportunities can be found below.
Community Opportunities
Here are some upcoming deadlines for applying to accelerators, grants and funding, or other competitions. Don’t miss out! If you know of others, please submit any application deadlines and I’ll post them if they’re relevant.
The Black Innovation Bootcamp is a six-week program designed to support very early-stage Black tech founders. The Bootcamp aims to help founders validate their ideas and market opportunity, as well as build their first prototype and MVP.  Founders get exposure to the different domains important in building a venture: sales, marketing, operations, technology, finance, leadership and more. You’ll also benefit from DMZ’s core programming such as coaching from entrepreneurs-in-residence, expert workshops, and dedicated support from a DMZ Program Lead. Upon completing the Bootcamp, startups will have a chance to fast track their application to our core Black Innovation Program.
Trying to find your footing during these uncertain times? YEDI is here to help! The YEDI Incubator program presents an intensive 16-session program and guided process including lecture-based learning, seminar training, deliverable milestones, peer workshops and mentorship by subject matter experts. Offering a hybrid entrepreneurial environment comprising of innovators from a diversity of sectors. At the end of the term, entrepreneurs have the unique benefit of graduating with a formal Executive Education Centre at the Schulich School of Business certificate and pitch their ventures to investors at the YEDI Venture Fair.
At the Founder Institute, you won’t “learn” how to build a business. Rather, you will build your business alongside top startup experts using a proven, structured process that has helped some of the world’s fastest growing companies raise over $950M in funding. Over the course of four months, founders and teams can either launch through basic or advanced tracks via the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator. Build your startup along the Innovation Corridor and Silicon Valley and build your worldwide network of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and alumni.

Have a great week, and stay well!
Ian Stevens ◦

Calling Startups in Supply Chain Innovation

Techstars Sustainability ChallengeThe Techstars Sustainability Challenge is an equity-free challenge that brings together founders with industry leaders in sustainability. Top Supply Chain solutions in the areas of Data & Automation and Materials & End-of-life Impact will have access to potential commercial opportunities with our corporate partners. We are looking for proven technologies that are able to be pilotable in 2021.
Applications are now open and close March 1, 2021.

Need help writing successful Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) grant applications? Communitech and OCE are focused on working with companies in the deep tech space (AI, IoT, robotics, MedTech, etc.) by providing funding, supporting infrastructure programs and coaching. Join us as we answer all your questions about how to apply and make use of government grants such OCE’s NGNP and ENCQOR grants, and SR&ED.

FemSTEM is committed to supporting women and building valuable, diverse connections, uplifting women in STEM who are looking to create their own business. Our goal at H2i is to grow the infrastructure, practice, and local culture to translate discoveries and ideas into problem solving designs, services and product. Come hear from our panel of extraordinary women entrepreneurs on their lived experiences innovating in the health space.

Find out how you can grow a company that cares not only about profit, but also people and the planet. By developing a values-driven ethos that impacts every element of your organization, you can better support your employees, customers, and other partners. Join us for a conversation with Philip Behn, CEO of Imperfect Foods. In 2015, Imperfect Foods launched to sell fruits and vegetables rejected by grocery stores due to cosmetic blemishes. They also aspire to build a better food system for everyone, supporting donation programs, low-income families, and more.   •   Share

During our open office hour, we’ll be having conversations about why entrepreneurship is the career path to scale your ambition, what we look for in future founders, applying to EF and our admissions process, and what our programme looks like in detail.

A business plan is vital to any startup. It often outlines the company’s vision and key strategic priorities that give investors and potential business partners an opportunity to gain deep insights into the startup. Often, the business plan is distilled into a business model canvas as well, providing founders an opportunity to really think through their business. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to write a business plan, and familiarize yourself with the techniques and skills required to de-risk the startup phase of your next great company. 

Building A Sustainable Supply Chain Ask Me Anything Series

Sustainable Supply Chain AMAJoin Techstars on January 28 at 11am ET as we chat with sustainability startups Ixon Food Technology and Big Wheelbarrow, along with industry leaders Cargill and EcoLab to learn how they’re applying startup technology to help reduce food waste throughout the food supply chain. This event will provide you with actionable insights you can apply to your own sustainable supply chain initiatives. Register now!
Techstars Startup Digest Toronto is curated by:
Ian Stevens Ian Stevens -
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