Ryerson’s DMZ incubator ranked #5 worldwide

Valerie FoxTORONTO — The Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) was ranked fifth by the University Business Incubator (UBI) Index, a Swedish research initiative, up from 25th last year. UBI reviews more than 300 university-affiliated business incubators in 67 countries on an annual basis, using 60 key performance indexes. The DMZ was ranked the highest among Canadian universities.

“The Digital Media Zone is on the leading edge of Ryerson’s campus-wide efforts to foster a global ecosystem that supports innovation,” said Valerie Fox (pictured), executive director at the DMZ. “This ranking recognizes our efforts to cultivate a vibrant community and to foster strategic worldwide partnerships that support young entrepreneurs.”

The Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University is Canada’s largest incubator and multidisciplinary co-working space for young entrepreneurs. The DMZ helps emerging leaders to fast-track product launches, grow their companies and reach customers in a supportive community by connecting them with mentors, industry and one another. Since 2013, incubating teams and alumni have raised $24.5 million in funding.

“The Digital Media Zone is an exceptional incubator. It generates outstanding economic impact and performs strongly against our global benchmark, especially on economic enhancement indicators,” said Dhruv Bhatli, co-founder, UBI Index. “This signifies that entrepreneurs at the DMZ perform much better than the global average, benefitting from higher growth and survival rates.”

The DMZ also strives to add value in global markets. BIL-Ryerson DMZ India, the first Canadian-led accelerator in India is built upon Ryerson’s model for its successful Digital Media Zone incubator in Toronto. Zone Startups India is a collaboration between the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute Ltd., Ryerson University, and Ryerson Futures Inc.

Some DMZ success stories include SoapBox, a community crowdsourcing tool that is integrated into existing online communities for gathering, prioritizing, and executing ideas. SoapBox is used by Saint Elizabeth Health Care, Indigo Books and Music, Coca-Cola, Justin Trudeau, RBC, St-Hubert, and Canadian Digital Media Network. Ryerson University is also using SoapBox on its student portal to gather, prioritize and act on student suggestions.

Set atop Yonge-Dundas Square, and infused with the energy and resources of downtown Toronto, this hub of digital media innovation, collaboration and commercialization is home to both startups and industry solution-providers.

About The Digital Media Zone (DMZ)
The DMZ leads the way in experiential learning and business success by creating a unique ecosystem of education and entrepreneurship. Emerging leaders fast-track their product launches and grow their companies in this supportive community by connecting with mentors, customers and each other. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ has stimulated Canada’s digital economy by incubating and accelerating 133 startups and fostering almost 2,000 jobs. The Digital Media Zone is expanding its reach locally and internationally with the support of the Government of Ontario, Ryerson University, and partners in the private sector.  For more information about the Digital Media Zone, visit

About Ryerson University
Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 38,000 students, including 2,300 master’s and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 155,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada’s leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit

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