University of Toronto and RBC create startup accelerator for young innovators

The University of Toronto and the Royal Bank of Canada today announced ONRamp, a major new initiative that will help support Canada’s innovative entrepreneurs.

Located in the Banting & Best Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (BBCIE), ONRamp will provide new collaborative workspaces for students, entrepreneurs and startup companies to support them in developing commercial ideas.

“U of T is a global leader in transforming innovative ideas into products, services, companies and jobs,” saidMeric Gertler, president of the University of Toronto. “With RBC’s support, this new initiative will further expand the university’s entrepreneurial efforts and help ensure our nation remains competitive by keeping talented innovators in Canada.” 

Set over three floors in the BBCIE, ONRamp will enable these new companies to network with each other, showcase to potential investors and grow their businesses. A $3 million contribution from RBC, Canada’s largest bank, will also be used to create fellowships, prizes and a speaker series intended to enhance the university’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“We have some of the brightest and best ideas emerging from our universities, but too frequently our young entrepreneurs have to look abroad to get their businesses off the ground. ONRamp should help change that,” said Bruce Ross, group head of technology and operations at RBC. “This initiative will provide the perfect environment to help these innovative start-ups develop and, importantly, to stay in Canada. We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Toronto on this exciting program.”

Under the umbrella of the BBCIE, U of T’s vast ecosystem already consists of more than 60 entrepreneurial program and course offerings, and is supported by a network of nine campus-linked accelerators established to fill demand from the university’s diverse faculties and three campuses. 

ONRamp will build on this central program of support in order to continue to serve the university’s innovative students, giving them the opportunity to pitch their business ideas, be recognized, and secure financial assistance as they undertake their entrepreneurship journey.

A number of post-doctoral and graduate scholarships and fellowships have also been created that will recognize, reward, and support innovative students across a broad range of research areas.

ONRamp will also house the RBC Innovation Hub within this new space for incubating startups, located within the BBCIE in downtown Toronto. RBC’s investment will support U of T’s $2 billion Boundless campaign which addresses the university’s commitment to enhancing the economic and social wellbeing of our communities, and to helping our citizens realize their potential. 

“Universities and colleges play a key role in driving innovation and fostering entrepreneurship,” said Scott Mabury, vice-president, university operations. “The University of Toronto has emerged as a leading institution in creating startup companies based on research and ONRamp will further support our startups’ growth so they can create wealth, provide jobs and contribute to the nation’s prosperity.”

“We are excited to partner with RBC in order to provide facilities and programming that will be a launching pad for early-stage companies,” said Vivek Goel, vice-president of research and innovation at U of T. “Innovation and entrepreneurship are vital components of a robust economy and this initiative will help foster a rapidly growing hub of Canadian startup culture and support the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.” 

ONRamp will provide a collaborative space for University of Toronto students and graduates, and to new young companies from other Ontario universities and colleges. 

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