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StartUP HERE takes off to support entrepreneurs and share success stories

StartUp HERE launch at Shopify

The City of Toronto launched StartUP HERE Toronto platform to celebrate the rich startup, technology and innovation community  in Toronto and KW and share success stories with the world.
The new StartUP HERE Toronto platform is one of the many more initiatives to come and a new way to profile and support entrepreneurs and investors interested in starting, growing, and funding companies in Toronto and KW.
Marcus Daniels, Co-Founder and CEO of HIGHLINE, says it's refreshing to see the city taking leadership and collaborating the Toronto's entrepreneurs to better drive the innovation agenda. "Being a pan-Canadian pre-seed VC, the StartUp HERE platform will provide an agonistic vehicle that should foster better collaboration amongst ecosystem players and a more unified voice to market our innovation hub globally. A focused spotlight on our amazing founders building world-class companies here should definitely help attract both more global investment and corporate engagement," Daniels told YongeStreet. 

The joint announcement by Toronto’s Mayor John Tory and Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener, held at Shopify’s Toronto headquarters, marked the beginning of what looks like a tighter, more strategic and coordinated approach to uniting the region. Both mayors talked about the importance of a better transit link between the cities, and a renewed call for collaboration to build Toronto-KW into a powerful corridor to help local companies compete globally.

“Toronto and the Waterloo Region are no further apart than San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and are home to a diverse, highly educated population and game changing ideas,” said Mayor Tory. "A rising tide lifts all boats. Together, we can take on the real competition, which is Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, Chicago, and centres elsewhere beyond North America. We will be stronger together, and Toronto stands to benefit immensely from that."

The City of Toronto brought variety of stakeholders into the process of making StartUP HERE happen, and partnered with Cossette as a result of the consultations. “I was invited into a conversation early in the process, and the initial vision the City had centered around Toronto being a startup gateway, which felt more like a place you’d be passing through. I thought that maybe we could come up with a brand and an identity with a statement and conviction,” Joe Dee, VP, Product and Technology Strategy at Cossette told YongeStreet.

“StartUP HERE is really something that can work for this city. It’s a privilege for Cossette to be working on it and bringing to the community what we do well. We worked with the City to create the design assets, a strong call to action and an inclusive brand identity, a good website from the design/UX perspective. We wanted to be a good partner and help bring StartUP HERE to life, make the statement for the city, go beyond the understated Toronto identity, and celebrate our success. Working with Chris Rickett and Nirvana Champion who led this effort on behalf of City of Toronto has been a fun, extraordinary journey. They made sure everyone who had a voice within the community had an avenue to express their opinions, and they kept the project moving.”

Daniels and many others in the startup and tech community share this sense of optimism, happy to see the City involved in such proactive way. "I believe this is a great start and I'm very confident in our city's leadership to build impactful momentum to give our entrepreneurs an edge going forward," Daniels said. To date, the new StartUP HERE platform featured profiles of several local companies, including 500px, 21 Toys, Freshbooks, and Brika, with many more to follow. 

StartUP HERE features a calendar of local events, workshops, and entrepreneurship and technology news, as well as jaw-dropping statistics on the Toronto-KW tech cluster. Together we have more than 15,000 technology companies employing more than 200,000 people along a 100 km corridor – creating the second largest technology cluster in North America, according to the City's site. Toronto is Canada’s corporate headquarters and a growing centre of finance, industry-led R&D and venture capital, with a stable economy and a competitive tax rate. Waterloo Region has the second highest density of startups in the world, along with the headquarters of some of Canada’s largest technology companies and development offices for leading global companies.

It's a good start and an encouraging sign of what's to come as more companies choose to start, grow, create and succeed here, whether you're in Toronto or Kitchener-Waterloo.

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