By Jacob Dubé
The Launch Zone, an incubator designed to help students get their business ventures started, opened their offices in the Student Learning Centre on April 10.
“We want to be a zone for the people who need a place to go, who want to be in the zone network and don’t fit into anywhere else,” said Jaigris Hodson, Launch Zone director.
Students who come to the Launch Zone develop their budding business ideas with the help of mentors and opportunities to network with entrepreneurs and other start-ups.
“It’s a little scary at the beginning, it’s nerve wracking, you’re not really sure what to do. The Launch Zone brings the anxiety and stress of starting up into one place where you can look at it logically and break it down,” said Benjamin Canning, Client Engagement Director for the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) start-up Brizi.
The Launch Zone helps students create working prototypes of their start-ups, which makes them admissible to apply for Ryerson’s other zones, including the DMZ.
“Trusting 18-19 year old kids isn’t something that most organizations do, and Ryerson’s really unique in that,” said Randy Boyagoda, Director of Zone Learning at Ryerson.
The Launch Zone is a new addition to Ryerson’s Zone Learning program, which caters to start-ups related to anything from fashion to urban energy. Hodson says the Launch Zone will be a bridge between the zones by opening their space for collaboration.
“We want the designers sitting next to the medical engineers, sitting next to the lawyers. We want to get that creative collision happening,” said Hodson.
This summer, the Launch Zone will be hosting Basecamp, a program that provides students with funds and workshops to help build their start-ups and gain residency in the zone in September.