Ryerson’s DMZ & UW’s VeloCity
Most innovation occurs in youth; students are generally more entrepreneurial and less worrisome, and consequently more likely to take chances. Add in Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone and VeloCity to the equation and the risks of entrepreneurship are made smaller still. Ryerson Digital Media Zone was founded over a year later than VeloCity, right in the heart of Toronto, in a gorgeous suite overlooking Yonge-Dundas Square. Despite its recent inception, it has become very accomplished having aided in the creation of 18 companies in a single year. Perhaps the main difference between the DMZ and VeloCity however, is the stage at which these businesses enter the respective incubators. VeloCity, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is geared more towards students within the upper years of study at the University of Waterloo. Generally speaking, they do not yet have a product, service, or even an idea, but instead an innate interest in becoming entrepreneurial. VeloCity then, provides a risk-free environment through which students can take a trial period of entrepreneurship and from that experience, hopefully formulate viable businesses. The DMZ on the other hand, is more like our new workspace at the Communitech Hub, providing a number of resources such as access to legal services and mentorship, and working on substantiating preexisting businesses. The DMZ’s entrants however, are generally further along even than those at the Hub.
So too, there are many similarities between these incubators; they clearly share the same focus on digital media and social innovation, but the commonalities extend much further than this. Neither the DMZ nor VeloCity takes any form of payment from their residents – no IP claims either, and both intend to provide a catalyst to success. Primarily and perhaps most importantly, they both aim to not only aid in the initiation of great businesses within Canada, but furthermore aim to preserve them within the region. Instead of businesses fleeing to gain the much sought after recognition of a workspace in Silicon Valley, they intend to create Canada’s own.