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Innovation Circle - News and Updates

Wendy Cukier (left) and Saifur Rahman (right)
2023 Innovation Circle Discovery Prize Awarded to TRSM Research Team

Since 2018, the Innovation Circle at TMU has been championing ideas for positive impact through research. Comprised of the next wave of business and thought leaders – Eddie Chan, Ronnen Harary, Moez Kassam, Gurbani Marwah, Isaac Olowolafe Jr., Joshua Reisman and Karlee Vukets – the Innovation Circle has been actively strengthening research and encouraging discovery through their support of an annual pitch competition in which the winning team receives $70,000 to further the impact of their research project.

On May 16, the Innovation Circle heard pitches from and asked questions of the three 2023 finalist teams. After much deliberation, the 2023 Innovation Circle Discovery Prize was awarded to a project aimed at identifying and addressing existing systemic barriers to accessing financial capital for women entrepreneurs and business owners.

Led by Ted Rogers School of Management professor and Diversity Institute founder Wendy Cukier, the project aims to close the gender gap in access to financial capital, reduce socio-economic inequalities among entrepreneurs, and boost GDP by further realizing the potential of women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

A key element of the Innovation Circle Discovery Prize is the opportunity it provides the principal researcher to build a first-rate research team of graduate students, giving the best and brightest students exceptional early career experience. Saifur Rahman, a PhD student in the Management program at the Ted Rogers School, is the lead graduate student on the project working under the supervision of Dr. Cukier. Learn more about their project here (external link) .

Congratulations to Dr. Cukier and her team on the winning pitch, and a big “thank you” to each member of the Innovation Circle for furthering research strengths at TMU.

December 10, 2021 -  From Vulnerability to Possibility: Investing in Mothers to End Intergenerational Cycles of Addictions & Trauma present a 6-month update to the Innovation Circle Circle. From Vulnerability to Possibility won the $70,000 Innovation Circle Discovery Prize in 2020.

In a pitch competition on October 14, the Innovation Circle selected From Vulnerability to Possibility: Investing in Mothers to End Intergenerational Cycles of Addiction & Trauma - a research project led by Professor Karen Milligan (top centre) and psychology graduate students Erica Rodrigues and Victoria Ingram (top left and right respectively) - to receive the Innovation Circle Discovery Prize.

Thank you to the stellar members of the Innovation Circle (second row from the top and down) Isaac Olowolafe, Gurbani Marwah, Josh Reisman, Eddie Chan, Ronnen Harary, Karlee Vukets and Moez Kassam for their investment of time, energy and funding in support of advancing the university's research.

October 22, 2019 - Citytrees present a 6-month update to the Innovation Circle. Citytrees won the $70,000 Innovation Circle Discovery Prize in 2019.

April 30, 2019 - The Innovation Circle watched 3 finalist teams pitch their research projects at the annual adjudication event. They chose Citytrees as the winner of the 2019 Innovation Circle Discovery Prize, which provided them with $70,000 to support their project.  

Nov. 20, 2018 - We are now accepting research proposals from Toronto Metropolitan University faculty member & graduate student teams under the 2019 Innovation Circle Program call for proposals.

Nov. 13, 2018 - At the inaugural meeting of the Innovation Circle, the members heard from distinguished Toronto Metropolitan University researchers and decided on the Call for Proposals for the research competition. In Spring 2019, finalists across the university will pitch their innovative ideas to the Innovation Circle, and one will receive their $70,000 prize.