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The Creative Destruction Lab receives $25 million from Canadian government

October 9, 2018

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Tiff Macklem, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, shakes handsThe Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) will soon be expanding their operations to spur research and development, attract more investment in Canadian companies and provide STEM learning opportunities for young women, thanks to support from the federal government’s Strategic Innovation Fund.

Earlier today at the Rotman School of Management, Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, made the announcement that the CDL would be receiving $25 million, over the next four years.

“Creative Destruction Lab's exciting project promises to unleash a new wave of start-up innovation across Canada, creating thousands of middle-class jobs and further securing Canada's position as a world leader in the AI field. Our government is proud to make investments that will help turn hundreds of innovative ideas into the good jobs and companies of tomorrow,” said Bains.

The CDL will be using these funds to back a number of upcoming initiatives. In addition to supporting Canadian research and development, the Lab will also be using the funds to scale up more than 1,300 start-ups across the country, from the five Canadian universities where the CDL operates. The Lab will also be launching a new program aimed at encouraging young women to pursue STEM fields, by opening up spots at future CDL sessions for up to 1,500 female high school students.

Since the Lab was founded at the Rotman School of Management by Professor Ajay Agrawal at the University of Toronto in 2012, it has helped scale up of over 500 science-based ventures using an objective-setting mentorship approach, led by experienced entrepreneurs and angel investors. The CDL program has expanded significantly and now operates out of five universities across Canada and out of New York University.

“The Creative Destruction Lab was founded in 2012 to address a failure in the market for entrepreneurial judgment. Our structured and rigorous program helps first-time founders of science-based companies with that prioritization process. While we fully leverage market forces to provide prioritization guidance from individuals who themselves have built successfully scaled businesses, the coordination of those market forces requires non-market support. That is why we are so grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting our mission that will drive economic impact and create jobs, learning opportunities, and global leadership for deep-tech and science-based companies across Canada,” said Sonia Sennik, executive director of the Creative Destruction Lab.

The Lab has continually evolved their offerings to keep up with the latest advances in business and technology. Earlier this year, the CDL launched a new space stream, designed for supporting entrepreneurs interested in breaking into space-related markets. The Lab also supports ventures that specialize in artificial intelligence, blockchain-AI, cities, energy, health, quantum machine learning, among other areas.

“This is a tremendous moment,” Tiff Macklem, dean at the Rotman School, said following the announcement. “Thank you Minister Bains, the Government of Canada and everyone that saw the vision and the opportunity of the Creative Destruction Lab.”

Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation, also spoke at this morning’s briefing and elaborated on the impact of the award.

Goel described how this investment from the government “will not only help the Creative Destruction Lab continue to do business here in Toronto, but at its sites across the country and around the world. The Creative Destruction Lab is an example of a start-up that is now scaling globally.”


Written by Rebecca Cheung


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