Welcome to the LDFP Commercialization Opportunity Index. The University of Toronto and local commercialization community offer multiple programs, competitions, resources, and services to help LDFP researchers and trainees translate their discoveries into commercial ventures. Please contact a member of the LDFP research office for more information (Mike Folinas, Sam D’Alfonso, or Lia Cardarelli).

Commercialization Resources


Commercialization Opportunities

Arthritis Ideator Awards

The Arthritis Ideator AwardsTM are an integral part of Arthritis Society Canada’s bold innovation strategy. We are committed to uncovering and partnering with bright entrepreneurial talent as they invent and tailor practical solutions that could transform the lives of people living with arthritis.  

We invite ideators, entrepreneurs and start-ups across Canada to submit innovative ideas for this year’s competition that will help us fight the fire of arthritis.    

Ideas and innovations might include, for example: 

  • assistive devices for aiding mobility or making the activities of daily living easier for people with arthritis 
  • technology that can help manage the disease better 
  • an application that helps people monitor symptoms 

Our expert panels will select finalists from among the applications to present their innovative ideas to a panel of judges comprised of an Arthritis Society Canada representative and VIP representatives.  

In total, $200,000 of awards will be presented. The first-place innovator will receive $100,000 and the runner up will receive $50,000, as selected by our VIP judging panel. A People’s Choice Award of $50,000 will also be selected by popular vote of Canadians across the country.  

Learn about the Arthritis Ideator AwardsTM event and award winners from April 2023. 

Key Dates  

September 21, 2023 – Submissions open 
December 21, 2023 – Submissions close (midnight ET)
February 28, 2024 – Finalists announced  
April 8, 2024 – People’s Choice Award voting begins 
April 18, 2024 – Arthritis Ideator AwardsTM

BMO Apex Startup Challenge

The BMO Apex Startup Challenge invites students and entrepreneurs from across Canada to compete at the largest competition of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

Thanks to the generous support of BMO and our sponsors, teams will pitch their ideas to successful business leaders to win $30,000 in prizes.

The Apex experience extends beyond the competitive events, where competitors will be engaged in training workshops, networking opportunities with judges, potential investors and future employers.

  • Pre-competition mentorship on pitching and networking
  • Live practice rounds with experienced coaches
  • Minimum of two opportunities to present per team
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks both days
  • Networking opportunities to meet investors
  • Friday awards reception and dinner

Student business plan track

This is the traditional Apex competition track for graduate or undergraduate students. Judges, entrepreneurs and business leaders mentor students making their first step as entrepreneurs.

  • Divided into two streams: Undergraduate teams and graduate teams
  • $20,000 in cash prizes and awards
  • Deliverables: 10-minute investor pitch presentation, executive summary, financials and 60-second elevator pitch
  • Travel subsidy of up to $500 per team available
  • No fees to apply or compete

New venture track

For early-stage, scalable ventures looking to accelerate their growth to the next stage. Open to graduates, non-students and students running early-stage ventures. Judges play the role of investors.

  • Early stage ventures in any sector eligible $10,000 in non-dilutive cash prizes
  • Deliverables:10 minute investor pitch presentation, executive summary, financials and 60 second elevator pitch
  • No fees to apply or competed

See website for full details, apply by Jan 12, 2024

Collaborate 2 Commercialize

The Ontario Centre for Innovation’s Collaborate 2 Commercialize program (C2C, formerly VIP) supports Industry/Academia collaboration solving an industry-based problem and driving the commercialization of Intellectual Property. The institution leverages the unique skills and specialized infrastructure instrumental in streamlining internal innovations and commercialization needs. Benefits include targeted training of individuals and direct engagement with Industry to work on commercially viable solutions.

C2C has two variants/options:

1:  C2C R&D Standalone Grant 

  • OCI cash contribution $20K-$150K  (Industry Direct Cash $10K-$75K + in-kind, cash matched 2:1 by OCI)
  • Project duration 6-24 months
  • companies of any size, but with a demonstrated receptor capacity

2:  C2C grant combined with NSERC Alliance Grant

  • OCI cash contribution $20K-$30K (Industry Direct Cash $10K-$15K + in-kind, cash matched 2:1 by OCI, and also matched 2:1 by NSERC for an additional $20K-$30K
  • Project duration 6-12 months
  • companies must be Ontario SMEs (global headcount <500 employees)
  • More info on the NSERC website (NSERC website may still refer to VIP rather than C2C)

For full application information and guidelines please visit the OCI website.

Considerations for Cross Border Funding

The Centre for Research & Innovation Support (CRIS) in collaboration with the Innovations and Partnerships Office (IPO) is hosting a 60-minute webinar focused on cross-border considerations in company creation.

Most Canadian start-ups expand to the US market where companies inevitably run into both Canadian and US legal issues. Our panelists will share their experiences and advice on how start-ups can avoid these legal problems when expanding their company. This session will highlight the pros and cons of various approaches to structuring your company and discuss case study examples.

Our panel will include perspectives from an investor and from an attorney from Mintz, a top-ranking US and Canadian based law firm that specializes in servicing life science start-ups. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions.


Jennifer Fraser, Director, Innovations, University of Toronto 

Featured Presenters:

Cheryl Reicin, Partner/International Chair, Life Sciences, Mintz 

Parimal Nathwani, President & CEO of Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners

Learning Objectives:

  • How to be strategic about structuring your company and maintaining flexibility
  • How to best position yourself for financing with investors
  • How to find experienced investors

Schedule & Registration:
Thursday, December 14, 2023, 2:00pm - 3:00 pm
Session Details & Registration 

Hatchery Nest

Established in 2012, the Hatchery NEST is U of T engineering-based process, with more than 94 startups launched since its creation. Hatchery NEST-born products and services include robotic exoskeletons to help provide physiotherapy to children with disabilities, A.I. driven antibody search services to help researchers, and the reinvention of the Allan hex key. One of the NEST’s most recent successes is Kepler Communications, which raised more than $20MM in seed funding for its network of low-cost telecommunication cube satellites and recently launched its first model.

But the Hatchery NEST is not just a place to develop startups – it is an experiential learning opportunity that instills and nurtures the entrepreneurial mindset in all U of T students and faculty. In the Hatchery’s unique environment, students experience the successes and failures of the entrepreneurial journey within a challenging yet supportive setting. Co-founders are encouraged to embrace and overcome risk as a vital element of their journey, creating not only successful entrepreneurs, but also the next generation of leaders as means of societal change.

Application Deadline: Jan 31st, 2024

Apply here.

IN-PART: Industry Partnership Opportunities

IN-PART is an online service connecting academics with industry and their research challenges.

Collaborative research projects currently available can be found on the IN-PART website. Applications can be as short as 200-300 words and should not contain confidential information. Please review all project criteria carefully and limit your submissions to opportunities of particular relevance.

Please contact Rohan Alvares in the Innovations and Partnerships Office for assistance with the application process and who can apply to the opportunity on your behalf.

Active campaigns include:



(usually 10:59 pm GMT)

Novel Biology or Therapeutic Compounds for Treatment of Immunology & Inflammation Diseases (Link) 6th November 2023
Seeking Protein Engineering Approaches for Conditionally-activated Therapeutics (Link) 8th November 2023
Intellectual Property Education Program

UofT’s IP Education Program introduces the different types of IP, how to protect it, and how to get the most value from it.

The online program was built by UofT Entrepreneurship (UTE) and the Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO) with input from legal professionals and entrepreneurs.

Divided into two complimentary levels, IP Foundations and IP Strategy and Application, the program is integrated with Quercus (U of T’s online learning portal), allowing for inclusion into assignments, workshops, or classroom settings. In addition, U of T students who complete a module can have it recognized on their Co-curricular Record (CCR). 

Program overview:

Level 1: IP Foundations

  • Intro to patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial design, and trade secrets.
  • Requires no prior knowledge and can be completed in ~2 hours.
  • Endorsed by the Province of Ontario’s IP Action Plan.

Level 2: IP Strategy and Application

  • IP strategy and commercialization, including best practices for inventors and entrepreneurs.
  • Learners must complete Level 1 before advancing to Level 2.
Intellectual Property: Protect, License and Fund with IPO

The Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO) is your first stop for research commercialization at U of T. IPO helps turn innovations into patents, licenses, and startups, building successful relationships between researchers, industry, and investors.

What you need to know:

  1. It starts with a disclosure: If a new technology, method, or product was created using U of T facilities or funding administered by U of T, a Confidential Invention Disclosure is your first step toward commercializing your research.
  2. Ownership: U of T has a modern, flexible invention policy that is ‘Inventor’s Choice’ – in absence of pre-existing IP rights, inventors may choose to take personal ownership, or have U of T lead commercialization.
  3. Intellectual property (IP) and patents: While there are many types of IP, patents may be affected by presenting and publishing. It is best to involve IPO early to help review, file, and protect your invention.
  4. Funding: IPO can help maximize budgets by licensing technologies and leveraging internal, public, and private funding opportunities for research and startups.
  5. Network: Access U of T’s growing international network of industry, mentors, and VCs to support technology validation, product development, and go-to-market.

In 2021, U of T inventors made over 180 invention disclosures, with IPO managing 74 priority patent applications, more than 39 licensing and option agreements, and 290 ongoing commercialization projects. In the last 5 years, companies based on U of T Research have secured more than $1.5 billion in investment and capital.

Learn more and get started @ uoft.me/inventors

NSERC Idea to Innovation (I2I) Grant

The objective of Idea to Innovation (I2I) grants is to accelerate the pre-competitive development of promising technology originating from the university and college sector, and to promote its transfer to a new or established Canadian company. I2I grants provide funding to college and university faculty members to support research and development projects with recognized technology transfer potential. This is achieved through defined phases by providing crucial assistance in the early stages of technology validation and market connection.

There are four distinct funding options, characterized by the maturity of the technology or the involvement of an early stage investment entity or industrial partner. In the market assessment, NSERC will share costs of an independent and professional market study with the institutions (including the industry liaison office [ILO] or its equivalent). In phase I, the direct costs of research will be entirely supported by NSERC; in phase II, they will be shared with a private-sector partner (company). The technology development may begin with a phase I project (reduction-to-practice stage), followed by a phase II project (technology enhancement); or, if the development is at a later stage, it can start directly with a phase II project. In any case, the combination of phase I and phase II will be limited to a maximum of three years of funding for any given project, and to one grant per phase for the same technology or intellectual property (IP).

Eligible research and development activities include:

  • refining and implementing designs
  • verifying application
  • conducting field studies
  • preparing demonstrations
  • building prototypes
  • performing beta trials

Please notify the Innovations and Partnership Office of your intention to apply by January 3, 2024 with your final letter of support, full NSERC application, and completed MRA.

Applications are due to NSERC Jan 8 2024. See website for full details. 

OCI Life Sciences Innovation Fund

Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) Life Sciences Innovation Fund is an early-stage co-investment fund that supports companies in Life Sciences and Healthcare Technologies sectors related to human health.  The fund is aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by life sciences entrepreneurs moving innovative and capital-intensive investments from a conceptual stage through to commercialization. Through the fund, OCI co-invests with angel and other investors to help de-risk the opportunity, assisting start-ups in becoming investor and customer ready and allowing them to attract follow-on investment.


Eligible companies will receive up to $500,000 in early stage risk capital to scale their made-in-Ontario health solution both at home and in global markets. This will further grow the sector and strengthen its competitiveness in key areas such as cancer treatment, regenerative medicine, neuroscience and medical technologies.


  • Are Ontario or Canadian incorporated for-profit companies headquartered in Ontario
  • Currently raising a pre-seed or seed investments (total round sizes ranging from $1 million to $5 million)
  • Have raised less than $3 million in third-party capital

Learn more

ONRamp: call to join

Looking for a community and workspace to build your business? Welcome to ONRamp@UTE! Located at the Banting Institute in the heart of downtown Toronto, ONRamp is a 15,000 square foot collaboration and co-working space for the U of T entrepreneurship community.

ONRamp connects innovative students, their startups and U of T Accelerators across U of T’s tri-campus.

Through access to facilities, events, and the business community in downtown Toronto, ONRamp helps to accelerate venture creation, learning and impact.

Members of ONRamp have access to three floors of co-working space, meeting rooms, event space, and amenities – located steps from the intersection of College and University.

  • Reception desk
  • Networking lounge
  • Business centre
  • RBC Hub event space
  • Access to two kitchens, 14 meeting rooms, 80 workstations, 4 phone booths
  • 24/7 member access

Apply for a membership.

Incubators and Accelerators