2019-2020 Annual Report
It has been another amazing year of growth and learning at the Social Ventures Zone (SVZ) as we continue to work with students, alumni, faculty and people from the broader community to build social ventures that create real impact.
Funding to Date*
70% Women-led Ventures
*Includes $ from investments, donors, grants, and competitions
**$ revenue from sales of goods and services
The number of startups that applied to join the SVZ continued to grow, with upwards of 30 ventures applying for each of our three intake rounds during the year. Our Admissions Committee was able to ask a portion of these applicants to join our incubation stream (bringing our total there to more than 33 ventures by the end of the fiscal year) while we were able to accommodate many others through our Ideation programming or by referring them to other resources in the community.
We introduced a new internship program to pair SVZ startups with students interested in gaining work experience and learning about social issues. Our first internship cohort saw 19 students join ventures working in fields as diverse as fashion and tech. We also partnered with the Ryerson Liberal Arts Society in its SPROUT competition to bring more than 70 students together over a weekend to design innovative solutions to social problems.
We added four new volunteers (Nathalie Crosbie, Aliya Ladhani, Helen Shumilova and Sheena Williams) to our roster of community coaches, bringing our total number of professionals who donate their time to more than 30. Three of these coaches (Mark Barnes, Andrew Moss and Sandra Odendahl) were honoured by Ryerson with the G. Raymond Chang Outstanding Volunteer Award for their contribution.
We continued to welcome visitors from universities around the world who were curious about our unique learning environment that brings students and community members together to learn from each other and benefit from the range of supports that the SVZ provides. Delegations visited the Zone from Scandinavia, central Europe, South America, the Middle East and India – as well as from a range of Canadian universities.
In addition to our part-time Director and full-time Coordinator, we were able to make our Community Engagement Coordinator into a full-time role to boost our engagement of students and community members. We were also able to offer work experience to a Ryerson student, who joined the team on a short-term basis as through the Career Boost Program. These efforts are just a sample of the many areas in 2019-20 where we continued in our mission to help support social enterprise and the entrepreneurs at their heart.
Strong community partnerships are key to the growth and impact of the SVZ. In the 2019-2020 operating year, we benefited from a variety of activities, programs, events and workshops as a result of collaborating with key members within the space of social innovation.