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U of T’s ONRamp aims to give Ontario startups a leg up

U of T’s ONRamp aims to give Ontario startups a leg up 

ONRamp will serve as a “home-away-from-home” for entrepreneurs from other Ontario universities, according to an article written by Chris Sorensen for the U of T News.

The facility is Located in the Banting building at the U of T. ONRamp will not only connect entrepreneurs and startups from across U of T’s extensive network of entrepreneurship hubs but throughout southern Ontario via partnerships with Hamilton’s McMaster University and London’s Western University, said Sorensen.

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Technology startup, Shield Crypto Systems aims to supply banks and credit card companies with a more secure form of encryption, but at the moment leasing an office would be a big strain on the company’s budget, according to co-founder Alhassan Khedr.

With ONRamps, Khedr and fellow co-founder Glenn Gulak, a professor in U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, was spared from spending thousands of dollars on lease payments.

“Before finding this space we were thinking of renting something,” Khedr said. “But at this stage of a company’s evolution, it’s such an expensive proposition.”

ONRamp will assist entrepreneurs from other Ontario universities such as those at London’s Western University, which runs the Propel entrepreneurship program.

Having a presence in Toronto is important for the long-term success of any Canadian business, according to Ian Haase, director of entrepreneurship of Western University.

He said ONRamp will enable startups on Propel to take advantage of the amazing programs and resources available through the University of Toronto.

The community targeted by ONRamp is made up of early-stage businesses, many of which specialize in turning cutting-edge research in fields that range from medicine to computer science.

ONRamp occupies three floors of the building. It has several flexible shared workspaces, meeting rooms, boardrooms and event spaces, including the RBC Innovation Hub.

The facility is supported by U of T and RBC as part of a $4 million commitment by the bank to support the university’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

ONRamp aims to serve the entrepreneur community of the province’s universities, many of which specialize in turning the university’s cutting-edge research into game-changing companies in fields that range from medicine to computer science.

ONRamp has already been used for events hosted by U of T’s Impact Centre, the Entrepreneurship Hatchery and the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL).

Some of the early users of the space include Structura Biotechnology. The company uses machine learning algorithms to develop 3D models of proteins to aid the development of new drug therapies.

 “If we didn’t have this space,” said Saara Punjani, a York University law school grad and chief operating officer of Structura. “We would be hopping from classroom to classroom.”

ONRamp will allow the Structura team to spend more time-solving business problems as opposed to logistical ones, she said.

Learn more about OnRamp at U of T Entrepreneurship

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