University of Toronto

University of Toronto True Blue Fund Supports Startups

The University of Toronto’s True Blue fund supports new early-stage startups. Early-stage startups at the University of Toronto will soon have access to a new financial support fund worth up to $5 million.

The new program is named the True Blue Fund and also gives alumni and philanthropists a new way to support talent and innovation. The fund is expected to be used for awards, prizes, fellowships and other activities. The university will match donations to the fund and has committed $2.5 million for the purpose.

This fund will provide crucial support for early-stage U of T startups that are trying to get ideas off the ground in fields ranging from cleantech to regenerative medicine, David Palmer, the university’s vice-president of advancement said.

“A small grant, prize or fellowship is given to a company or team at this stage can be hugely transformational in terms of their ability to prototype new ideas, demonstrate proof-of-principle and put together a business and market plans,” Palmer said.

The new fund is expected to add further momentum to U of T’s innovation and entrepreneurship efforts, which have helped underpin the Toronto region’s transformation into a global innovation hub. In particular, it will encourage entrepreneurs who are students or recent alumni to take risks necessary to develop game-changing technologies and businesses – helping to create new jobs and investment in Ontario and beyond, the university’s website said.

Over the years, U of T has branded itself as an innovation and research hub and academic incubator. It has also been ranked as Canada’s most innovative by Reuters and among the top five university-managed business incubators in the world by UBI Global.

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Alumni around the world were looking for a way to give back to their Alma matter, and the True Blue fund would make it easier for them, university representatives said.

Apart from financial donations and funding related information, alumni also could mentor students, provide the advice that all startups need to reach markets.

“Many alumni were also looking for ways to become angel investors themselves.” U of T representatives said.

“The True Blue Fund will provide our student entrepreneurs with critical support, and it will encourage even more visionaries and innovators to choose U of T as the place to translate ideas and research into the real-world impact and launch successful startups.” Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation said.