Jon French is the Director, University of Toronto Entrepreneurship (UTE). He is responsible for supporting and championing all entrepreneurship initiatives across U of T’s three campuses and provides leadership to the UTE team while managing ONRamp – 16,000 square feet of co-working and event space on St. George (downtown) campus. He is a central liaison for the leads of U of T’s accelerator programs and well networked with the university’s many industries, government and community partners that foster entrepreneurship. He will play a key role in establishing the new Schwartz Reisman Innovation Campus as an innovation hub for the university, the City of Toronto and Canada. He also has oversight of various external and internal funding programs for U of T entrepreneurs.

Jon has over a decade of experience at the intersection of the innovation economy and academia and is connected across industry and higher education throughout Canada and globally. He was the first full-time employee for NEXT Canada (formerly The Next 36), where he held numerous roles, including Senior Director, Global Recruitment, Community and Alumni. Jon joined NEXT in 2011 and helped the organization expand into a nationally and internationally recognized network that supports Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs. He also helped launch NextAI, an artificial intelligence accelerator in Toronto and Montreal.

15 seconds with Jon

The invention you can’t live without: Beats by Dre Powerbeat Pro – wireless headphones

Best vacation ever: Patagonia

Hidden talent: Juggling

Favourite book: The World According to Garp