Ryerson Futures attracts top immigrant entrepreneurs through the Start-Up Visa program

Ryerson University-affiliated accelerator encourages startups to build roots in Canada

TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Ryerson Futures Inc., the accelerator program associated with the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ), is now an approved business incubator under the Government of Canada's Start-Up Visa program, which offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their business in Canada.

Ryerson is a proud supporter of globally-minded entrepreneurs and the Start-Up Visa program offers a new channel for the University to recruit top talent from around the world.

"We select incubators with the capacity to assist newly-arrived entrepreneurs by connecting them with an established and supportive ecosystem," said Gail Gillian-Bain, President of the Canadian Association of Business Incubation and Acceleration. "Ryerson Futures offers entrepreneurs all the tools needed for success, with the unparalleled network needed to accelerate great companies."

Those who are granted a Start-Up Visa through Ryerson Futures and who also meet DMZ entry requirements can benefit from a supportive ecosystem with access to seed funding, co-working space and advanced acceleration support from Ryerson Futures.

"Entrepreneurship isn't a trend, it's key to the future of economic prosperity in Canada," said Alan Lysne, Managing Director, Ryerson Futures. "The DMZ is helping strengthen that future by fuelling the success of emerging entrepreneurial leaders from across the globe."

Ryerson Futures Inc. has attracted some of Toronto's top startups to its accelerator where they have gone on to raise over $11 million. The DMZ adds value in global markets, with involvement in multiple programs both in Toronto and abroad. Zone Startups India, led by Ryerson Futures, is built upon Ryerson's model for its successful Digital Media Zone incubator in Toronto. The DMZ also regularly incubates international fellows, currently hosting a cohort from South Africa.

"Arriving in Toronto, I knew that the fellowship would help me to build my financial technology, but had no idea about the tremendously robust ecosystem that I was about to tap into," said Andre-Ivor Wills, a visiting South African entrepreneur and co-founder of Capital Worx. "We have progressed well ahead of schedule due to the wealth of resources at the DMZ, from qualified business advisors to mentors and beyond. Working alongside talented entrepreneurs in the co-working space has been extremely beneficial to us."

Click here for video: International innovators access Canadian customers, advisors, influencers and other entrepreneurs at the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University

About the Digital Media Zone

The Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University is one of Canada's largest business incubators and co-working spaces for entrepreneurs. The top-ranked university incubator in Canada and fifth in the world, it helps startups succeed by connecting them with customers, advisors, influencers and other entrepreneurs. The DMZ is based at Ryerson but it's not just for students; this unique community is home to entrepreneurs and innovators of all ages from across Toronto, Canada and the world. Overlooking the heart of downtown Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square, the DMZ is a hub of innovation, collaboration and experiential learning. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ and its affiliated accelerator, Ryerson Futures Inc., have stimulated Canada's digital economy by incubating and accelerating 174 startups which have collectively raised over $60 million in funding and fostered more than 1,548 jobs. The Digital Media Zone is expanding its reach locally and internationally with the support of the Government of Ontario, Ryerson University, and partners in the private sector. For more information about the Digital Media Zone, visit www.ryerson.ca/dmz.

SOURCE Digital Media Zone

Video with caption: "Video: International innovators access Canadian customers, advisors, influencers and other entrepreneurs at the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University". Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0wWoyiSe5Q

For further information: Kristen Heredia, Media Relations Officer, Ryerson University, kheredia@ryerson.ca, 416-979-5000 x 2997, Follow us on Twitter: @RyersonDMZ

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