DMZ Sandbox

Our talent and startup creation program

Fueling Canada’s emerging tech entrepreneurs

From ideation to creation, DMZ Sandbox helps emerging entrepreneurs refine their business idea and develop the skills necessary to build a strong foundation needed to build a leading and competitive Canadian tech business.

Startup creation.

Take your innovative business idea to the next level and join a tailored incubation program that includes access to exclusive development support dedicated workshops and mentors


Talent creation.

From creating a lean business model to designing your first website, access interdisciplinary and hand-on opportunities to master your skills in management, development, marketing and more.


Startup creation

What you get

DMZ Sandbox entrepreneurs have access to industry-leading resources and mentorship opportunities that will help you turn your innovative business ideas into a competitive and long-term business.

You’ll have access to a tailored suite of services that include:


Understanding the needs of your ideal customer is crucial to building a successful business. DMZ Sandbox offers exclusive monthly workshops with leading experts who will help you understand your customer and marketplace.


Seminars and private 1:1s with investors will help you understand the investment landscape and how to raise capital. Select applicants will also have access to the DMZ Sandbox Student Grant program.


Access to 300+ startups, founders and tech experts as well as exclusive networking events and free growth programming.


Program experts in marketing, product development, lean canvas business models and financing who will work closely with you to help you refine your business concept through bi-weekly deep-dives, idea consultations and dedicated office hours.

Program lead

Ashutosh Syal

Programs Lead, Sandbox

Meet our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Balaji Gopalan

Product, platforms, medtech

Ben Stacey

Pitch coaching

Frank Erschen

Pitch coaching

Kareem Arafat

Senior tech executive

Mark Halpren

Founder, FirstCFO Inc.

Michael McCarthy

Strategy and business development

Michelle Caers

CEO, DesignedUX

Mike Orloff

Sales team optimization

Rokham Fard

Founder and development strategist

Shivalika Handa

Equity and debt capital raising

Soheil Alavi

Product and UI/UX

Uzair Chutani

Expert in digital marketing, business development and customer success

Selection criteria

We’re looking for emerging entrepreneurs who have what it takes to turn their business idea into reality.

Interested applicants must also have:

  • An innovative business idea that utilizes technology to solve compelling industry problems
  • At least one full-time founder dedicated to the business
  • A driven, coachable and collaborative leadership team
  • Established customer validation (understand market size, market trends, and completed detailed customer interviews)
  • An initial version of product markup
  • An industry-leading solution and the potential to join DMZ’s pre-accelerator program or Ryerson’s Zone Network

Ready to go from idea to reality?


Launch your venture

With support from leading industry mentors, partners and experts, DMZ Sandbox programs are designed to help emerging entrepreneurs take their business beyond ideation.

Student Grant Program

A stage-based funding program that offers up to $15,000 for innovative Ryerson student-led projects and initiatives that positively impact the Canadian economy and society.

Application Open

Startup Certified

A one-semester program designed for Ryerson students looking to launch their business. The program includes access to Toronto’s top tech startups and DMZ’s leading roster of entrepreneurs and mentors.

Application Closed


A six-week accelerator program for high-school and university students that help emerging entrepreneurs develop innovative ideas and gain market and customer validation.

Application Open

Digital News Innovation Challenge

A Canada-wide incubation program that supports leading digital news ideas and early-stage tech companies driving innovation for journalism and news organizations.

Application Closed

Talent creation

Master your trade

Whether you’re looking to refine your skills or explore new career opportunities in Toronto’s startup ecosystem, DMZ Sandbox workshops offer the best-in-class courses and training designed to empower tomorrow’s business leaders.

Entrepreneurship Clinic

One-on-one drop in sessions for entrepreneurs looking to refine their business ideas and understand the fundamentals of the lean canvas model with help from seasoned DMZ and industry experts. Before joining one of DMZ Sandbox’s venture creation programs or exploring the Ryerson Zone Network, make sure to review our programming options below.



A tailored opportunity to shadow esteemed Canadian startup founders during a typical work day in order to gain hands-on mentorship and access to a broad open network.


Craft + Consult

A six-week intensive training program to help aspiring consultants learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, technology and gain a comprehensive overview of the industry through industry insight.

Have a question?