UTSC’s “The Hub” gives student apps a starting place

Ever wish you could check your phone to see what events are going on around you? Ravi Ravindran has an app for that. Want a smart music player that is influenced by your environment and your friends? Kenneth Leung is part of a team working on it. Or what if you could binge-enter dozens of online prize contests at once? Prateek Rao has the answer for you. All three UTSC students have been working on these projects out of The Hub, a unique space in the Instructional Centre that promotes student entrepreneurship and innovation. Students from any discipline can go to The Hub with an idea and meet others, including faculty, who may be able to help them develop it and perhaps start a company.

The art and science of entrepreneurship: this PhD in classics is bringing wearable tech to kids

Launching a startup that teaches kids to code by creating magic wands or bracelets may seem an unlikely career move for a PhD in classics – but for University of Toronto alumnus Christopher Wallace, it’s a perfect fit. Wallace recently translated his scholarly interest in social tumult from the ancient world into a role as chief learning officer at Linkitz. The startup is developing wearable toys that teach kids – especially girls – to code.

Startup world: U of T entrepreneurs take their companies to OCE Discovery conference

University of Toronto entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors showed off their startups at the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery conference April 27 and 28 – making connections and sharing best practices for Toronto-based companies in the global economy. “It was a great opportunity to really see the full impact of U of T on the provincial landscape,” said Karen Sievewright of U of T’s Banting & Best Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. “Every corner I turned there was a U of T innovator or organization or entrepreneur and a lot of the featured technologies and successes – I’d say the majority – were also associated with U of T.”

Why did U of T name its entrepreneurship hub after Banting and Best?

They saved lives here at home and around the world and they launched the first cohort of entrepreneurs at the University of Toronto – in 1923. “Banting wasn’t an entrepreneur. Best wasn’t an entrepreneur. But the emergence of insulin really was an example of entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto,” says Michael Bliss, historian and author of The Discovery of Insulin.

Alumni startup Nanoleaf creating green jobs in Toronto, China

It started with a viral campaign for the world’s most energy-efficient light bulb in 2013. Now, international media are also calling Nanoleaf a “green job” leader. Founded by University of Toronto engineering alumni Gimmy Chu, Tom Rodinger and Christian Yan, the company has grown from its days as a crowdfunded venture working from the founders’ apartments to a bi-continental company attracting investment from the likes of Li Ka Shing (dubbed “Asia’s richest man” by Bloomberg News).