Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University
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Young innovators, our future: supporting postsecondary (r)evolution
In 2009 a group of Ryerson students approached Sheldon Levy with a radical idea. Inspired by next generation technology, and wanting their education to make an impact, they asked for a new kind of learning and research space for entrepreneurial development and invention. In 2010 the Digital Media Zone opened its doors and became an immediate international phenomenon. In three years the DMZ has incubated 75 startups, initiated more than 125 projects, graduated 23 companies, created over 600 jobs and hosted nearly 650 tours.
The explosion of entrepreneurial activity in the Ryerson Digital Media Zone weighs in on issues like the environment, transportation, health, global culture and empowering public opinion. Projects range from biomedical technology to consumer driven profitability, photography, financial literacy, green corporations, interactive advertising, and the GoMobile app, among many more. International fellowships are bringing exceptional teams to Canada to collaborate and develop their ideas.
What started as a single space at 10 Dundas Street East now occupies three floors, and demand for admission continues to grow. Getting into the Zone is rigorous and competitive, and you have to make the grade to stay. It is a model that invests the highest academic standards with the vigour of emerging technology and the urgency of economic and social progress, and assumes a thriving partnership with government, industry and business. While the tools are new, entrepreneurial innovators possess the time honoured qualities of leadership: they are passionate, principled, indefatigable and persistent, able to create and design, undeterred by failure, and great team players. They are defining the future.
The presentation will feature a panel of young DMZ entrepreneurs joining Sheldon Levy in an exploration of the postsecondary (r)evolution, and what is needed for Canada to be among the world’s best. The venue is the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, Ryerson’s new facility on Carlton Street, included in the ESPN list of Top 10 Most Historic Stadiums in North America.
Sheldon Levy has been President of Ryerson University since 2005. He is dedicated to student success, distinctive academic programs and research, and the university’s role as city builder. He was named one of Toronto Life’s 50 most influential people in the city and was named CEO of the Year by the Canadian Public Relations Society.