National startup incubator Next Canada has announced its new CEO – and it’s someone with a more than passing familiarity with supporting Canada’s tech scene.
On Thursday the non-profit announced that former Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy, who oversaw an expansion of the Toronto-based institution that included the founding of the Ryerson DMZ during his 10-year tenure, had been appointed its new CEO.
In a Sept. 7 statement Levy, who had served as the province of Ontario’s deputy minister of advanced education and skills development since leaving Ryerson in 2015, said he was excited to accept the new position.
“I’ve always believed that innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology are the future of the Canadian economy, and the best way to ensure prosperity for all Canadians,” Levy said in the statement. “Next Canada has the potential to become one of the most important entrepreneurial organizations in the country, and I’m excited to join to further expand on their impressive team and track record, and to continue with their mission of founder development.”
Levy will be assuming the position from interim CEO Andrea Matheson, who joined Next Canada in 2016 and will remain a senior advisor on its board of directors, in addition to leading a series of initiatives for the organization’s female founders.
During his tenure at Ryerson, Levy oversaw an expansion that included the purchase of the former Maple Leaf Gardens arena, new Bay Street headquarters for its business school, and was the primary driving force behind the Ryerson Digital Media Zone (DMZ), now one of the country’s top startup incubators.
Previously known as Next 36, Next Canada runs three programs for entrepreneurs - Next 36, Next Founders and NextAI - designed to provide participants with the tools, education, mentorship, and networking needed to successfully build and grow a company.
Since launching in 2010, the organization has helped more than 300 entrepreneurs launch more than 80 companies which have collectively raised more than $250 million in funding and created more than 800 jobs.
Applications for the 2018 cohort of Next 36 are now available on Next Canada’s website, while applications for the 2018 cohort of NextAI will open September 20, and applications for the next cohort of Next Founders will open in early 2018.