11 February 2016

Mayor John Tory launches #startuphereTO

Toronto Mayor John Tory today launched StartUp HERE Toronto - a new initiative to encourage and enhance innovation and entrepreneurship in the GTA and with the Kitchener-Waterloo corridor. Hosted at the Toronto Shopify offices, this morning's event featured four breakout discussion groups to bring fresh thinking to the City's efforts at (re)imagining the future of the city and its role in supporting a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs, including those innovating in the sharing economy and digital space. It was a fantastic event attended by many leading entrepreneurs and established technology companies, and the discussions engaging and thought-provoking.

I was in the future of the city group and there was great discussion on leveraging the city's convening power to create a runway for startups to disrupt and innovate the economy. One idea was to leverage the local BIAs (Business Improvement areas - of which there are purportedly 81 in Toronto) as ways to try out ideas and new technologies prior to scaling more widely. Great thinking, led by a great and dynamic team from the City of Toronto and the Mayor himself.

As I mentioned on Twitter, Mayor Tory coined a nice phrase in describing the current gold rush:

People are the gold of the 21st century - mayor Tory on and the talent pool in TO - enabling the Innovation economy

Kudos to everyone at the City for showing exceptional leadership. Read the press release here.

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