While stalled free trade talks between Canada and China have made recent headlines, Toronto’s Impact Centre is working right now to strengthen business connections between the two countries.
The University of Toronto development hub for early-stage startups has partnered with Diantou.net, a leading Chinese investment platform, to launch and run a soft landing facility and program.
Based in Nanjing, the initiative is aimed at innovative technology companies interested in exploring investment opportunities, setting up overseas operations or selling to the Chinese market.
“There are significant opportunities in China for innovative Canadian businesses. But navigating and making connections in the Chinese business landscape can be challenging for companies to do on their own,” said Cynthia Goh, the Impact Centre’s director. “By connecting with our program companies will be able to hit the ground running when looking for development, manufacturing, distributing or marketing partners.”
Selected companies will receive a suite of services in technology, legal, marketing and more to help the startups develop physical technology products and seal new partnerships abroad.
Chuan Feng, the general manager of Diantou.net, said the program with the Impact Centre builds a bridge between China’s investment capital and market with the advanced technologies being spun out of the Toronto centre and across Canada.
“Not only will more people in China enjoy the benefit of innovative Canadian products and services, we will also educate Chinese universities and students about technology transfer and company incubation so they can develop their own innovative startups,” said Feng.
In Toronto, the Impact Centre will run entrepreneurship training programs for local Chinese students, researchers and startups. The centre will also run entrepreneurship training programs for universities and incubators in China to support local innovators.
“The interest in technology entrepreneurship in China is growing at an incredible pace,” said Dr. James Li, a project manager at the Impact Centre involved in developing the program.
“Our unique hands-on program and experience running entrepreneurship training both in Canada and internationally will provide a unique opportunity for Chinese technology entrepreneurs,” he said.
This isn’t the Impact Centre’s first foray into an international market. The centre has launched more than 35 programs as well as research and education projects in 13 countries.