The Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University is home to one of the largest entrepreneurship departments in Canada, which includes major and minor degree programs plus two MBAs. Students are taught by experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who have started dozens of companies and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs raise more than $2 billion in financing.
The Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute (REI) is the only student-run entrepreneurial centre in Canada, and its mandate is to help students and alumni bring their ideas into reality through the StartMeUp Program, education, resources, funding, research and outreach.
The Ryerson Angel Network, the first university-led Angel Investor group in Canada, also offers funding, resources and mentorship to a selection of startups.
“Through all these programs, we’ve impacted more than 10,000 people, worked one-on-one with 800 entrepreneurs, helped to support 100 start-up businesses, created a few hundred jobs, and worked with a variety of audiences including students, at risk youth, young mothers, clean tech entrepreneurs, women in Kenya, Ryerson alumni, and the list goes on,” said Steve Gedeon, a professor of entrepreneurship and strategy and the directory of the Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute and the Ryerson Angel Network.
The first step for an innovator who wants to access these services is to visit www.startmeupryerson.com and register for an idea consultation, he explained. Once companies are involved in the program they have access to education events, CEO round tables, mentorship opportunities and more.
For Daniel Shain, the opportunities provided by Ryerson have been invaluable. “I didn’t come from a technology background,” said the founder of Finizi, “So I didn’t know a lot of people in the industry. Being part of Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, the CEO Society, and the Business Plan Competition helped me grow my network and build my business.”
Finizi (finance made easy) is a free online platform where financial institutions can bid for the business of customers in live auctions. “We eliminate the need for people to shop around in order to get good rates on GICs,” explained Shain. Eventually Finizi will grow to include other investment and lending products.
“I came from a banking background and I recognized an inconsistency in the way financial products were being sold,” he said. “Our long-term vision is to be a one-stop shop for all financial planning, mortgages, car loans, and other investments.”
This piece is part of our on-going coverage of innovation in Canada. Please check out our big innovation contest at www.backbonemag.com/Startmeup.
Thanks to our sponsors: Alpha Group, HP Canada, WCIT 2012, Wildeboer Dellelce LLP, Export Development Canada (EDC), RBC Capital Markets, Orion, Ryerson Digital Media Zone, BCTIA Centre4Growth, Ceridian Canada, Financial Technology Partners, OCE Discovery 12.
Hailey Eisen is a Toronto-based freelance writer and editor and a Senior Writer with Backbone Magazine. Her work can be found online at www.haileyeisen.com. Follow her on Twitter @haileyeisen