Source: The DMZ at Ryerson University

DMZ at Ryerson University Calls up on Top Business and Tech Minds to Launch Advisory Council

New Advisory Council Will Provide Guidance and Insight to DMZ Entrepreneurs

TORONTO, ON --(Marketwired - September 28, 2016) - When asked to name up to five high-profile Canadian entrepreneurs, a survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the DMZ at Ryerson University shows that close to forty per cent could not name one. To increase visibility for Canadian entrepreneurs, and to develop new approaches to fuel the success of Canadian innovators, the DMZ at Ryerson University announced today the creation of a new advisory council with 18 of the top business and tech minds in the country. The members were selected from nearly 500 applications received following an open invitation last fall.

"We had a tremendous response to our invitation for business leaders to apply for our council and are incredibly proud to have created a diverse, accomplished advisory council stacked with some of the most talented business leaders in the world," said Abdullah Snobar, executive director at the DMZ. "With innovation booming in Canada, it is important to find new ways to connect veteran business leaders with up and coming entrepreneurs."

The survey revealed a lack of knowledge of Canadian entrepreneurs as well as a lack of confidence in becoming an entrepreneur, with more than half of Canadians (55 per cent) revealing they do not have the confidence in themselves to start a new business.

In order to provide the best entrepreneurial training, the first item on the advisory council agenda is to create a bootcamp style program for startups. The program has been designed to provide entrepreneurs the hard and soft skills needed to accelerate their success or failure in the first six months.

"The DMZ's advisory council will play an important role in finding strategic and innovative approaches that will strengthen the DMZ's position as a hub in the innovation economy," says Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor at Ryerson University. "The council will also better forecast the needs of the startup community and find solutions that will be supported by some of the leading minds in business and technology."

Ahead of the council launch, the DMZ conducted a survey to understand the current entrepreneurial climate in Canada. Below are the survey's key findings:

  • Asked to name up to five high-profile entrepreneurs, one in three Canadians could not name any -- either saying they do not know or cannot reply, and a further 34 per cent could only name one
  • Nine in ten Canadians agree that 'tech entrepreneurs are job creators'
  • Eight in ten agree that 'Canada has a strong culture of innovation'
  • Eight in ten believe that 'Canadian companies are globally competitive'
  • Three in four believe that 'Canada is a good place to start a business right now,' despite the sluggish economy of the past decade.
  • More than half of Canadians reveal that they do not have the confidence in themselves to start a business
  • 43 per cent of Canadians said that entrepreneurs have the best prospects for a happy and successful career, as compared to tradespeople (24 per cent), teachers (17 per cent), and lawyers (11 per cent)

For more findings from the survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the DMZ at Ryerson University click here.

"I am delighted to be appointed the chairman of the DMZ's advisory council and I look forward to supporting the creative approaches that help propel the DMZ and its entrepreneurs forward," says Nadir Mohamed, Chairman of ScaleUP Ventures. "The DMZ at Ryerson is adding tremendous value to the startup ecosystem and I am proud to be part of a community that is strengthening innovation in Canada."

Beyond the creation of the bootcamp, the newly formed advisory council will develop a 'collaboration agenda' for Canada's startup ecosystem. The initiative headed by the DMZ at Ryerson will aim to bring together technology hubs throughout the country and will align with Canada's innovation agenda.

Offering his support for the new Advisory Council was Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains commented: "The DMZ at Ryerson has been a leader on the innovation front since its inception. We look forward to seeing how this new team will support our Canadian entrepreneurs in new and game changing ways."

The Advisory Council members include:

  • Nadir Mohamed, (DMZ Advisory Council Chairman), Chairman, ScaleUP Ventures
  • John Albright, Managing Partner, Relay Ventures
  • Peter Bowie, Independent Director, former CEO of Deloitte China
  • Barry K. Columb, President & CEO, President's Choice Financial
  • Bruce Croxon Partner, Round 13 Capital
  • Maggie Fox, former Global Senior Vice President, Digital, SAP
  • Sabrina Geremia, Managing Director, Integrated Solutions Google
  • Nazmin Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Greystone Managed Investments Inc.
  • Anthony Lacavera, Founder and Chairman, Globalive Capital
  • Andrew Macdonald, Regional General Manager, APAC and Latin America, Uber
  • Kevin O'Brien, Chief Client Officer, Aeroplan at Aimia
  • Priya Patil, Corporate Director
  • Anoop Prakash, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson Canada
  • Michael Rossi, President, adidas Group Canada
  • Kirstine Stewart, Chief Strategy Officer, Diply GoViral
  • Dino Trevisani, President, IBM Canada
  • Yung Wu, Managing Director, NFQ Ventures
  • David Walmsley, Editor in Chief, The Globe and Mail
  • Mohamed Lachemi, President and Vice-Chancellor, Ryerson University
  • Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director, DMZ at Ryerson University

To learn more about the DMZ's advisory council, please click here.

About DMZ at Ryerson University:

The DMZ at Ryerson University is one of Canada's largest business incubators for emerging tech startups. It is the top-ranked university incubator in North America and third in the world, and helps startups succeed by connecting them with customers, advisors, influencers and other entrepreneurs. Since launching in 2010 it has incubated over 260 startups, raised $206 million in seed funding, and has fostered the creation of more than 2,407 jobs.

Contact Information:

For more information, please contact:

Ahmed Saleh
Media Relations Coordinator
DMZ at Ryerson University
(647) 865-0991