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ACE Program Summer 2023

ACE2023 Demo Day

Join us as three ACE student teams pitch six technologies they hope to commercialize.

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2023

Time: 3–6 p.m.

Location: Sears Atrium, George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre, Third Floor, Toronto Metropolitan University, 245 Church St, Toronto, ON M5B 1Z4

Open to: Investors, funding agencies, TMU zone participants and individuals from the TMU community (faculty, students, staff)


The Aspiring Campus Entrepreneurs (ACE) program connects researchers who have innovative ideas with Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) students interested in bringing a project to life as a commercial startup.

This four-month paid summer program gives students an opportunity to form a multi-disciplinary team, learn entrepreneurial skills, work with emerging innovation and evaluate commercial potential and pathways for a venture.

Industry experts will help guide and advise the teams, while TMU experts from the zone ecosystem, including IBZ (external link, opens in new window) , The Fashion ZoneThe Library CollaboratoryCEZSVZLIZ and the DMZ, will provide sessions on entrepreneurial topics.

Check back in early 2024 for application information for the ACE2024 program.

The opportunity:

  • Evaluate and select an innovation from a TMU researcher to develop into a startup.
  • Work on a multi-disciplinary team to develop a commercialization plan.
  • Receive one-on-one support, including coaching and guidance from experts and industry leaders.
  • Access the 100 Steps 2 Startups program to guide market research and customer discovery efforts.
  • Receive instruction and opportunities to evaluate commercial potential and pathways for a venture.
  • Access startup/entrepreneurial resources and the TMU zone ecosystem.
  • Learn how to develop a commercialization plan for the selected technology.
  • Access additional programming outside paid hours, such as the DMZ Basecamp.
  • Learn how to pitch your start-up at the Demo Day event at the end of the program.

The role:

Work as part of the project team to complete the following and more:

  • Collect primary market data.
  • Complete a Business Model Canvas.
  • Formulate the value proposition for the technology.
  • Draft a business plan.
  • Present weekly progress updates.
  • Develop the commercialization pitch for the team project.

Time commitment and compensation:

  • The program runs from May 1 to August 25, 2023.
  • This is a paid position at $20/hour for 24 hours/week.

Who can apply:

  • Current undergraduate/graduate TMU students.
  • Recent TMU graduates (within 2023).
  • Students from all faculties and programs are encouraged to apply.

Skills required:

  • Entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Comfortable with the unknown.
  • Interest in learning quickly.
  • Strong respect for inclusiveness and diversity, and different viewpoints.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with others.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Ability to build and maintain relationships with a variety of stakeholders.
  • Ability to communicate complex issues clearly to a wide range of audiences.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills.

How to Apply:

Please apply through the Magnet “ACE 2023 Summer Student” job posting (external link)  with a Job ID of 626156114. To view the job posting, you will first need to sign in to Magnet or create an account (external link)  using your email address and password.

The opportunity:

  • Work with a team of students to develop a commercialization plan for a project that focuses on a new or novel technology, innovation or process you have created.
  • Guide and advise student team members throughout the program to develop their entrepreneurial capacity.
  • Have the option to attend development sessions provided through the ACE program.

The role:

  • Pitch your selected technology or innovation idea to students on May 1, 2023.
  • If your technology or innovation is selected by students, form a team typically comprised of three students and (you) the researcher.
  • Collaborate with your student team.
  • Work with your student team to support stakeholder interviews and develop a commercialization plan.
  • Provide technical expertise to the program and the student team members.

Time commitment and funding:

  • You must be available to work with students throughout the program from May 1 to August 25, 2023.
  • Funding is provided by the ACE program directly to students for hours worked.
  • Students are paid for 24 hours of work per week.
  • No funding is provided to the faculty member through this program at this time.

Innovations we are looking for:

  • A technology, innovation or process that can provide commercial, societal or environmental impact and has been reduced to practice (i.e., a prototype or demonstration is available).
  • A project or business idea that could deliver impact to 1 million Canadians through a not-for-profit entity.

Note: Your technology or innovation must be unrestricted by any funding agreement or partnership.

How to submit a project:

  • Project submissions are now being accepted. Submit your project by April 7, 2023 to Nicholas Burgwin at
  • Projects will be selected for the program by April 14, 2023, at which time faculty will be notified.

A. No. Students will be matched with a TMU researcher to collaborate on an entrepreneurial/commercial venture. Teams will be formed once they have been accepted and research projects have been presented. Teams will typically consist of three students and one researcher.

Note: Multidisciplinary teams are a factor in success. Students from all faculties are encouraged to apply. 

A. No. The researcher provides the project idea (idea, technology or process) and the technical expertise. Students bring their entrepreneurial skills to the program.

A. The technology, innovation or new process will have been reduced to practice (i.e., a prototype or demonstration is available). You will learn from the TMU researcher about the technology and potential possibilities for impact.

A. There will be a range of projects available, and all projects will be shared with successful program applicants on May 1, 2023.

Significant Dates in 2023

  • Applications close, round 1:
    Mon. February 6, 11:59 p.m. 
  • Student interviews, round 1:
    Mon. February 13 to Fri. Feb. 24
  • Applications close, round 2:
    Mon. March 6, 11:59 p.m. 
  • Interviews, round 2:
    Rolling until all positions filled
  • Career Boost applications close:
    Thu. April 13, 11:59 p.m. 
  • ACE program starts:
    Mon. May 1
  • ACE2023 Demo Day:
    Thurs. August 24, 3–6 p.m.
  • ACE program ends:
    Fri. August 25


For more information on the program or assistance confirming if your project qualifies, contact Nicholas Burgwin, Manager, Innovation & Commercialization, at