You are now in the main content area

Our Stories

At any time, Ryerson is supporting several hundred start-ups, or is within our zones and independently. Hundreds of new start-ups have been successfully watched creating thousands of jobs and receiving in excess of $500 million funding.  We support for-profit start-ups and social ventures, both permanent and opportunity specific. Providing details of all these start-ups is impossible, so we provide below description of some of the recent successful launches and the students who were responsible for them.

Project Growing North
, external link, opens in new window

Armed with the mission to provide fresh, locally grown produce to families living in Northern Canada, Enactus Ryerson created Project Growing North. The team raised $264,000 to build a geodesic biodome in Naujaat, Nunavut that is retrofitted with 310 vertical hydroponic towers that can produce up to 20,000+ lbs of produce per year. To encourage youth to be a part of the solution, Enactus Ryerson developed and implemented a curriculum in the local health centre, Arctic College and in the local school. Youth learn about business, horticulture, healthy eating, and sustainable greenhouse operations. By participating in the program, students also get to put their learnings into action while maintaining the greenhouse plants.

How to be a Student Entrepreneur
, external link, opens in new window

Noah Parker, a business management student (graduating in October) and creative director of the menswear startup Four Fifty Five, external link. The business, conceived as part of Parker’s entrepreneurship capstone course, specializes in quality, affordable suits and accessories, tailored in a friendly, personal environment. Incubated in the Fashion Zone, , external link, the business is now located at a boutique-style studio at 90 Ontario Street.

Project Dago – The Microloan Initiative
, external link, opens in new window

Dago is a place with limited jobs and limited resources, where people die young and children are starving. People donate money or goods, but once these resources run out, the community is left where they started. Often the only place women in Dago can make money is in the local market by exchanging goods and services. With no credit, land, education, or possessions, Kenyan women are entrepreneurs out of necessity, struggling to pay for school and feed their children, let alone save or build capital. 

To address this need, we worked hand-in-hand with the villagers on to help them achieve business education and financial literacy. We then created a Microfinance Program modelled after the Grameen Bank and microloans. These women have now started over 40 businesses in the community, since the project’s inception. They meet weekly to keep each other accountable, share best practices and complete our weekly education packages. Every year, the payments from the microloans are paid back in full and recycled to new entrepreneurs, making this initiative internally sustainable.

Project Dago – The Beekeeping Initiative
, external link, opens in new window

Dago is a place with limited jobs and limited resources, where people die young and children are starving. People donate money or goods, but once these resources run out, the community is left where they started. 75% of Dago’s economy is dependent on crops. But due to lack of agricultural education the villagers were burning natural beehives, not knowing that the bees pollinate the very crops they rely on. Without bees, there was a significant reduction in their crops.

To address this need, we created the Dago Beekeepers Association, combining aspects from the Ontario and the Kenya Beekeepers Associations, empowering 9 men with the means to tackle this agricultural challenge. We helped them build a practical training ground with four beehives to teach them the hands on skills needed to become beekeepers. We also taught them business education to build a foundation and set long-term goals. After the honey was ready to be extracted, we taught them advanced beekeeping skills such as honey extraction and additional business education to help them identify new distribution channels.

We also noticed the beekeepers did not have a collaborative mindset, so we helped them create their own constitution to share best practices and sell their honey together. 10% of the profits go back to the association and are reinvested into equipment, and branding.

In 2016, we introduced beeswax candles to the beekeepers as another source of income, and we cannot wait to see the results!

Project Pathway
, external link, opens in new window

Project Pathway’s mission is to empower disadvantaged Aboriginal Canadians by transforming their personal strengths into entrepreneurial ventures. Many Indigenous individuals struggle due to lack of education, basic work skills, and stigma surrounding natives. Over 50% live below the poverty line and with a 27% unemployment rate; many of them struggle to maintain a decent standard of living. Through one-on-one mentorship and customized modules, our highly trained student mentors teach business education with topics such as market research, pricing strategies and branding as well as financial literacy with topics such as budgeting, saving and income tax, ultimately allowing them to build successful futures.

Former Ryerson Student, Noura Sakkijha, Cofounder and CEO of Mejuri
, external link, opens in new window

MBA ’12 graduate and DMZ alum Noura Sakkhija, who won the 2012 $25,000 Slaight Business Plan competition for her jewelry company Mejuri, was featured in Marie Claire about her work style and aesthetic.

Visit the link to learn more about her journey and her business.