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 leads

Ashutosh Syal

Programs Lead, Sandbox

Haseeb Khawaja

Programs Lead, Sandbox

Meet our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Andrea Matheson

Startup Advisor. Multi-Exit Entrepreneur. Raptors Fan. Mentor. Problem Solver.

Ben Stacey

Pitch coaching

Brian Gallant

Government Relations

Corrine Sandler

Founder and marketing expert

Eugene Bomba

Accounting, financing, M&A, startups, business development, management, strategy, entrepreneurship, operations

Frank Erschen

Pitch coaching

Kareem Arafat

Senior tech executive

Mark Ramsay

Sales Expert

Martin Croteau

Customer discovery and validation

Mary Ann Dunlop


Michael Ho

Expert in strategy, product, problem definition, customer segmentation, operational design for scale and raising capital.

Michael McCarthy

Strategy and business development

Mike Orloff

Sales team optimization

Naveed Ahmad

CEO Coach Expert

Paul Gray

Creative marketing and business development

Phillip Gales

Operations Expert

Rachel Zimmer


Rokham Fard

Founder and development strategist

Scott Neil

Growth & Commercial Strategy

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
    • Startups that are identified with a marketplace business model must demonstrate a unique value proposition, competitive advantage and clear defensibility
  • 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 mockup
    • Must have the ability to manage the product directly; e.g. have a full-time CTO or in-house technical lead or show a clear path to bringing one on
  • 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.

Applications are open from November 18 to January 29

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.

Register now for our information session


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 Closed

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. Entrepreneurship Clinic’s happen bi-weekly on Tuesday from 3-4pm, and weekly on Friday from 3-4pm. They are on a first-come, first-serve, drop-in basis.


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.

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