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Entrepreneurship & Innovation

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A network of academic experts, industry and community leaders, and government and social innovators dedicated to building an inclusive and highly competent workforce.

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Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)

The Diversity Institute has been selected to lead the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) with $9 million in funding over 3 years from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The WEKH will use evidence to understand what works to grow enterprises led by women, to support women business support organizations and erode barriers in the ecosystem. In collaboration with Toronto Met’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and the Ted Rogers School of Management, the Diversity Institute will bring together a network of partners that reach more than 100,000 women entrepreneurs at different stages of development and more than 250 organizations.

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Magnet Export Business Portal

A partnership project with Magnet, the Export Business Portal is a platform for registered businesses to receive free customized updates and information about export-related services, funding, resources and opportunities.

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Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub

In partnership with Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC), NEH provides entrepreneurship, settlement and wrap-around services that prepare participants to run a business in Canada. The Diversity Institute will assess the impact of the program on the economic integration of vulnerable newcomers.

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WE-Hub (Women's Entrepreneurship Hub)

In partnership with SCCC, the Diversity Institute is testing a new model for supporting women entrepreneurs. Supported by the Ministry of the Status of Women, the Women's Entrepreneurship Hub (WE-Hub TO) provides future skills and entrepreneurship training through a bootcamp style program. Counselling, settlement services and childcare are among the wrap-around supports offered to encourage participation from women experiencing complex barriers to employment.

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The Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Network (IIE-Net) 

The Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Network (IIE-Net) project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) with over $2 million in funding over 6 years. SSHRC IIE-Net explores research questions that will enhance our understanding of how to make Canada's innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem more inclusive for women and other under-represented groups. The IIE-Net partnership will bring together a team of 50 researchers & 61 partner organizations from across the ecosystem. With different disciplines and sectors helping to define and execute the research agenda, IIE-Net will support knowledge mobilization through the new WEKH, Future Skills Centre, and associated networks and platforms available at TMU and on which Project Director, Dr. Cukier has been the lead. This will enable the knowledge and insights generated from the SSHRC project to reach 1000 stakeholder organizations and more than 100,000 entrepreneurs. 

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Mapping the Innovation Ecosystem

This study aims at understanding the innovation ecosystem in Eastern Ontario in order to better understand how services, supports and local assets that contribute to creation of new businesses and investors as well as the retention and expansion of existing business. It explores the application of innovation models to smaller communities and makes a series of policy recommendations to enable innovation.

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Workforce Innovation and Inclusion Project (WIIP)

With sites in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario, WIIP will improve newcomer employment outcomes while producing a skilled, resilient and productive Canadian workforce to drive economic and social development. Supported by $1.8 million in funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

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The Ontario Inclusive Innovation (I2) Action Strategy

The Ontario Inclusive Innovation (I2) Action Strategy is a partnership with Telfer Centre for Executive Leadership at the University of Ottawa to create an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem through enterprise support for 2500 growth-oriented Ontario women entrepreneurs and conducting gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) of enterprise support organizations. I2 aims to develop a gender-based certification program and a series of workshops for intermediaries within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and showcase evidence-based practices for empowering women entrepreneurs at a one-day conference.

View this press release (external link) 

 (PDF file) View most recent report (opens in new window) 

View the i2 portal (external link, opens in new window) 

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Summer Company

The Toronto Met Diversity Institute was a provider of Summer Company from 2013-2018. Summer Company is a program of the Government of Ontario that helps students between 15 and 29 years old start and run their own summer business by providing funding, mentoring and training.

The Diversity Institute will not be a program provider in 2019. 

The Diversity Institute has conducted groundbreaking research on diversity and inclusion in Canada, developed impactful programs like the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub, championed legislative change on Bill C-25 and has helped companies understand the opportunities of inclusion and develop tools to harness inclusion as a driver for success.