Young entrepreneurs are gaining a strong profile in Ontario’s innovation ecosystem, with a record number participating in Canada's leading innovation-to-commercialization conference this year.
convenes on April 27 and 28, its Young Entrepreneurs Zone will contain close to 150 exhibitors, with most of those being companies from the province’s Campus-Linked Accelerators and On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities programs.
“It is tremendous to see our young entrepreneurs having such a strong presence at Discovery and being integrated into the innovation ecosystem with the amazing networking and learning opportunities this offers,” says Martin Croteau, OCE’s Director of Academic Entrepreneurship. “This will also provide start-ups with an unprecedented level of exposure to potential investors.”
This year’s Discovery will be welcoming hundreds of international investors. For the first time the Keiretsu Forum, a global investment community of accredited private equity angel investors, venture capitalists and corporate and institutional investment will be attending Discovery. This will be the largest ever gathering of Keiretsu presidents from around the world including from the US, Israel, Turkey, China, India and Singapore. Discovery will also welcome close to 200 delegates from China and about 100 Canadian investors, many of whom are participating in our Ask an Expert feature or judging panels. Seven of the ten most active Venture Capital firms in Canada in 2014 will be at Discovery.
This year will also feature a Founders’ Forum for all those who have received financial support through OCE’s SmartStart program. It will include a keynote presentation by Dragons' Den
investor Bruce Croxon, a panel discussion with key influencers in the world of entrepreneurship, and breakout sessions that focus on important issues like investor pitching, customer development, legal issues, corporate governance, and team building.
The community of entrepreneurial institutions funded under the CLA and OCEA programs will also be brought together for a pre-Discovery session as the next in their series of quarterly meetings. The agenda will include updates about the program and new tools for sharing resources. Participants in this meeting are required to register separately for the Discovery conference if they wish full access to all keynotes and programming.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Discovery promises to be one of our best shows yet. On Day One, the conference will feature Eric Ries, author and pioneer of the lean startup movement. Also from Singularly University will be David Roberts, one of the world’s top experts on disruptive innovation, security and cybersecurity, and Neil Jacobstein, a leading international expert on artificial intelligence and robotics. On Day Two, attendees will get the rare experience to hear from someone who brought new meaning to ‘game-changer’ when he co-founded YouTube, the world’s largest and most popular video sharing site. Chad Hurley, who previously worked at PayPal, will share his ideas in session moderated by CBC’s Amanda Lang.