ONRamp launches at University of Toronto to support student entrepreneurs

The University of Toronto and RBC officially launched ONRamp, a 15,000 square foot space dedicated to supporting student entrepreneurs.

Located in the university’s Banting Institute, ONRamp promises to connect entrepreneurs across the university’s several entrepreneurship hubs, and provide access to boardrooms and makerspaces. The RBC Innovation Hub is also housed within ONRamp.

ONRamp’s free coworking space is accessible to University of Toronto and Ontario-based university students.

“ONRamp provides a place where the entire community of U of T entrepreneurs, including our many talented student entrepreneurs, can get resources and access to wider networks that they need to grow their businesses,” said U of T president Meric Gertler.

Because of its proximity to MaRS and the financial district, Gertler said that the new hub is “ideally positioned” to foster talent and collaboration. Another hope is to fill a desire for experiential learning from students.

U of T’s ONRamp aims to give Ontario startups a leg up

The image of a tech company starting out in the family garage or basement is often truer than most people think. Finding a suitable and affordable office where a startup’s officials can meet potential investors or customers is a common challenge for cash-strapped entrepreneurs.

Startups in Ontario could have this problem licked soon. On Wednesday, the U of T Entrepreneurship’s new ONRamp facility, a 15,000-square-foot collaboration and co-working space catering to entrepreneurs and their startups, was officially opened.

ONRamp will serve as a “home-away-from-home” for entrepreneurs from other Ontario universities, according to an article written by Chris Sorensen for the U of T News.

The facility is Located in the Banting building at the U of T. ONRamp will not only connect entrepreneurs and startups from across U of T’s extensive network of entrepreneurship hubs but throughout southern Ontario via partnerships with Hamilton’s McMaster University and London’s Western University, said Sorensen.

U of T attracts Fujitsu Laboratories R&D centre to Toronto

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. is setting up a new research and development centre in Toronto to create the next breakthroughs in quantum-inspired computing as part of a new partnership with the University of Toronto.

“In partnering with the University of Toronto, you have come to the right place,” U of T President Meric Gertler told a Japanese delegation shortly before signing a memorandum of understanding with Shigeru Sasaki, CEO and representative director of Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., earlier this month. “We look forward to the great things we will accomplish together in the years to come.”

This marks the first R&D centre opened in Canada by Fujitsu Labs, a major engine of research and development in the world’s leading innovation clusters such as Silicon Valley, London and Shanghai.

A separate, independent centre for research collaboration will also be established at U of T, led by Ali Sheikholeslami, a professor in the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.

U of T launches new startup space in the heart of Toronto’s Discovery District

With the official launch of a new co-working space for startups, the University of Toronto and its partners are taking another bold step toward establishing Toronto as a nexus of innovation in Canada.

More than 200 people packed U of T Entrepreneurship’s new ONRamp facility today for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 15,000-square-foot space.

It’s a big leap forward for the entrepreneurship ecosystem at U of T and the city’s Discovery District, home to a booming number of startups and corporate giants.

ONRamp is “a space where ideas and energy can collide and bounce off one another, inspiring people to realize their ambitions, and leading to great new insights they wouldn’t have struck upon otherwise,” said U of T President Meric Gertler.

Entrepreneur or employee? Experts at U of T event to offer guidance to those contemplating a startup

Thinking of launching a startup? Building a business and shaping your own destiny can be incredibly rewarding – but being an entrepreneur may not suit everyone.

Nat Korol, a founding partner of a digital experience firm Hyphen Co., is among those with experience on both sides of the fence. Before striking out on her own, the U of T alumna spent a decade working in the financial and media industries for companies that include BMO Nesbitt Burns and Raymond James.

Similarly, Fotini Iconomopoulos, the founder of Forward Focusing, created a successful negotiation advisory practice for a global firm, but later decided to be her own boss.

The two will be addressing the subject at an upcoming Entrepreneurship 100 talk held by the University of Toronto’s Impact Centre, one of several entrepreneurship hubs at U of T. They will be joined by Sam Dumcum, the program co-ordinator at U of T Mississauga ICUBE accelerator.

Turning food waste into renewable bioplastics: The winners of U of T’s Hatchery Demo Day entrepreneurship competition

Twelve startups founded by engineering students pitched their visions to a room of judges, investors and faculty members at the fifth annual Hatchery Demo Day, held earlier this month at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

“Five years after we founded the Hatchery, the spirit of entrepreneurship continues to be the engine of all that we do,” said Joseph Orozco, executive director of The Entrepreneurship Hatchery, in his opening remarks. “We nurture the mindset for entrepreneurial thinking, and we have seeded the ideas that I believe will transform our society.”

Demo Day is the culmination of The Hatchery Nest program, a four-month accelerator that pairs student teams with experienced mentors to develop their businesses. They receive detailed feedback on their business plans, explore their proposed market, learn about patents and marketing and build prototypes using 3D printers and other fabrication resources.

A second Hatchery program, Hatchery Launch Lab, focuses on supporting startups built on graduate-level research in the faculty.

A space for startups: U of T’s ONRamp to connect Ontario entrepreneurs

One of the biggest challenges Albert Tai faced when launching a startup was finding the space to do it.

The co-founder of Hypercare, a communication and collaboration app for doctors, recalls bouncing from classroom to coffee shop at the University of Toronto as he and his team looked for places to hold meetings and work on their idea.

But that’s all about to change with Wednesday’s official launch of U of T Entrepreneurship’s new ONRamp facility, a 15,000-square-foot collaboration and co-working space catering to entrepreneurs and their startups.

Located in the Banting building, ONRamp will not only connect entrepreneurs and startups from across U of T’s extensive network of entrepreneurship hubs, but throughout southern Ontario via partnerships with Hamilton’s McMaster University and London’s Western University.

U of T is banking on the future of quantum computing

Forget teleporters and time travel—the most elusive tech triumph is the quantum computer, which would use the power of atomic and subatomic particles to perform mind-boggling processes. At the Creative Destruction Lab—an incubator based at U of T’s Rotman School of ­Management—tech wizards are banking on the quantum future. In September, 40 early-stage entrepreneurs from 16 countries will move to Toronto at the CDL’s expense to embark on a training course in quantum computing and machine learning. At the end of the program, everyone is free to go home or move to Silicon ­Valley—but they’ll have good reason to stay. Those who choose to open an office in Canada will be eligible for an automatic $80,000 (U.S.) to create their own start-ups.


Augmented Reality is a Reality

Augmented World Engines, which builds augmented reality apps for smartphones, is best known for its virtual reality walking tour of Fort York. As visitors walk around the site, they can use a headset to see computer-generated representations of the area at different points in history, including a 3-D rendering of what it would have been like to be among the British troops while Americans were invading during the War of 1812. AWE is currently working on a smartphone app, ­Geogram, that allows users to tag real-world spaces with digital photos and videos.

Impossible Things
This OCAD-based start-up, founded in 2016, created ReBlink for the Art Gallery of Ontario. When smartphone users load this whimsical app, they see AR versions of nine of the gallery’s canvases. A 1919 portrait of the Italian heiress Luisa Casati springs to life, as she reaches out a virtual arm to snap a selfie with a virtual smartphone on a stick. A 19th-century painting of three boys lounging on a brick parapet transforms into a shot of the three boys against the Toronto skyline, each holding a virtual smartphone.

A decade ago, Parham Aarabi, a prof in U of T’s engineering faculty, was trying to teach computers to read lips. His technology was so effective at tracking the borders of the human mouth that he soon ­discovered another application for it: virtual makeovers. ModiFace’s app allows customers to apply virtual makeup to real-time mirror images of their faces, then buy the products that look best—participating brands include Estée Lauder and Sephora.