Celebrating the launch of a second YEDI Business Acceleration Campus!

We are delighted to announce the opening of YEDI’s second Business Acceleration Campus. On May 1, YEDI opened the doors to its new facility located on the second floor of the IMPROVE Centre in the City of Vaughan. The new Campus features 50,000 sq. ft. of office space, shared co-working space, boardrooms and a 250 seat auditorium. Ventures looking for a dynamic, resourceful and vibrant co-working space are invited to submit an application. 


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FedDev Ontario Announces Investment In YEDI

On Friday April 28th Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario announced an investment in the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute to support the delivery of our Incubator Track program. MP Levitt also celebrated the graduation of 15 entrepreneurs who participated in the first cohort of the program and also met entrepreneurs of the second cohort, which was launched on March 16, 2017.

“The Government of Canada recognizes the vital importance of skills development and growing new companies in making Canada a global centre for innovation. This investment in the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute will help 45 entrepreneurs to gain the necessary skills and access to capital, with a goal of creating innovative companies and jobs of the future.”– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

With this non-repayable contribution through FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation initiative, we are providing much needed seed funding to support entrepreneurs in further commercializing their ideas and launching high-potential, early-stage businesses. During the ceremony, each of the 15 graduating ventures received a non-repayable, equity-free grant of $30,000.

“The York Entrepreneurship Development Institute is a key resource for entrepreneurs from any industry or sector. With the FedDev Ontario funding, the Institute will provide entrepreneurs with comprehensive training and mentorship to teach them the business skills they need to turn their innovative ideas into real solutions.”

– Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre

We would like to thank FedDev Ontario for their generous investment, and thank all those who joined us on Friday for this wonderful announcement. As entrepreneurs establish and grow their businesses with help from this program, it is expected that up to 70 new full-time jobs will be created. Congratulations to all our newly funded entrepreneurs!  We wish you continued success and are looking forward to sharing your results.

“We are extremely proud of the program and community of successful entrepreneurs we have created over the past few years. So far our hard-working graduates have one of the best survival rates of Canadian start-ups, and we believe that with this additional funding to help seed their ventures, they will be even more successful, and have long-term prosperity.”

– Dr. Marat Ressin, President, York Entrepreneurship Development Institute

MP Michael Levitt and Dr. Marat Ressin presenting Matrix Thompson with seed funding for his venture

Left to Right: Maria Konikov, YEDI Director of Operations; Andrea Orazi, Program graduate and Founder of The Chufa Co; MP Michael Levitt; Dr. Marat Ressin, YEDI President; Dr. Alan Middleton, Executive Director, Schulich Executive Education Centre

Fall 2016 Cohort Graduates

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On March 9th, 2017, YEDI celebrated the successful graduation of  the Fall 2016 Incubator Track. The graduation marked the completion of 4 months of dedicated work by participating entrepreneurs. The graduates faced a funder audience as they pitched and showcased their projects and ventures at the Schulich Executive Learning Centre at York University. Two of our participants, Kevin Chau (SummaryScanner) and Andrea Orazi (The Chufa Co.), shared: “It’s remarkable that a program like this even exists and helps entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey.”

Following the formal pitch presentations, the entrepreneurs offered a closer look into their ventures while networking with guests from different industries and organizations supporting entrepreneurship in Canada.

YEDI would like to congratulate all the participants for their hard work!  We look forward to seeing you grow and succeed even more. Thank you as well to everyone who attended the Venture Fair and your continuous support of YEDI.

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On January 17th 2017, YEDI celebrated the successful graduation of it’s Fall 2016 Existing Not-For-Profit cohort. The graduation, which took place at Vaughan City Hall, marked the completion of 4 months of continuous work by the participating organizations and projects.

During the Not-For-Profit Venture Fair, the participants faced a funder audience, pitching and showcasing their progress throughout the program. At the closing of the presentations, participants Nadia Sayeh (ANNISAA Organization of Canada) and Leslie Shapiro (Ahavat Yisrael Hebrew School) shared their personal experience of the YEDI program: “The diversity of the group brought together so many different perspectives. It was a very enjoyable experience, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to participate in it. It will truly have a lasting effect on my life”, said Nadya.

The event featured remarks by Dr. Marat Ressin (President, YEDI), Hon. Maurizio Bevilacqua (Mayor, City of Vaughan), Michael Levitt (MP, York Centre), Rabbi Yoseph Zaltzman (Chief Rabbi, Jewish Russian Community Centres Ontario), Raphael Costa (Manager, Vaughan Business Enterprise Centre), along with other notable speakers and representatives.

We are very proud of all the participants who represented their projects at the event and would like to congratulate them on their hard work during this whole time. Thank you as well to everyone who attended the Fall 2016 Venture Fair. We look forward to seeing all the alumni succeed and develop even more!

Applications are now accepted for the Spring 2017 Programs! Apply online for both Existing Not-For-Profit and the For-Profit Incubator by February 10, 2017.  We would love to see you at our next Venture Fair!

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A Year In Review

As 2016 comes to a close, we would like to take a moment to share our achievements from the past year. This year, 60 entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations successfully graduated from our programs. YEDI’s Acceleration Campus continues to grow with 45 companies residing and developing in the space.

Throughout the year new programs, both international and local, were introduced to support a broader array of entrepreneurs. The senior mentorship program is a unique and innovative initiative, which connects retired professionals to early stage entrepreneurs in order to guide them on the path to success. Since launching in September, over 60 entrepreneurs received support from these valuable mentors.

This summer, YEDI went abroad and delivered it’s intensive entrepreneurship program in Israel. The participants received workshop-based training in entrepreneurship and an opportunity to present their venture to top-funders of the Israeli start-up eco-system.

YEDI was also chosen to receive funding from the Federal Government and now provides seed funding of up to $30,000 to innovative entrepreneurs who successfully complete the Incubator Track. Applications for the program are currently accepted until February 10th, 2017. To learn more and apply click here.

Looking back at all the progress made this year, we would like to thank our partners, sponsors, donors and alumni for being a part of this unique community which keeps growing with time. Your contributions enable us to provide valuable and necessary services to not-for-profit organizations and emerging entrepreneurs. We extend our very best wishes for a happy new year. May the upcoming year provide us all with great opportunities, growth and strength.

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous year,

The YEDI team

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YEDI President Dr. Marat Ressin Receives Award for Excellence In Innovation

A prestigious distinction that will honour immigrants recognized as nation builders will highlight the work of YEDI President, Dr. Marat Ressin during the 2016 Pioneers for Change Award Gala.

On June 9, Dr. Marat Ressin will receive an award for Excellence in Innovation.
The awards gala this year will focuses on “immigrants working to build a Canada where every immigrant succeeds” with a lens on seven different categories.

“I am delighted that Dean Mukherjee-Reed and Dr. Ressin have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to Canadian society. Both are respected and prolific researchers and strong contributors to the global impact of York University,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice-chancellor. As president of one of York’s most ground-breaking institutes, Dr. Ressin’s expertise in the development of small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and real estate make him uniquely qualified to guide our student entrepreneurs to success.”

The Pioneers for Change Award Gala was launched in 1993 by Skills for Change, an organization that works to drive forward a shift in immigration and workplace trends.
Pioneers for Change award recipients are, according to Skills for Change, “incredible people who have made a significant and lasting contribution to Canada” and “who inspire newcomers to work toward their own success and follow their vision”.
More than 120 individuals have been recognized as Pioneers for Change since the first awards gala.
For more on the gala, visit

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YEDI Recognized For Achievements by York U President

On March 9 York University President Mamdouh Shoukri joined YEDI for a celebratory event marking the Institute’s achievement as the Top 3 University Linked Accelerator in North America and #1 in Ontario as ranked by UBI Global.

“York University offers some of the most creative entrepreneurial programming available, and YEDI has played an important role in helping us to achieve that. With the initiation of resources such as the Schulich Executive Education Centre and LaunchYU, YEDI has come a long way towards realizing its mission of providing innovators from any sector or industry top-tier training, business education, and mentorship. It is wonderful to see organizations such as UBI Global recognizing YEDI for what it is—a key catalyst for growing the knowledge-based economy in Canada and around the world.”
Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor, York University

​We look forward to continued joint success!


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On November 3, 2015, YEDI was ranked the #1 University linked accelerator in Ontario and #3 in North America at the UBI Global and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) benchmarking conference & award ceremony for the 2015 top performing university business incubators and accelerators in North America. The event was held at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St W, Toronto, ON, Canada.


The event highlighted best practices, hands-on-tools, analyses, success stories, and featured inspiring presentations that allowed those who attended to network, learn from each other and improve performance in order to enhance economic transformation and local, regional and national development.


“We measure results to assess how we are impacting and improving the world through the creation of effective and growing ventures” says YEDI President, Dr. Marat Ressin who was unable to accept the award in-person as he joined Ontario Premier Wynne on her China Trade Mission. He believes that the UBI Global Benchmark is an important tool for the industry to understand where it stands and how to move forward.


2015 has been an exceptional year for North America’s incubators, the third largest region UBI Global benchmarks in terms of sample size.
North American business incubators have attracted a total of $1.98b in investment. With regard to deal flow North America as a whole accept 9.2k applications per year, equating to an average of 154 applications per incubator.
In the last 5 years, North America’s business incubators have created 28.4k jobs (473 jobs per incubator) and over the same time period generated $5.3b in sales, equating to an average of $89m in sales per incubator.


​Congratulations to all our participants, alumni, supporters and team!!


​Top University Business Accelerator
A Top University Business Accelerator is an accelerator managed or formally affiliated with a university, that provides better value for the ecosystem and their startup clients than their regional or global peers. They stand out from average-performing accelerators with better outcomes on economy enhancement, access to funds and post acceleration performance indicators.

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After incubating more than 100 ventures, we are excited to announce the launch of YEDI’s Business Acceleration Campus. Committed to helping fuel high potential, high growth ventures, the 80,000 sq ft. facility is complete with commercial, industrial, office, educational, TV studio and theatrical spaces to serve a diverse mix of industries and needs.

The Acceleration Campus aims to provide a robust co-working and educational space for ventures requiring resources past the initial incubation phase. Access to subject matter experts, broad investor base, one-on-one goal setting and on-going educational sessions are all part of the accelerator’s value-added free service suite.

For those looking to take residence in this new and innovative space, we strongly believes in ventures retaining full ownership and do not take equity in exchange for participation. Instead, accepted ventures can choose from several space options at market value price points.

Upon acceptance, one year goals are set and reviewed on an on-going basis with program advisors to ensure participants are continuously taking their organizations to the next level.

Applications are currently accepted from both for-profit and not-for-profit ventures that are in their growth stage. Interested applicants may submit an application via; all applications are reviewed on a rolling-basis and acceptance is dependent on fit and space availability. ”


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On Monday October 26, we hosted our quarterly alumni networking event on the ever popular topic of social media. Alumni learnt valuable tips and insights from industry experts Blue Door Inc.

For those who were unable to attend the event in-person, here are 5 things you must be doing on social media:
1. Create great content 
– Re-post or create content that is relevant and will be interesting to your target   market.
2. Distribute content (ads, hashtags, contests, influencer network)
– With so much content being published every second, it may be difficult for your target audience to find you without some added help in getting their attention. Some free and easy ways to get your content in front of a larger audience is by using hashtags which are relevant to the post and audience. Additionally, investing in ads across relevant social media platforms can increase exposure in a shorter period of time.
3. Engage with customers & prospects
– Your customers, both past and future, are human. They would like to interact and feel that there is another human on the other side of the screen. Some useful ways to do this are: respond 100% of the time, like, comment & share, use a name and always provide exceptional service.
4. Use tools
  – It can be a challenge to manage a social media presence while simultaneously overseeing many other aspects of your start-up or organization. To make the process more manageable, consider using free platforms such as Hootsuite to pre-schedule posts and Followerwonk to quickly find potential followers and influences in your industry. 

5. Measure results
– In order to know whether your strategy is working or not, you must invest time into measuring it along the way. Consider important metrics such as:  followers, engagement, sales, phone calls and web traffic among others. 



The event was hosted at the newly renovated JRCC East Thornhill and refreshments provided at the event were generously donated by Tov Li and DANI Toronto. ​

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Marking the culmination of 4 months of hard work, graduates of the Spring Incubator and Existing Not-For-Profit tracks pitched their ventures to YEDI’s funder audience on
June 26th and 29th.

Events featured remarks by various politicians, YEDI partners and supporters including: Dr. Marat Ressin (President, YEDI), Dr. Alan Middleton (Executive Director, SEEC),
Gail Gillian (President, Canadian Association of Business Incubation), Hon. Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua (City of Vaughan), Hon. Peter Kent (MP, Thornhill), Hon. Mark Adler (MP, York Centre), Rabbi Yoseph Zaltzman (JRCC) and Ms. Jennifer Ladouceur (Economic Development City of Vaughan).

We look forward to their continued success!

Have a start-up idea? Growing an existing venture or not-for-profit organization?Applications for the Fall 2015 Incubator and Existing Not-For-Profit tracks are accepted until August 16, 2015. Please follow this link to apply and learn more about YEDI’s various program tracks.

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