As part of his tour for Pitch@Palace, His Royal Highness (HRH), the Duke of York, visited the DMZ on Tuesday to learn about Ryerson’s innovation ecosystem.
The DMZ was delighted to welcome His Royal Highness as our fourth Royal visit to the space, the third in his immediate family. The visit included discussions on fundamental changes needed for leadership and entrepreneurship in today’s changing economy, and showcased eight startups from the DMZ and Zone Learning Network. Each company had the opportunity to pitch their concept to HRH Prince Andrew in a series of five-minute presentations.
“His interest and work in the education sector is very exciting for us,” says Ness Kenalty, LearnCloud Program Manager of Rumie, a non-profit focused on providing access to free education content. “The exposure we get from pitching at an event like this is invaluable to us. We really appreciate the DMZ for giving us these kinds of opportunities.”
“As a DMZ Sandbox Student Grant participant, it was great to see all of Ryerson’s incubation zones come together for an event like this. HRH Prince Andrew was interested in what we had to offer customers rather than the revenue generating aspect of our product which was refreshing. He gave us ideas that we will include in our next iterations.” Eric Muellejans, Ryerson student and CEO of Kumovate.
HRH Prince Andrew also visited Ryerson’s DME space to learn about the opportunities it gives its students within the emerging tech and media sphere.
Later that day, HRH Prince Andrew hosted the first Pitch@Palace Canada finals with DMZ’s Executive Director Abdullah Snobar moderating the event. The competition, which took place at the AGO, nominated two winning startups who will be representing Canada on the global stage at St. James Palace in December. The inaugural event was attended by various business leaders, corporate players and distinguished guests.
Pitch@Palace was founded in 2014 and aims to empower the work of entrepreneurs worldwide. The competition made its way to Toronto this year, selecting 42 entrepreneurs and giving them access to industry experts and mentorship. To date, the program has helped 865 entrepreneurs in 65 countries and has created 3,650 jobs created. The startups that partake in this program have had a staggering 94% survival rate, a percentage high in the competitive world of startups.
As someone who undertakes a wide range of public work, His Royal Highness recognizes that entrepreneurship, education, science and technology have immense global impact.