Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! Hopefully you had a chance to check out some events from last week’s U of T Entrepreneurship Week
. I was able to catch Tuesday’s pitch competition, where ten U of T startups vied for $50,000 in prizes, shared among five winners.
For early-stage startups, first place was NerveX Neurotechnologies
, which is developing neural interfaces that could allow for the repair — and augmentation — of the nervous system. Second place went to Elaya, a device for ICUs which delivers neuromuscular electrical stimulation. In later-stage startups, Alt Tex
took the top spot with their innovation which turns food waste into bioplastic, while Revolve Surgical
went away with second place for their hybrid manual-robotic surgical robot. Alt Tex and FyyneHQ
, a platform connecting clients with premium hair artists, shared the Dongjun Wang Family True Blue Prize. Congratulations to all the winners!
Those weren’t the only pitch competition winners celebrating last week. HERStartup
, an entrepreneurial training and funding program for refugee women, wrapped up its first cohort
with a pitch event. The winning team took home $100,000 in prize money with Karegaroo
, an AI-powered app connecting parents to affordable and licensed child care services. If you’re looking for inspiration, look to the incredible women who took part in HERStartup’s program.
Those women might want to meet up with the new investor collective in town, Backbone Angels
. Made up of ten leaders from Shopify — all women — they’re looking to “invest in women and non-binary founders with a focus on investments in Black, Indigenous, and Women of Colour-led companies.” Shopify’s success has turned many of its employees into millionaires. These women are looking to use that wealth
and their experiences to bring more perspectives and representation to Canada’s funding landscape.
Look for ICUBE UTM’s Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program in the community opportunities. It’s a 16-week program which uses traditional knowledge to build pathways to success for Indigenous entrepreneurs
. Applications close Tuesday, so get in quickly! The deadline for the Next Founders program
is also fast-approaching, with submissions due on Wednesday, Look below in our community opportunities for more.
Another cohort of startups has recently emerged from their pre-seed accelerator stage, and you’re invited to see the results. Graduates from Founder Institute’s Toronto program
will show off their work Wednesday evening. You might just get to witness Toronto’s next great startup.
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.
Based on traditional knowledge and created in partnership with Indigenous experts, this program aims to build career competencies, eliminate barriers, facilitate partnerships and mentorships, and build pathways to success for Indigenous entrepreneurs and change-makers. Built around the Anishinaabe medicine wheel, the 16-week program will start with personal development, healing and reconciliation, followed by community building. After a foundation has been built, the program will focus on venture or community project creation based on the identified interests of the cohort.
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!