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DMZ commits $1 million to student-led startups

TORONTO, March 13, 2018 – The DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University is committing to raise up to $1 million over the course of four years to fund student-led startup ideas. Called ‘The Sandbox Student Grant,’ the program supports students with non-dilutive seed funding and mentorship to pursue their entrepreneurial passions, innovate ideas and build successful companies.

Ryerson students and recent alum will be able to receive up to $30,000 for their ideas, which will be given in stages of $5K, $10K, and $15K upon completion of set milestones. During each stage, students will be connected to a mentor to develop their business plan, find product-market fit, create marketing strategies, establish a customer acquisition plan and more.

“Our economy is changing; we need to provide students with the opportunities to become innovators and change agents,” says Abdullah Snobar, executive director, DMZ at Ryerson. “The Sandbox Student Grant Program will place particular attention on developing the skills of talented students and connecting them with the resources and networks they need to build their bright ideas into businesses and solutions.”

A response to the financial roadblocks students face when building a business and refining their entrepreneurial skills, the Sandbox Student Grant Program will help aspiring entrepreneurs harness their potential as they work to succeed in an increasingly complex marketplace.

Grant recipients will have access to the DMZ’s Sandbox, an ideation space that provides free programming to help students and individuals of all ages in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) bridge the gap between entrepreneurial discovery and innovation. The program will also connect students and recent alum to the rest of the zone network depending on the vertical of their business idea.

About a year since its inception, DMZ’s Sandbox has helped support almost 200 entrepreneurial ideas by creating connections to mentors and enrolling individuals in free courses ranging from developing a business plan to coding to UX (user experience) design to marketing and growth.

The DMZ will be taking a startup style approach to raising $1 million by pitching the program to various corporate and community partners. So far, a contribution has been made by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

Applications to the Sandbox Student Grant program is now open. For more information, eligibility and to apply, Ryerson students can click here.


About the DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University:

The DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University is the top-ranked university-based incubator in the world. DMZ helps high-potential startups grow and scale their business by connecting them with customers, capital, coaches and a community of innovators. Since launching in 2010, it has incubated over 320 startups that have raised $395 million in seed funding and have fostered the creation of more than 3,000 jobs. For more information, visit

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