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Government of Canada invests in Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

October 9, 2018

Investment will accelerate growth of science-based start-ups

Toronto – The Government of Canada announced an investment of $25 million in the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The CDL merges science-based projects with business expertise to help young companies scale up into creators of new products, services and jobs.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, made the announcement today at the Rotman School. With this investment, CDL will accelerate the commercialization of science in Canada, attract more investment in ventures and see more intellectual property developed and retained in Canada. CDL's project will involve more than 1,300 science-based ventures in a wider network across Canada over four years, and it is estimated that these ventures could create up to 22,000 new jobs.     

“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 Minister Bains.

“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 opportunity of the Creative Destruction Lab.”

The funding will help CDL gain insight into the success of science-based start-ups. The research project using artificial intelligence (AI) tools will facilitate CDL supporting business ventures that harness emerging technologies such as AI, energy, health, smart cities and space and quantum technologies. The CDL project will also support the growth of science-based business start-ups through mentorship and access to angel and venture capital. In addition, CDL will boost its engagement of young women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to ensure broad representation in the next generation of technology and business leaders in Canada.

CDL will run programs with start-ups in Toronto at the Rotman School of Management and with its CDL partners in Vancouver Calgary, Montreal and Halifax: Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia; Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary; HEC Montréal, Université de Montréal; and, Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University.

"The Creative Destruction Lab was founded in 2012 to address a failure in the market for judgment. First-time founders of science-based companies, while fully committed to the success of their venture and possessing deep knowledge in their technical domain, often lack the business judgment required to prioritize among the almost infinite list of to-dos required to successfully build and scale their business. Our structured and rigorous program helps them 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.

This investment is being made through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a program designed to attract and support high-quality business investments across all sectors of the economy by encouraging R&D that will accelerate technology transfer and the commercialization of innovative products, processes and services and will facilitate the growth of innovative firms.

The CDL is a seed stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies. Its nine-month program pairs founders with experienced entrepreneurs and investors to set focused, measurable objectives with the goal of maximizing equity-value creation. Founded in 2012 by Prof. Ajay Agrawal at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, the program has now expanded with locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Halifax, and New York City. More information is available at

Since its inception in 2012, companies that have participated in the CDL programs have created over $3 billion (CAD) in equity value. CDL Alumni include Thalmic Labs (Waterloo), Atomwise (San Francisco), Deep Genomics (Toronto), and Kyndi (Palo Alto).

The Rotman School of Management is part of the University of Toronto, a global centre of research and academic excellence at the heart of Canada’s multicultural commercial capital. Rotman is a catalyst for transformative learning, insights and public engagement, bringing together diverse views and initiatives around a defining purpose: to create value for business and society.  For more information, visit


For more information:

Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
Voice: 416.946.3818

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