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The Recovery Cohort

The Recovery Cohort is a one-time incubator and accelerator program for startups, creators, artists and innovators focused on rebuilding the creative industries post-Covid, and imagining the creative landscape of the future, with a focus on ethical design, diversity, and sustainability.

The cohort is a collaboration between the creative incubators of the Design Fabrication ZoneFashion ZoneTransmedia Zone, and Music Den.

Applications for the final winter 2021 session of the cohort close November 29, 2020

Gradient image from yellow to red to teal with the Recovery Cohort logo ontop

Applications are closed.

The Recovery Cohort 2 is no longer accepting applications to our cohort of the Recovery Incubator and Accelerator programs.

Stay tuned to our social media, external link to find out when our next application period will be. Reach out to with any questions!

View the recording of our Fall Info Session, external link.

Recovery Cohort 2 brand

Program Benefits

The Creative Innovation Studio and the Recovery Cohort is made for, but not limited to:

  • Creatives working on a project, from designers in fashion, new media artists, media storytellers, and music innovators who demonstrate great potential and passion
  • Entrepreneurs and founders working on building start-ups and businesses in creative industries
  • Researchers investigating and developing new and novel applications and concepts in creative sectors
  • Innovators looking to push the boundaries of what is possible in their industry

Guidance from a robust roster of mentors to support on technical, conceptual, branding, and business aspects, including a dedicated staff member who will track your progress, help you set milestones, connect you to resources, and help you attain your goals

Access to a peer network

Access to a supportive online peer-network consisting of a cross- industry  community of innovative and curious makers, entrepreneurs, researchers, technologists and artists all working through similar and shared challenges

Timely programming and speakers on creative entrepreneurship and industry-specific topics

Media & marketing exposure including Monthly Showcase opportunities

Remote & socially distant fabrication & technical support for prototyping

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Industry perks including discounts on services & tickets to conferences

Help and support reaching and accessing student talent at Ryerson University with funding support such as the Magnet student program

Innovation, adaptability, ethics, inclusivity and sustainability built into the fabric of everything that is presented

Academic liaisons and cutting edge research support

The Recovery Cohort 2 is the final session of the cohort that will occur in Winter 2021, starting in January 2021.

This is a highly competitive cohort with a limited number of companies being admitted in both the incubator and accelerator programs.

Application Deadlines:

Winter 2021 Cohort - November 29, 2020

Application Process:

1. Apply Online - fill out the application form, external link, opens in new window. If you have any questions about the application, contact us!

2. Screening - we review your application once the application deadline has passed and evaluate its strength & fit. If we have further questions, we may ask you to virtually have a conversation with some of our selection team.

3. Offer - you receive an emailed formal acceptance into the program

4. On-boarding - attend a virtual on-boarding session to meet staff & members of your cohort and to learn about the full program for the next 4 months.

Application Questions: To take a look through the application questions before applying, visit this link, external link, opens in new window.

About The Recovery Cohort

Crisis the world over has disrupted every aspect of our lives, and the creative industries have not been exempt from this great upheaval. The ways in which we shop, experience concerts, produce films, engage within public spaces and build new design projects have been upended and the fashion, media, music and design industries are facing unprecedented changes.

A global pandemic has forced us to transition to a new hybrid online reality, and social unrest has highlighted the urgent need for systemic change. Now, we must reconsider production processes and pipelines, the relationship between brands and their audiences, the sustainability of our processes and practices, and the biased politics of who gets to be a creator. In this poignant moment in history, the opportunity isn’t just to rebuild, but to reimagine: it’s a time to fix what was broken - even before the world stood still - and look beyond the horizon, to design a future for the creative industries rooted in positive change.

What does Recovery mean?

For the Recovery Cohort, we define recovery in the creative industries as a business, project or initiative doing at least one of the following:

  • Creating and/or utilizing new production pipelines & distribution channels
    • Ex. Delivering concerts virtually; selling product online; using a virtual prototyping environment; creating content remotely; etc.
  • Responding to physical distancing challenges
    • Ex. Connecting separated communities; creating contactless technology; immersive experiences that maintain distance between participants; etc.
  • Using and/or facilitating ethical design
    • Ex. The impacts of what’s being created should be considered & tested and profit shouldn’t be at the expense of ethics; games/apps that incorporate methods to combat addictiveness; combatting biases in AI development; protecting user privacy; artist-centric business models; fair trade products; designing hospital spaces to improve patient experience; etc.
  • Implementing practices in accordance to the principles of social justice
    • Ex. Using fashion, media, music or design fabrication as a tool for social justice
  • Incorporating and/or supporting communities that have been marginalized in the creative industries
    • Ex. Teams/projects/businesses that place racialized, marginalized or ignored bodies and experiences in the executive seat and at all stages of pre-production, production and post production; ensuring outputs are accessible to audiences of all abilities; etc.
  • Operating with and/or facilitating sustainable practices 
    • Ex. Clean supply chains; production environments that promote a healthy work/life balance; reduction of waste in fabrication processes; local manufacturing; etc.

We will be designing our program to include these elements & consideration into the fabric of everything that is presented.

Program Streams

The Recovery Cohort has three streams - an incubator, an accelerator and a student development option - and will be delivered in the Winter 2021 cohort.

The Incubator

The Recovery Cohort Incubator stream is a 14-week virtual program that supports Canadian early-midstage businesses, experimental projects and innovative creators doing recovery work in the creative industries that are developing, validating and/or prototyping.

The Accelerator

The Recovery Cohort Accelerator stream is a 14-week virtual program that supports Canadian early-midstage businesses doing recovery work in the creative industries that are in the market and looking to grow their revenue/sales.

Recovery Industries and Sectors

  • Reconsiders the human experience in interior environments, such as reconceptualizing home, retail and hospitality space; 
  • Connect humans through VR and integrated haptic experiences 
  • Develops temporary art installations that provide immersive experiences while physical distancing 
  • Reimagines the UX of aviation 
  • Imagines automated and contactless technology, transportation and services
  • Develops pipelines and products focused on local manufacturing
  • Develops devices, products and spatial installations centred around wellness and mental health
  • Establish agile micro factories for prototype and testing
  • Diversifying supply chains (i.e., reshoring), production processes, and sales channels
  • Shifting to direct to consumer  models (vs. Wholesale)
  • Incorporating technology (AI, AR) to ease shopping restrictions and/or ease logistics for retailers
  • Companies accelerating progress on sustainable initiatives  (i.e, support local communities, support and boost frontline health care workers/employees/society
  • Pivoting manufacturing to meet demand 
  • Clean CPG products (clean beauty)
  • Ground design and business practices in social justice 
  • Incorporating community participation in design, production and distribution
  • Teams/projects/businesses that contest fashion as an exclusive field/industry
  • Teams/projects/businesses that place racialized, marginalized or ignored bodies and experiences in the executive seat 
  • Teams/projects/businesses that propose alternatives to current industry models and paradigms 
  • Teams/project/businesses that use fashion as a tool for social justice
  • Platforms that enable news ways of creating, collaborating or exhibiting
  • New technologies that make storytelling possible during social distancing: avatars, empathic VR, CG
  • Stories with a unique and distinctive POV that has been underrepresented or neglected by mainstream media
  • Reimagining live events: music; joint play; live performance; VR; escape rooms; live journalism; live streaming 

  • Re-imagining production: applying or developing new methods, technologies or platforms to produce remotely and during a time of social distancing 

  • Reimagining dating and networking 
  • Teams/projects/businesses that use media as a tool for social justice
  • Teams/projects/businesses that are led by racialized, marginalized or ignored bodies at pre-production, production and post-production stages
  • Production that supports the mental wellbeing of its staff and sustainable workdays
  • Shifting towards artist-centric business models
  • Reimagining the traditional record label funding models and copyright ownership
  • Working with user-generated content and direct-to-fan initiatives
  • Working towards equitable access and leadership in communities that have been traditionally exploited by the music business
  • Reimagining profit vs nonprofit initiatives in music
  • Developing new revenue streams for artists and music organizations
  • Cleaning up the messy world of metadata and rights holders
  • International collaboration

Member Stories