Toronto’s Startup Ecosystem Strategy
Toronto’s startup scene has grown rapidly over the course of the past decade. With so many new businesses seemingly springing out of the ground overnight, the city has quickly developed the need for a comprehensive plan that provides support in several key areas.

In response to this need, the City of Toronto recently announced the launch of the Toronto Startup Ecosystem Strategy. This plan is designed to provide support mechanisms to help the city’s startups share critical information, learn from one another, and, ultimately, grow the entire startup sector in the city in a positive direction.

Culture Change

For many years, startups that got off the ground in Toronto were forced to relocate to the U.S. or sell the rights to their proprietary technology to the highest bidder. Recently, however, the city’s startup environment has started to shift in favor of innovative new companies like FreshBooks, Shopify, and ScribbleLive.

The city’s new startup strategy will create an overarching brand that unifies the region’s most exciting and innovative young companies. By providing support and fostering networking opportunities for companies to connect with one another, the city hopes to establish a common culture as a burgeoning startup hotspot and a hub of technological innovation.

Although the city of Toronto already boasts a favorable system of business infrastructure for energetic entrepreneurs, the city currently ranks eighth amongst startup ecosystems in the world. The goal of the city’s new regional startup strategy is to boost this ranking through cooperation and communication.

Setting Up For Success

By implementing a comprehensive strategy to maximizing opportunities for entrepreneurs to find the support and guidance they need to bring their unique ideas to fruition, the city of Toronto hopes to create more local stories of startup success, and they plan to use these success stories to attract innovative entrepreneurs from around the world.

According to Chris Rickett, the Manager of Entrepreneurial Services for Toronto, “There’s a lot going on, and we don’t always speak with same voice. There are 50-plus business incubators in Toronto, and tons of success and interesting things happening, but the word doesn’t really get out.”

The city’s initiative to take a greater leadership role in the startup sector is designed to change that. By taking a threefold approach, the city hopes to act as a catalyst for startup development, a collaborator to promote information sharing, and a funder to “provide grants, sponsorships, and incentive programs.”

Furthermore, the plan will include the development of new accelerators and incubators for entrepreneurs looking to break into traditionally unsupported industries, such as the manufacturing industry, which continues to be a major contributor to the city’s economy, despite not receiving the type of support for innovative development that has been given to other industries.

According to Joe Dee, VP of Product and Technology Strategy for Cossette Labs, a Canadian marketing and communications agency involved in the city’s initial roundtable discussions about how best to design the ecosystem strategy, “What we needed to do during the process was remind ourselves that we weren’t just talking about tech companies. In Toronto, the startup ecosystem is quite diverse, and there are a lot of different people who would identify themselves as entrepreneurs. It was very important to us that the tone and the creative side didn’t just feel like digital technology. There are different ways to grow and invest here.”

With eight universities and colleges focused on driving innovation in a number of sectors, Toronto has long been a center of youthful innovation. The city’s renewed efforts to provide support and resources to bolster the startup landscape inspires hope that the city can make the next jump towards becoming a well known hotspot for innovation that attracts the best, brightest, and most creative entrepreneurs from around the world.

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Posted by: DSR
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Tag: Business Start Ups
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