The university incubator that began in vacant office space and became a virtual hub of innovation in Toronto – and a world leader.
Working on the belief that entrepreneurship and innovation were not just economic drivers in a digital economy but essential ingredients for a forward-thinking university, Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy brought Valerie Fox on board to co-create an incubator designed for students, alumni and the community at large.
The DMZ (Digital Media Zone) was founded in 2010, and based on the unique philosophy that empowering entrepreneurs means working with them – by creating access to ‘just in time’ learning, expertise and mentorship, by forging connections to potential customers, partners and investors, and by building a supportive network of regional and international entrepreneurial communities and organizations to foster continued growth and opportunities.
The DMZ not only grew to occupy five office floors, its evident success led to the creation of a Master of Entrepreneurship program, the addition of ‘zones’ in a variety of university departments to cultivate student innovation and future entrepreneurs, as well as partnerships with other universities around the globe. Since its inception it has been an inspiration to many – and has fostered more than 500 companies and raised over one-billion dollars in funding.