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Become a Member

Interested in becoming a member of the Social Ventures Zone? We offer two streams, depending on where you're at:


You have an idea for social change, but aren't sure how to make it a reality:

 You want to create social change, you have an idea for how to do it, but you don’t have a business plan or a venture

 You’re passionate about making this happen.

 You’d like some support to start working on your idea

If this sounds like you, we have a range of supports in our Ideation program that can help you further develop your idea. 


You have an idea for social venture that you think is ready for incubation:

 If you have an idea you have researched and developed into a social venture that is ready for the next step;


 You are already leading a social project, enterprise, service, or product that is beginning to make a difference to the people or system that it touches, but you want to take it to the next level.

If this sounds like you, apply to join the SVZ Incubation cohort! 

Please note that in light of COVID-19, Spring 2021 Cohort programming will be delivered online. 

Looking to get involved in a different way? Here are other ways to join our community.

Admission Criteria for Venture Incubation

Our Admissions Committee is made up of faculty, staff, fellow entrepreneurs, and community members and meets each semester (three times per year) to evaluate ventures requesting admission.  Each application is blindly scored according to the following criteria:

  1. Potential Impact: How will the venture impact people or the environment, address a serious concern and/or have a potential to engage community partners?
  2. Degree of Innovation:  To what degree does the venture idea mimic established approaches or does it present a new and innovative approach (and the potential for disruptive change)?
  3. Potential of Sustainability:  Has the individual or team thought through how the venture can be viable (e.g. multiple sources of revenue, support of a partner, etc)?
  4. Personal Capacity:  Does the team lead and/or team members have a demonstrated history of self-starting, a passion for the issue, etc.?

After the Admissions Committee reviews and evaluates the online application, it may choose one of two (2) options:

  1. Decide not to accept the application and recommend other courses of action to improve the idea for resubmission, suggest other places it can find support, etc.; or,
  2. Offer stage one approval and ask the individual and/or team proponent(s) to attend an in-person pitch session with committee members

Proponents who are asked to pitch should prepare a basic slide deck (no more than ten slides) explaining their project and why it is a good fit for the Social Ventures Zone.  Each pitch should be no more than ten minutes long and will then be followed by up to 15 minutes of questions from the committee.  For an example of a template presentation, please check out Guy Kawasaki’s pitch guidelines here, external link, opens in new window.

In the event that the venture is not accepted, the committee will provide the proponents with feedback as to why and make suggestions, as appropriate, for further work on the concept, other places they may go for support, etc.

Applications for the Social Ventures Zone open three (3) times per year and are accepted in a cohort model following Ryerson University’s semester cycles. Applications are open in December, March and August. 

Spring 2021 Applications are now closed. Stay tuned for our Fall 2021 applications opening in August.