Globally impactful organizations and investors honoured by University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab
December 11, 2015
Toronto, ON – Two world renowned Canadian organizations and a venture capitalist are the recipients of the first annual awards presented by the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
The Lab is a program which leverages the University’s leading faculty and industry network as well as its location in the heart of Canada’s business capital to accelerate massively scalable, technology-based ventures that have the potential to transform our social, industrial, and economic landscape.
The awards are designed around the primary ingredients in the prevailing models for economic growth: labour, capital, and ideas.
The winner of the Labour Award is the University of Waterloo for their Engineering and Co-Op program. This award recognizes an individual or organization that has had a first-order impact on Canada’s competitiveness through the development and promotion of human capital in the areas of science, technology, and commerce. While the University of Waterloo has contributed to the betterment of Canadian society in many ways, this award recognizes the creativity, vision, and leadership of UW’s Engineering and Co-op programs that demonstrate a unique and effective model for education, combining scholarly inquiry, hands-on tinkering, entrepreneurial spirit, and professional training – and began doing so long before STEM education and technology entrepreneurship became fashionable.
The winner of the Capital Award is Haig Farris. This award recognizes an individual or organization that has had a first-order impact on Canada’s competitiveness through the visionary application of capital to the areas of science, technology, and commerce. Although Mr. Farris has contributed to the betterment of Canadian society on many dimensions, this award recognizes in particular his work as a pioneer of the nation’s technology venture capital industry through the founding of Brown, Farris & Jefferson Ltd (1968) and Ventures West (1973), his education of entrepreneurs, scientists, and investors on the topic of financing through the course he created and taught for over a decade at the University of British Columbia, and through his leadership and advocacy for financing education and research in science and technology. This award recognizes Mr. Farris’ unrelenting efforts on behalf of Canadians as a visionary financier, laying foundations for the nation’s future-looking allocation of capital to this sector, decades before technology entrepreneurship, venture investing, and STEM education were widely acknowledged as important.
The winner of the Ideas Award is the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR.) This award recognizes an individual or organization that has had a first-order impact on the competitiveness of Canada through the advancement of new ideas in the area of science and technology. While CIFAR has supported Canada’s contribution to the production of knowledge to benefit humankind in many fields, this award recognizes in particular CIFAR’s support for the curiosity-driven research that led to advances in the area now commonly referred to as deep learning and related areas of inquiry. Although there is now clear evidence that developments in this field are delivering significant economic impact and therefore research is able to attract broad support from a wide range of industries and government funding agencies, CIFAR provided critical support for many years when this line of scientific inquiry was considered peripheral, risky, and unexciting among experts in the field.
The awards will be presented at a conference at the Rotman School on December 15 hosted by the Creative Destruction Lab on the economics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) called “Machine Learning and the Market for Intelligence.” The focus of the day-long event is on the business opportunities that AI is spawning: what has already happened, trends, and what the future could look like.
Founded by Rotman Professor Ajay Agrawal, the Creative Destruction Lab is a program based at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. The Lab leverages the University’s leading faculty and industry network as well as its location in the heart of Canada’s business capital to accelerate massively scalable, technology-based ventures that have the potential to transform our social, industrial, and economic landscape. The Lab has helped many nascent startups, including Atomwise, BridgIt, Minuum, Nymi, NVBots, OTI Lumionics, Push, Thalmic Labs, Perceptiv Labs, Neverfrost, Chargespot, and VoteCompass, among others.
The Lab provides a unique style of milestone-based coaching with the goal of maximizing equity-value creation. Its mentors are some of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs, with years of experience in building and scaling technology-based companies. In Fall 2015, the Lab launched a program that focuses exclusively on Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) ventures. The addition of this cohort doubles the number of ventures that participate in the CDL program annually. To learn more about the Creative Destruction Lab, visit www.creativedestructionlab.com.
The Rotman School of Management is located in the heart of Canada’s commercial and cultural capital and is part of the University of Toronto, one of the world’s top 20 research universities. The Rotman School fosters a new to think that enables our graduates to tackle today’s global business challenges. For more information, visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca.
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