Impact Centre’s entrepreneurship training program is still going strong after ten years

March 25, 2019 by Leo Mui - Impact Centre

The Impact Centre at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences is calling for aspiring entrepreneurs to apply to Techno2019, the tenth running of its flagship entrepreneurship training program for scientists and engineers.

Applications to Techno2019 will be accepted through November 14, 2019

Since 2010, Techno has given over 150 teams of students, postdoctoral fellows, and recent graduates the opportunity to use science to benefit society by building technology-based startups that solve problems in the world. As no tuition is charged, admission is competitive and requires both a written application and a one-on-one interview.

Applications can be found on the course webpage and are due on November 14.

Techno2019’s five sessions will be held on November 27, 28 and December 4, 5, 6 from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm each day, followed by an event showcasing the teams’ final pitches in the afternoon of December 11.

“We are looking for people who have an expertise in some area of science or engineering as well as a passion to make the world a little better,” explains Dr. Rich McAloney, director of entrepreneurship at the Impact Centre and a founding developer of the Techno program. “People don’t need to have a team, or even a business idea, in place when they apply—just that expertise and passion.”

Through hands-on workshops, interactive panels, and one-on-one guided worktime with Impact Centre staff and external expert mentors, teams in the program are led through various processes such as researching their market, protecting their idea, and pitching their company. The goal of Techno is to do a first pass to determine whether there is likely an opportunity for their startup to succeed.

Those who find that they can continue building their company can apply for further support from the Impact Centre through a Techno Fellowship, which could include up to $5,000 in microfinancing as well as mentorship and access to office and prototyping space.

Examples of startup companies that came out of Techno2018 include:

  • Honeybee Hub (online platform to link researchers and human participants) started by Catherine Chan (M.Sc., Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto)
  • Nanology Labs (manganese-based nanoparticles as MRI contrast agents), started by Dr. Mohammad Ali Amini (Ph.D., Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto)
  • Argentum Electronics (hardware and software for smart building solutions) started by Bolis Ibrahim (B. Eng., Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Ryerson University)
  • PocketMath (learning and testing app for postsecondary mathematics students) started by Dr. Jonathan Herman (Ph.D., Mathematics at the University of Waterloo)

“We came into Techno with the mentality of pushing our technology into the market and came out of it knowing how to look for true product-market fit for science-based startups,” says Ibrahim, who was awarded a Techno Fellowship after taking Techno2018.

“Within months of the program, another Impact Centre entrepreneur introduced us to our first corporate partner and our mentors linked us to a pre-seed investment of $250,000 to help launch Argentum.”