8 startups that are currently in Ryerson's Black Innovation Fellowship

Jul 28 2020, 6:41 am

Black-owned startups in Toronto that are part of Ryerson’s Black Innovation Fellowship recently received additional funding from the City of Toronto.

The Black Innovation Fellowship (BIF) which is run by Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, is  meant to “empower the next wave of Black entrepreneurs”

On Friday, Mayor John Tory announced that the city is making multiple investments into Toronto’s Black arts and culture community and business sector, “to address the systemic economic, social and cultural exclusion facing Black communities in Toronto.”

To “confront anti-Black racism,” the city will provide $250,000 over five years, or $50,000 annually, to support the Black Innovation Fellowship offered by the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University which supports tech entrepreneurs.

This funding is in addition to a $1 million program expansion announced earlier this summer, as the BIF moves into its second year.

According to the DMZ, the latest commitment comes from Ottawa-based couple Harley Finkelstein, COO, Shopify and entrepreneur Lindsay Taub, combined with a promise from Ryerson University to match new major donations of up to $500K.

The funding goal “will enhance programming initiatives and ensure BIF has the capacity to immerse more Black founders in a space that meets their unique needs, and help break down barriers for business growth. BIF aims to serve more than five times the number of startups currently in the program in the next year.”

“It’s remarkable to see the impact of the Black Innovation Fellowship in its first year,” said Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director, DMZ and CEO, DMZ Ventures.

“This additional support will allow us to keep the momentum going for BIF. We look forward to unlocking more opportunities for early-stage Black startups, and we encourage tech leaders to join us in fighting for underrepresented founders’ rights within Canada’s startup landscape.”

Here are some of the Black-owned businesses that are currently apart of the BIF that you should be looking out for:

  • AirMatrix builds the 3D network of drone roads with industry-leading millimeter precision.
  • Beam.city is a next-gen ads automation platform that helps businesses to plan, automate and optimize their digital ads.
  • Daya Lens develops immersive environments using VR to help therapists deliver exposure therapy.
  • FitDrive Inc. is a software company that helps trainers and gym owners digitize their business, while their mobile app helps trainers train clients and deliver remote workouts.
  • Lagatos brings affordable, uninterrupted, high bandwidth internet to 50% of the world who are currently offline.
  • Trebble FM is a platform to help media organizations create, distribute and monetize interactive newscasts.
  • Odessu  is a virtual shopping assistant for finding clothing and sizes.
  • StonePaper tracks the flow of data and regulation across platforms, on one unified system.

More information on the Black Innovation Fellowship can be found on the Ryerson website.

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