Media Releases

New program aims to launch next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders

September 21, 2010

TORONTO, ON – The University of Toronto announced today the launch of a unique national program that aims to transform Canada’s most promising undergraduates into high impact entrepreneurs.

The Next 36 takes aim at Canada’s prosperity challenge by focusing resources on a small number of exceptionally talented students. The goal is to give them the tools to be among our country’s next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and nation builders.

“Innovation and entrepreneurial leadership are the lifeblood of the Canadian economy,” says David Naylor, President of the University of Toronto. “The elite mentorship and world-class instruction offered to The Next 36 make this unique program a dream opportunity for Canada’s most ambitious students. I expect that top recruiters and graduate schools will view it as a hallmark of superstar undergraduates.”

The Next 36 is based on the top ranked University of Toronto course created and taught for the past six years by serial entrepreneur and “Canada’s Top 40 Under 40” winner Reza Satchu. The Next 36 expands the key elements of Mr. Satchu’s course into a unique series of life-changing relationships and experiences.

The program has two parts. The first is an eight-month, mobile application development challenge in which nine, four-person teams each receive $50,000 of support, guidance from industry mentors, and project leadership from Anthony Lacavera, founder, Chairman and CEO, Globalive Communications. The second part is a four-month summer residency at Massey College during which students study with internationally acclaimed faculty and prominent Canadian business leaders, while continuing to work on their app projects.

“To increase our global competitiveness, Canada needs more nation builders equipped not only with aspiration and integrity, but also with an entrepreneurial mindset and toolkit,” says Mr. Satchu.  “The Next 36 will push Canada’s top students to expand their expectations and will provide them with essential role models, a powerful peer network, start-up experience, and academic theory to fulfil their promise. It’s clear to me that Canada’s most talented students crave this kind of leadership from our generation, and The Next 36 will deliver it.”

The program is spearheaded by a founding group of high-profile business leaders, entrepreneurs, and academics.  Tim Hodgson, Special Advisor to the Bank of Canada and previously CEO of Goldman Sachs Canada, co-founded the program with Reza Satchu. Ajay Agrawal, the Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School and winner of “Professor of the Year” for the past four years, is the founding Academic Director. Claudia Hepburn, a Senior Fellow of The Fraser Institute and education policy expert, is the Executive Director.

The program enjoys the strong support of an impressive group of founding donors, all with a personal involvement with the program’s students or governance. They include: Nadir Mohamed, President and CEO, Rogers Communications; W. Galen Weston, Chairman and CEO, George Weston Ltd.; Joseph Canavan, former Chairman and CEO, Assante Corporation; Samuel Duboc, Founder and CEO, Edgestone Capital Partners; Charles Field-Marsham, Founder and  Chairman, Panafrican Group; Scott Griffin, Founder and Chairman of Advance Precision Ltd. and of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry, and Chancellor of Bishop’s University; Anthony Lacavera; Patrick Meneley, Vice-Chair, Investment Banking, T.D. Securities; Francis Shen, Founder and CEO, Aastra Technologies; Kevin Sullivan, CEO of GMP Securities; Andrew and Valerie Pringle; Mark Wiseman and Marcia Moffat.  Rogers Communications is the first corporate partner of The Next 36. The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and The John Dobson Foundation are also donors.

“As a serial entrepreneur myself, I am passionate about helping The Next 36 avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into as an entrepreneur at their age,” says Francis Shen, Founder and CEO, Aastra Technologies, who is a founding member of the program’s Steering Committee. “This is an exciting program to be part of, and I look forward to my front row seat watching bright young students grow into global entrepreneurs.”

The Application Deadline for the first cohort is October 17th, 2010. Undergraduates from all faculties at universities across the country are encouraged to apply. Further information on the program, including application information, is available online at<>.


For more information, please contact:

Claudia Hepburn
Executive Director
The Next 36