Downtown Toronto may soon be home to an Indigenous District and the Indigenous Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
The new hub was adopted by the city’s Executive Committee this week, and will be heading to council March 26.
Backed by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, the adopted proposal was for an Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to be built at Dundas and Jarvis, acting as an incubator and accelerator.
According to a report by Wong-Tam, the incubators would provide new businesses with support such as office space, mentorship, funding, shared resources, and training. The accelerators will be short-term programs, that focus on supporting entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses.
The development would support Toronto’s Indigenous District application for the Smart Cities Challenge. A national challenge that “encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.”
“We believe the Indigenous District is the ideal Smart Cities Challenge proposal. This initiative will accelerate the transformation of the Dundas Street corridor into a world centre for Indigenous innovation and leadership, act as a tool to engage and encourage other knowledge hubs throughout the region and country through the creation of physical and virtual corridor,” said Wong-Tam.
The Councillor also said that the Indigenous District “will enable businesses and entrepreneurs to work with the community to access Indigenous-led innovation, technology and talent through virtual and physical co-working locations. The creation of Canada’s first-ever Indigenous District serves as a scalable model for private, public, university, and civil society partnerships.”
The building, which is located at 200 Dundas Street East, is currently under construction, and the City will “ultimately own the 16,000 sq. ft. space.”
“The new centre will be the catalyst to bring a diverse community into focus,” said Wong-Tam. “We strive to create the best ecosystem for social innovation and entrepreneurship with the Indigenous community and beyond.”
The Toronto project is supported by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Indigenous Place Making Council, Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council, and MaRS Discovery District.