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The DMZ at Ryerson University has been ranked the leading university-based incubator in North America by UBI Global, a Stockholm-based research organization that specializes in benchmarking incubation programs.
Up from second place last year, the DMZ was ranked the highest among 60 programs of its kind in North America, recognizing the DMZ as a world leader in fostering startups.
“The DMZ is at the forefront of Canada’s efforts to grow the digital economy by empowering young people and giving them tools necessary to succeed,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ. “This ranking recognizes our commitment to fuelling innovation in Canada and our work to cultivate a vibrant community with an unparalleled network and program that supports entrepreneurs.”
UBI Global made the selection after conducting more than 60 case studies of university business incubation programs in North America. The benchmark looked at more than 50 performance indicators, and the DMZ scored well in areas that included talent retention, economy enhancement and post-incubation relationships.
“The DMZ’s continued dedication to entrepreneurs and startups has generated outstanding economic impact for the companies it supports,” said Ali Amin, UBI Global CEO. “The result is that DMZ startups perform strongly against the regional benchmark, resulting in higher growth, survival and success rates.”
Five years after launching, more than 200 startups have incubated at the DMZ. They have collectively raised over $120 million in seed funding and have fostered the creation of nearly 1,964 jobs, continuing to benefit the lives of others by developing leading-edge solutions. Having inspired the creation of 10 other zones, or innovation hubs, that contribute to Ryerson’s reputation as a leader in innovation, the DMZ’s reach extends far beyond Canada with partnerships in India, South Africa, UK and Tunisia. The incubator offers startups opportunities to grow and accelerate at an unprecedented pace, connecting them with their first big customers, industry-leading advisors, mentors and other entrepreneurs.
"It is an honour for the DMZ to be named the top-ranked university incubator in North America," said Sheldon Levy, president of Ryerson University. “The DMZ, through its growing strategic partnerships, is bringing together some of the brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs from Canada and around the world. Being ranked number one by UBI Global reflects Ryerson and the DMZ's commitment to creating a dynamic ecosystem to support our entrepreneurs and innovators."
Some DMZ success stories include:
Figure 1 is a medical professional photo-sharing app used by 500,000 users to crowdsource diagnoses to complex and rare medical conditions.
SoapBox, an innovation and employee engagement platform for large enterprises which recently announced a $3-million seed round.
DreamQii is a robotics company which broke records in 2014 for the most successful Canadian startup crowdfunding campaign ever with more than $2.5 million raised for its PlexiDrone product.
VISR, an app that helps children safely navigate technology and social media, which just raised $1 million.
UBI Global is the first organization to benchmark the performance and best practices of university business incubation programs. UBI Global is currently holding regional rankings around the world, culminating in a global ranking released in late November.