Startup incubator evolves and grows to help more innovators achieve success
TORONTO, May 1, 2013 —- The Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) is celebrating its third anniversary with a look its achievements and impact to date, and a view ahead to more ingenuity, experiential learning and innovation. Marking the occasion is an interactive microsite detailing landmark moments in the incubator’s three-year history, including a visit by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, the graduation of 500px, voted Canada’s top startup, and the launch of Flybits’ internationally recognized context-aware and cloud computing technology. The site also provides information on new ways for budding entrepreneurs to engage with the DMZ over the next year, including a variety of hack-a-thons, workshops and tours. To view the microsite, visit the DMZ’s website at www.ryerson.ca/dmz and click the image entitled “Ready to Break Down the Walls?”
Looking forward, the DMZ announces a significant expansion with the addition of 20,000 sq. ft. of new space on two additional floors. DMZ offerings have also evolved with new educational programs and industry opportunities supporting innovators on their path to business success. These additions ensure that the Ryerson University and the DMZ continue to lead in innovation, responding to the needs of its entrepreneurs at every stage of growth of a young business.
“The Digital Media Zone is a phenomenon in postsecondary education,” said Sheldon Levy, president, Ryerson University. “The response here at home and globally is passionate because the link to our economy, society and culture is clear. Our entrepreneurs and innovators are seen as adapting new technologies to create jobs and businesses, and this excitement will continue to grow as DMZ breaks new ground.”
“The DMZ first opened its doors in April 2010,” added Valerie Fox, executive director, Digital Media Zone. “In three short years, we’ve incubated 80 companies, launched 130 projects and created more than 750 new jobs. Our new expanded offerings and opportunities will reinforce Ryerson as a world-class innovation leader and a unique ecosystem of collaboration and cross-pollination between students, entrepreneurs and industry partners.”
Moving ahead, the DMZ continues to provide a variety of incubator tools, including workspace, mentoring, business and market plan advice, early-stage entrepreneurial teams need to successfully launch their businesses. In order to further support high-potential startups, Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI) launched in the fall of 2012 to operate an acceleration program. RFI also manages an Innovation for Hire program that assembles teams of students, entrepreneurs and industry experts to collaborate and develop solutions to real-world industry problems. For more information about Ryerson Futures Inc., visit www.ryersonfutures.ca.
Beginning in June 2013 the DMZ will also host its first international fellows from China. These student innovators join the DMZ for four-month tenures as part of Ryerson University’s ongoing international outreach efforts to bring together the world’s best and brightest innovators in the DMZ. To date, students from India and Israel have incubated their companies alongside the DMZ’s other entrepreneurs providing and receiving an international business perspective.
New Ryerson educational programs embedded within the DMZ provide students with opportunities to learn about digital media entrepreneurship and develop their own business ideas. The first of its kind in Canada, Ryerson’s Digital Specialization Program offers students, graduates, and professionals the opportunity to combine their area of study with specialized learning in digital innovation, startup strategy, and industry problem solving. For more information about the Digital Specialization Program, visit www.digitalspecialization.ryerson.ca. Ryerson’s brand new Master’s in Digital Media is an intensive 12-month professional program designed to equip students with the skills and experience they need to lead the way in Canada’s growing digital media industry. Set to start in September 2013, the program will be a combination of technical, creative and business learning and application of those skills in a final six-month project. This final “thesis” is either the development of a digital media company, product or service and/or can be traditional MA research on a particular digital specialization. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca/graduate/digitalmedia.
Also located with the DMZ is the new Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario funded Ryerson Centre for Cloud and Context-Aware Computing (RC4). The only centre of its kind in the world, RC4 supports southern Ontario companies to develop context aware applications—the future of mobile computing—for smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. Context-aware computing automatically provides users with timely content in response to physical surroundings, activities and time of day that is relevant to their gender, age and preferences. Another key area of focus for RC4 is the advancement of the “Internet of Everything”, an infrastructure to support a future where everyday objects will be virtually connected to the cloud. RC4 will be the only centre in Canada dedicated to context-aware computing and will position southern Ontario as a global leader in this emerging technology sector.
The Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) is one of Canada’s largest incubators and multi-disciplinary co-working spaces for young entrepreneurs. Set atop Yonge-Dundas Square, and infused with the energy and resources of downtown Toronto, this hub of digital media innovation, collaboration and commercialization is home to both startups and industry solution-providers. The DMZ leads the way in experiential learning and business success by creating a unique ecosystem of education and entrepreneurship. Emerging leaders fast-track their product launches and grow their companies in this supportive community by connecting with mentors, customers and each other. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ has stimulated Canada’s digital economy by incubating and accelerating 84 startups and launching 134 projects. For more information about the Digital Media Zone, visit www.ryerson.ca/dmz.
Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 38,900 students, including 2,300 master’s and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada’s leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca.
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Media Relations Officer
Digital Media Zone, Ryerson University
416-979-5000 x 2997