Media Releases

U of T students finalists in national entrepreneurship program

January 12, 2011

TORONTO, ON – Nine Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to stu­dents have been cho­sen as final­ists in a unique nation­al pro­gram that aims to trans­form Canada’s most promis­ing under­grad­u­ate stu­dents into high-impact entre­pre­neurs.

The Next 36 – which is a cross between The Rhodes Schol­ar­ship and Y‑Combinator – aims to increase Cana­di­an pros­per­i­ty through entre­pre­neur­ship. More than 1,300 stu­dents applied to take part in the pro­gram and nine U of T stu­dents are among the 36 final­ists from Cana­di­an uni­ver­si­ties. The group includes social and ser­i­al entre­pre­neurs, aca­d­e­m­ic award win­ners, cam­pus lead­ers, accom­plished artists, sci­en­tists and engi­neers, and elite ath­letes.

The pro­gram has two parts. The first is a ven­ture chal­lenge in which nine teams of four stu­dents each receive $50,000 of sup­port, guid­ance from indus­try men­tors and busi­ness lead­ers and project devel­op­ment resources to build a busi­ness in the mobile envi­ron­ment. The sec­ond part is a four-month sum­mer res­i­den­cy at Massey Col­lege where stu­dents study with inter­na­tion­al­ly acclaimed fac­ul­ty and promi­nent Cana­di­an entre­pre­neurs while con­tin­u­ing to work on their mobile projects.

“The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to has been thrilled to help sup­port the devel­op­ment of The Next 36 pro­gram by an out­stand­ing group of Cana­di­an busi­ness lead­ers and edu­ca­tors,” says U of T Pres­i­dent David Nay­lor. “I also want to con­grat­u­late the nine stu­dents from our Uni­ver­si­ty who will be part of the inau­gur­al group. I wish all 36 par­tic­i­pants the very best with their pro­gram in the months ahead.”

“The Next 36 is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with some amaz­ing­ly tal­ent­ed like-mind­ed peers who are pas­sion­ate about mak­ing an impact,” says Sha­hed Al-Haque, an Engi­neer­ing Sci­ence stu­dent at U of T and a final­ist in the pro­gram. “It also offers busi­ness and entre­pre­neur­ial men­tor­ship from some of Canada’s most well-estab­lished and impact­ful busi­ness and entre­pre­neur­ial lead­ers. I don’t exag­ger­ate when I say that this is an oppor­tu­ni­ty of a life­time, and the expe­ri­ence so far has already been life-chang­ing.”

Oth­er U of T final­ists include: David Berkal in Peace and Con­flict Stud­ies, Michael Del Bal­so and Tuli­ka Gup­ta in Elec­tri­cal and Com­put­er Engi­neer­ing, Shane Gu and Sak­sham Uppal in Engi­neer­ing Sci­ence, Eran Henig in Com­put­er Sci­ence and Eco­nom­ics, Ke Li in Com­merce and Com­put­er Sci­ence and Daniel Rod­ic in the Rot­man Com­merce pro­gram.

The Next 36 is spear­head­ed by a found­ing group of high-pro­file busi­ness lead­ers, entre­pre­neurs, and aca­d­e­mics.  The four co-founders are Tim Hodg­son, Co-Chair, is Spe­cial Advi­sor to the Bank of Cana­da, pre­vi­ous­ly CEO of Gold­man Sachs Cana­da;  Ajay Agraw­al, Peter Munk Pro­fes­sor of Entre­pre­neur­ship at the Rot­man School, is Aca­d­e­m­ic Direc­tor; Clau­dia Hep­burn, social entre­pre­neur and edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy expert, is Exec­u­tive Direc­tor;  Reza Satchu, Co-Chair, is ser­i­al entre­pre­neur, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Pro­fes­sor, and win­ner of the “Top 40 Under 40” award.

An impres­sive group of found­ing donors is per­son­al­ly involved with the 36 stu­dents and pro­gram gov­er­nance. They include: Nadir Mohamed, W. Galen West­on, Joseph Cana­van, John Don­ald, Samuel Duboc, Charles Field-Mar­sham, Scott Grif­fin, Antho­ny Lacav­era, Patrick Mene­ley, Fran­cis Shen, Kevin Sul­li­van, Andrew and Valerie Pringle, Mark Wise­man and Mar­cia Mof­fat, The W. Garfield West­on Foun­da­tion, The John Dob­son Foun­da­tion.  The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is the found­ing aca­d­e­m­ic part­ner of The Next 36; MaRS is anoth­er key part­ner and Rogers Com­mu­ni­ca­tions is the first cor­po­rate part­ner.


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