Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! This week is U of T Entrepreneurship Week, with talks and events showcasing what the university has to offer student founders, and celebrating the positive impact that innovation and startup activity can have on our economy, our health, and the planet. The events are open to the public
, and happening throughout the week. Bu sure to look for them in the events calendar.
Towards the beginning of the pandemic, we learned how a Toronto travel startup, Snaptravel — now called Snapcommerce Technologies — found its path to profitability
despite a downturn in flights. While other online travel agencies sustained steep drops, Snapcommerce thrived. Investors took notice, and the company recently announced it has raised US$65-million in equity financing. Learn how the company successfully pivoted to a personalized ecommerce marketplace
using mobile instant-messaging apps, something already popular in Asia,
If you’re also putting together an ecommerce startup and are interested in creating a company with a positive social impact, have a look at the eCommerce North Accelerator
. Participants of the six-month program will learn about social innovation, and how to have both a profitable and meaningful business. Look to our community opportunities for more information.
You don’t have to found a social innovation company to have a positive impact. If you have a passion for solving social challenges to improve lives, you may be interested in the upcoming Global Goals Jam Canada 2021. You’ll spend a weekend designing and hacking innovative solutions to challenges that can help Canada contribute to achieving the Global Goals
, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals. The event is the weekend of March 19
, with registration closing before then, so be sure to sign up. Look to the end of the events calendar below for more details.
We close with some insight into how bad ideas can result in more than just a waste of time. Last week saw a relaunch of a Toronto startup’s app, after seven years of existence. The founders recently announced the revamped app, Recipeasly, as “a new thing to fix online recipes — your favourite recipes except without the ads or life stories”. The recipes were trawled from the internet, and those ads and life stories weren’t just filler. They were creative outlets and revenue-generating content for those posting the original recipes. Recipeasly’s founders were predictably dragged
for exploiting the recipes and not attributing or compensating their creators.
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.
Next Founders accelerates the growth of Canada’s most promising entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, access to capital, and unparalleled entrepreneurial education taught by world-class faculty. Next Founders is our most flexible program, offering à-la-carte education from some of North America’s top minds that you can opt into based on your individual needs. The ideal applicant is building one of their first ventures, often has a STEM background with little formal business education, or are startup founders from top-tier accelerators, looking to complement their experience.
As millions of Canadians struggle to pay for today, save for tomorrow, and plan for the unexpected, they need help to better their financial lives. IFH Lab is a six-month program for early-stage startups designing real solutions to the most pressing financial health challenges Canadians face, particularly those most financially vulnerable. Selected startups receive access to mentorship with personalized guidance from founders, financial services executives, investors, and experts in financial health. Startup teams will also join a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs, exchange best practices, and get access to a broader network of investors and partners.
Today’s investors care about more than profitability; they care about social innovation. That’s why we offer a highly specialized six-month program that grows ecommerce startups into high-potential titans – but we don’t stop there. We teach you to consider social impact at every step, so your business is profitable and meaningful. Why should you have to choose? Participants get exclusive access to mentor network of successful founders, executives and subject matter experts, one-on-one coaching, fundraising professionals, and the reach of our Elevate platform. Be part of a program where boosting female founders and members of underrepresented groups is top of mind.
The events of this past year have created incredible challenges for all entrepreneurs, with studies showing that women in particular have been hardest hit by the global pandemic. This year, it’s more important than ever to elevate the women entrepreneurs and founders in our communities who continue to invest it all, demonstrating remarkable resilience and innovation in the face of all obstacles. It’s time to recognize their work in front of a national audience, and a nomination is the first step. If you know a Canadian founder that deserves some recognition, nominate her.
Have a great week, and stay well!