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New entrepreneurship institute launches for Toronto and York Region

Many of Toronto's growing roster of accelerators, incubation labs, and other innovation centres are based in the downtown core--close to research facilities, universities, hospitals, and other amenities. But we need innovation across the city, and it's with just that goal in mind that a brand new accelerator, the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute, has been launched. The first cohort will begin the program this September.

One thing that organizers are emphasizing with this program in particular is the social and cultural value entrepreneurship can contribute to a community. Accepted fellows will fall into two groups: 10 entrepreneurs will be on a for-profit track, and another 10 on a not-for-profit track. YEDInstitute is hoping to support growth in traditional businesses and in non-profits equally, and is accepting applicants with an a wide range of sectors, from health and wellness to agriculture to real estate.

The goal, explains program director Dana Ayrapetyan, is to help the non-profit sector become more self-sufficient. "It is not as efficient as it could be," she says, and developing a stronger entrepreneurial culture around socially-motivated ventures is important for that reason.

More broadly, the 12-week program was created because the founders saw that "so many of the projects coming out of the current start-up ecosystem…had received seed funding but not necessarily long term business plan preparation, [and] couldn't establish long-term success. Those gems weren't really emerging."

YEDInstitute will combine both academic training with applied skills. Another contrast with other accelerators: selected participants won't receive funding up front, as part of their acceptance, but upon completion of the program they'll pitch the institute's own venture capital fund, for a chance to secure up to $500,000.

Applications are now open, and available online.

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Dana Ayrapetyan, Program Director, York Entrepreneurship Development Institute

Correction notice: We originally misdescribed the program as being a project of York University directly. In fact, it is based out of the Schulich Executive Education Centre, but does not belong to York University or the Schulich School of Business.
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