Joe Fresh commits $1 million to establish Canada's first fashion innovation centre
TORONTO, March 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Joe Fresh and Ryerson University today announced a long-term partnership that will see the creation of Canada's first fashion innovation centre. The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation, made possible with a $1 million investment from Joe Fresh, will develop and fund Canada's emerging fashion-inspired businesses through Ryerson's Fashion Zone, an incubator that supports students and student entrepreneurship as part of the university's growing innovation ecosystem.
The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation and the Fashion Zone are modelled after the university's highly successful Digital Media Zone (DMZ) – Canada's top-ranked university incubator, which is open to early-stage startups nationwide – and Ryerson Futures (RFI), its affiliated business accelerator. The Digital Media Zone has incubated over 125 companies since launching in 2010.
Working closely with the DMZ and the Fashion Zone, the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation will incubate, develop and support Canada's fashion-inspired businesses. Participating companies and individuals will hone their business models and skills through structured mentorship with the Joe Fresh and Ryerson teams as well as Canadian business and fashion leaders.
Joe Fresh has maintained a far-reaching commitment to the future of the Canadian fashion industry, including education and support of new business and design talent. The goal of the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation is to foster a 360-degree approach to mentorship that will best position young entrepreneurs for real world success. The centre will encompass Canadian startups in all fashion-related fields, including design, production, technology and professional services.
"Joe Fresh and the fashion industry are driven by creative energy and innovative thinking. Identifying and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs helps ensure the continued vitality and excitement of fashion and retail," said Mario Grauso, President of Joe Fresh. "We are thrilled to have found a partner in Ryerson University that shares our passion for innovation and entrepreneurship, as evidenced by the great success of its Digital Media Zone. The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation will serve as a similar springboard for Canada's most promising fashion-based businesses."
During their time in the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation, up to 21 businesses will work with academic and business advisors to develop their business models, products and go-to-market strategies. Participants receive dedicated workspace in the centre and have the opportunity to seek seed funding. Upon completion of the 18-month program, graduates receive academic recognition.
"Ryerson University is a world-leader in innovation and entrepreneurship," said Sheldon Levy, president and vice-chancellor, Ryerson University. "We're thrilled to partner on this groundbreaking initiative with a leading brand in Canadian fashion. Together, our goal is to provide the best of Canadian fashion talent a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work with industry leaders to develop their creative and entrepreneurial skills."
In the coming weeks, the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation will be open for applications. For more information and details about application requirements and eligibility, please visit www.thejoefreshcentre.com.
About Joe Fresh
Founded in 2006, Joe Fresh is one of Canada's leading sources for modern style and accessible design, offering comprehensive lifestyle collections for men, women and children. Joe Fresh delivers quality and exceptional value in categories spanning apparel, accessories, footwear and Joe Fresh Beauty® cosmetics. In Canada, Joe Fresh products are available online and in more than 350 retail locations, including 14 freestanding and studio stores. In the United States, Joe Fresh is available online and in 6 freestanding stores in New York, including a flagship in the landmark 510 Fifth Avenue building. The brand is also sold in 200 J.C. Penney stores. Since 2014, Joe Fresh has opened its first stores in South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Egypt with local partners. For more information, please visit joefresh.com.
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 38,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 155,000 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.
SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited - Joe Fresh
For further information: Media Contacts: For Joe Fresh: Nicole Plener, Senior Manager, Public Relations, Tel: (416) 516-5233 x 517166, [email protected]; For Ryerson University: Johanna VanderMaas, Media Relations Officer, Office of Public Affairs, Tel: 416-979-5000 x 4630, [email protected], @RyersonU