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DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University calls on top business and tech minds to launch Advisory Council

TORONTO, September 28, 2016 – When asked to name up to five high-profile Canadian entrepreneurs, a survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University shows that close to forty per cent could not name one. To increase visibility for Canadian entrepreneurs, and to develop new approaches to fuel the success of Canadian innovators, the DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University announced today the creation of a new advisory council with 18 of the top business and tech minds in the country. The members were selected from nearly 500 applications received following an open invitation last fall.

“We had a tremendous response to our invitation for business leaders to apply for our council and are incredibly proud to have created a diverse, accomplished advisory council stacked with some of the most talented business leaders in the world,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director at the DMZ. “With innovation booming in Canada, it is important to find new ways to connect veteran business leaders with up and coming entrepreneurs.”

The survey revealed a lack of knowledge of Canadian entrepreneurs as well as a lack of confidence in becoming an entrepreneur, with more than half of Canadians (55 per cent) revealing they do not have the confidence in themselves to start a new business. In order to provide the best entrepreneurial training, the first item on the advisory council agenda is to create a bootcamp style program for startups. The program has been designed to provide entrepreneurs the hard and soft skills needed to accelerate their success or failure in the first six months.

“The DMZ’s advisory council will play an important role in finding strategic and innovative approaches that will strengthen the DMZ’s position as a hub in the innovation economy,” says Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor at Toronto Metropolitan University. “The council will also better forecast the needs of the startup community and find solutions that will be supported by some of the leading minds in business and technology.”

Ahead of the council launch, the DMZ conducted a survey to understand the current entrepreneurial climate in Canada. Below are the survey’s key findings:

– Asked to name up to five high-profile entrepreneurs, one in three Canadians could not name any – either saying they do not know or cannot reply, and a further 34 per cent could only name one
– Nine in ten Canadians agree that ‘tech entrepreneurs are job creators’
– Eight in ten agree that ‘Canada has a strong culture of innovation’
– Eight in ten believe that ‘Canadian companies are globally competitive’
– Three in four believe that ‘Canada is a good place to start a business right now’
– More than half of Canadians reveal that they do not have the confidence in themselves to start a business
– 43 per cent of Canadians said that entrepreneurs have the best prospects for a happy and successful career, as compared to tradespeople (24 per cent), teachers (17 per cent), and lawyers (11 per cent)
For more findings from the survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University click

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