Six square blocks of innovation

Cluster Description

The Toronto Region is home to a well-established innovation ecosystem network, all of which is contained within a few blocks of Toronto’s downtown core. The University of Toronto, Ryerson University, George Brown College, and OCAD University all produce research and train new entrepreneurs across a variety of fields. The post-secondary institutions feed into incubators and accelerators such as the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), Ryerson DMZ, and the Vector Institute. These incubators and accelerators then connect post-secondary students and faculty with the funding and expertise needed to turn specialized research and innovative ideas into start-up companies and eventually into larger firms.

The multiplicity of these accelerators and incubators provide access to groups who may not traditionally have avenues for expressing their entrepreneurism, such as students, immigrants, Indigenous Peoples, and women. These incubators and accelerators provide the support and tools necessary to build up new and existing clusters, attract and retain talent to help build up the cluster ecosystem, and provide spaces to resolve the business and social challenges facing the Toronto Region.

Why you should attend

  • Meet at least 3 of the world’s leading incubators and accelerators that are transforming innovation and talent into global leaders.
  • Learn how these organizations’ work cut across multiple clusters including health care, tech, artificial intelligence and serve as supporting organizations within a cluster ecosystem.
  • Walk through the Discovery District and see and learn about the many cluster ecosystem actors (firms, incubators, accelerators, academic institutions) that co-locate and collaborate within and across clusters.

Agenda

This is a walking tour. See below for dress code. 

08:45 AM
Gather in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel Toronto

09:00-09:15 AM
Walk to Ryerson DMZ, the #1 university-based incubator in the world according to UBI Global.

09:15-10:30 AM
At Ryerson DMZ, you will:

  • Learn about the DMZ and its services, and hear success stories.
  • Talk about the talent pipeline and diversity in Toronto and within the DMZ.

10:30-11:00 AM
Walk to Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, which started in 2003 and accelerates innovation and startups in Toronto, with a focus on social enterpeneurship and innovation with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

11:00-12:15 PM
At CSI Spadina, you will:

  • Learn about social innovation and the success stories of CSI.
  • Learn about how CSI fosters inclusion and diversity.

Social innovation refers to the creation, development, adoption and integration of new and renewed concepts, systems, and practices that put people and planet first.

12:15-01:00 PM
Walk to MaRS Discovery District, one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs.

01:00-02:00 PM
At MaRS, you will:

  • Have lunch with your fellow delegates.
  • Learn about MaRS and some of its organizations that are incubating and accelerating startups and companies in the Toronto Region by focusing on innovation and talent.
  • Learn about the Vector Institute, an independent not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing the field of artificial intelligence through world-class research and applications in the areas of deep learning and machine learning. Hear how Vector increases the capacity of the talent pipeline and retention of talent to meet industry needs.

02:00-02:05 PM
Take the elevators to the Vector Institute.

02:05-02:35 PM
Hear from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management Professor Avi Goldfarb, Rotman Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Health Care, share from his new book, Prediction Machines: The simple economics of artificial intelligence.

02:35-03:30 PM
Participate in a mini-charrette focused on creating the workplace of the future.

03:30 PM
Walk to the Chelsea Hotel Toronto or Rotman School of Management.

Dress Code

  • Wear comfortable footwear and clothing that will keep you warm when walking through the streets of Toronto.
  • Bring an umbrella and water bottle.  

Meet your Organizers

The City of Toronto’s Sector Development Office is the City’s lead for supporting key sectors of Toronto. Its mission is to advance competitiveness and vitality in the key sectors, based on its strategic knowledge and expertise. Its team of economic development professionals is committed to collaborating with businesses and partners to maximize business growth and overcome the challenges businesses face. 

Vector Institute is an independent not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing the field of artificial intelligence through world-class research and applications in the areas of deep learning and machine learning. Hear how Vector increases the capacity of the talent pipeline and retention of talent to meet industry needs.

Ryerson University is at the intersection of mind and action. What our students learn in the classroom is enhanced by real-world knowledge and experience. We champion diversity, entrepreneurship and innovation

MarS Discovery District brings together educators, researchers, social scientists, entrepreneurs and business experts under one roof. Founded by civic leaders, we have a mission that is equal parts public and private — an entrepreneurial venture designed to bridge the gap between what people need and what governments can provide.

 

Image credit: sohl, istockphoto