After five months of working remotely, the 36 young, high-potential Canadians who were selected for the Next 36‘s fourth cohort, have descended upon Toronto for the “entrepreneurship institute’s” summer portion.
The “intense” summer portion, as the organizers label it, officially launched on Monday with “Prototype Day” at Toronto’s TMX Centre. The young founders of 31 ventures pitched their businesses to a select audience of mentors, peers and investors.
Supported by more than 200 Canadian business leaders – including W. Galen Weston, Jimmy Pattison and the latePaul Desmarais Sr. as founding patrons – The Next 36 aims to transform the country’s most promising young people into high-impact entrepreneurs and nation builders.
This summer also features the inaugural cohort of The Next Founders, a new program designed to deliver entrepreneurial education to young founders of rapidly growing technology companies.
This year’s cohort from the Next 36 attracted young minds from universities across Canada and the United States. Each cohort member each set of co-founders is tasked with building or growing a tech-focused company that can scale rapidly.
The program was designed to address what the four cofounders, Claudia Hepburn, Reza Satchu, Ajay Agrawal and Tim Hodgson, viewed as a lack of high-impact Canadian entrepreneurs and “nation-building business leaders”. They sought out three wealthy founding patrons in Paul Desmarais (Power Corporation of Canada), Jimmy Pattison (The Jim Pattison Group) and W. Galen Weston (George Weston Ltd.) and designed the program based on Satchu’s “Economics of Entrepreneurship” course at U of T.
Four years later the program has churned out three cohorts of young Canadian leaders. Some of the poster children include Thalmic Labs’ Stephen Lake, Kira Talent’s Emilie Cushman and Konrad Listwan, and Covr’s Michael Cheng, who are all leading successful ventures. Plenty more have gone on to take equally as fruitful routes, whether it be in innovation, academia or big business.
In a release the “institute” revealed that some of the notable pitches at Prototype Day included: GridCure, which is solving the smart-grid analytics issue; Onyx Motion, a smart watch for sports technique feedback; Brizi, which is building an aerial drone that audiences can interact with; Bombe, a cloud-based data processing platform for scientists; Fixo, a platform that streamlines communication between property managers and tenants; and Eve Medical, a medical device company focused on women’s health.
“The Summer Institute provides a unique combination of theory and practice in the context of forming, financing, and growing a high technology venture,” said Ajay Agrawal, academic director and co-founder, The Next 36. “Many alumni from prior cohorts describe the summer experience as transformational in terms of the expectations they set for themselves as individuals and what they seek to achieve with their future businesses.”
The Next 36 finished up with “Venture Day” on August 12 at the MaRS Discovery District, where N36 startups will pitch for investment from some of Canada’s top angel investors and venture capitalists.