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President Lachemi speaks to a crowd gathered at Zone Startups Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City. This was one stop of several during a trip to Hong Kong and Vietnam.
President Mohamed Lachemi visited Vietnam and Hong Kong recently as part of a Ryerson University contingent who are working to raise Ryerson’s growing international profile while developing partnerships around the world.
In Ho Chi Minh City, Lachemi officially opened Zone Startups Vietnam, part of the global network of accelerator programs operated by Ryerson Futures in Canada and India. He also launched the Next Big Idea Contest that offers selected local tech startups access to mentors, investors and the North American market.
“Vietnam has the characteristics that Ryerson looks for in new partnerships — talent, capital, and the will to support innovation,” said President Lachemi. “One of our priorities at Ryerson is to partner with other vibrant, urban centres around the world that create opportunities for students, faculty, research and innovation.”
Joining President Lachemi were Ian Mishkel, Ryerson’s vice-president of university advancement and alumni relations, Anver Saloojee, Ryerson’s assistant vice-president, international, and Matt Saunders, president of Ryerson Futures and Zone Startups.
Following the launch of the Zone Startups Vietnam, the group traveled to Hong Kong where they met with Ryerson alumni, local business leaders and entrepreneurs to present Ryerson’s leading-edge approach to shaping future leaders and advancing research in a knowledge-based economy.
At an invitation-only presidential lunch at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the Ryerson leaders discussed how the university’s network of successful business incubators equips graduates to thrive in a world of change.
“We are experiencing a time when political and economic norms are turning upside down and universities are having to think about their place in the world, and how they can remain relevant,” Lachemi said.
“At Ryerson, we see this change as an opportunity to take our message globally — a message that Ryerson is a place that builds solutions for the complex challenges facing our times. And that our university is very interested in connecting the innovation ecosystems of Toronto and Hong Kong.”
In 2013, Ryerson launched its first acceleration partnership with the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai. In 2016, it created Zone Startups Calgary in a partnership with GE Canada, and Zone Startups Sports + Media in partnership with Rogers. Each zone startup offers accelerator services, seed stage venture funding and innovation consulting practice. The goal is to invest in early-stage technology companies and help promising enterprises grow.
This article was first published on November 22 in Ryerson Today.