MaRS opens a new home for Toronto startups

The demand for workspace continues to grow for web and mobile-based startups in Toronto. Likewise, there is an increasing need for access to capital, advisory and networking advice.

Yesterday, the Information technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice at MaRS announced a new home for the most promising emerging companies. It’s called the MaRS Commons, and is both a physical workspace and a community which supports entrepreneurs to grow into successful global businesses.

“The MaRS Commons, which complements our existing incubator, is designed as a focal point for Toronto’s burgeoning web and mobile technology ecosystem, combining a great space with community, education, networking and mentorship,” says Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District. 

A carefully selected group of startups will be invited to share the Commons workspace. Each will be selected based on their uncommon ideas, uncommon talent and uncommon hustle. To apply, visit the MaRS advisory services website. Any startup with annual revenue under $1 million can qualify.

While the unique group of entrepreneurs forms the core of the MaRS Commons community, other aspiring entrepreneurs from the broader web and mobile startup community will join them to network, learn and engage with the advisors in the Commons—the second key element of this new community.

This exceptional group of more than 60 mentors, predominantly volunteers, represents the digital economy’s best and brightest minds, all providing their expertise and connections to help Canada’s entrepreneurs succeed in the global marketplace.

“I’ve been part of several startups and know how challenging it can be to work in an environment of extreme uncertainty – taking an idea and building it into a sustainable business,” said Dan Servos, COO, Locationary and a MaRS mentor.

“MaRS Commons, including its community of peers and mentors, provides the proper foundation for entrepreneurs to take ‘leaps of faith’ with a greater degree of certainty, setting them up for future successes.” 

In addition to the entrepreneurial mentors, MaRS Commons is backed by an amazing group of founding partners including Globalive, Wind Mobile, Post Media and the University of Toronto. These organizations share MaRS’ passion for entrepreneurship and are contributing their expertise, time and resources.

“We’re thrilled to get behind MaRS in the evolution of the MaRS Commons. I’ve been fortunate to have exceptional mentors and investors to help me build my business. Helping other entrepreneurs connect with ‘their own’ is a great way to increase our national competitiveness. MaRS clearly realizes no entrepreneur should feel left behind in the course of making their dream a reality,” says Anthony Lacavera, Chairman and CEO, Globalive. 

MaRS Commons offers a modern, open-concept workspace and Wi-Fi in a weathered brick heritage building that first opened its doors in 1913. The nearly 6,000-square-foot facility will provide a workspace for 50 entrepreneurs, a boardroom, four meeting rooms, a kitchen and lounge areas. MaRS is a charitable organization, funded with both private and public money, and offers one-to-one advisory, one-to-many advisory, drop-in hours and office space for rent.