Ryerson University consolidates DMZ and RFI to better serve and support startups

Today, Ryerson University announced a number of exciting new programming and operational opportunities to better serve startups and entrepreneurs. The executive director of the DMZ, Abdullah Snobar, will begin providing oversight of Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI) as its new CEO. As part of this consolidation, RFI will be rebranded DMZ Ventures (DMZV).

“Today’s announcement is great news for students and start-ups interested in innovation and entrepreneurship,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Mohamed Lachemi, also a member of the Board of Directors of DMZV. “With these changes, Ryerson reinforces its leadership role and becomes one of the only universities in Canada that can offer companies the full spectrum of support at every stage from ideation to actively participating in the economy. This move will help entrepreneurs build businesses that change lives and create more made-in-Canada careers.”

Under this new structure, the DMZ will continue to operate as the premier program in Canada for supporting start-ups and the innovation economy, while DMZV will help to enhance and streamline services and supports for high-potential, highly scalable startups.

“We know the pressure and uncertainty that many startups are facing right now. That’s why, as we work to better serve our university-based startups and double down on high-potential entrepreneurs, we are making this significant move to further integrate Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI) into the DMZ,” added President Lachemi.

Ryerson University continues to adapt to changes in the current environment and is committed to providing an ecosystem that will help entrepreneurs build successful businesses. “If COVID-19 has taught us anything about supporting startups within the Ryerson Zone network, it’s that we need to continue to be innovative and consolidate our efforts in order to help more entrepreneurs continue to run and grow their business,” said Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ.

RFI was launched in 2013 as a for-profit entity established and owned by Ryerson University. RFI selects and assembles high-potential, highly scalable startups, accelerating their go-to-market success through education, networking and development including support for future financing efforts. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of CEO Matt Saunders and COO Alan Lysne, RFI has achieved great success fuelling and supporting countless startups and helping emerging entrepreneurial leaders from across the globe. Matt Saunders and Alan Lysne will be staying on to December 2020 to assist with the transition.

The DMZ, which launched at Ryerson in 2010, is a top-ranked incubator and accelerator known for best-in-class programming and partnerships with corporations and organizations across Canada and around the world.

Unsplash: Warren Wong