Every year Enterprise Toronto works with thousands of entrepreneurs from across the city to help them start and grow their businesses. Read about how entrepreneurs have accessed support from Enterprise Toronto or a local business incubator – and consider how we can help you too.
Gordon Carton has seen a lot in his 95 years. Both the beauty of Canada and the sacrifices of soldiers inspired him to launch a brand to remind us all to appreciate moments of Happiness.
Onem Osuoka enjoyed big, frequent celebrations growing up, and now her business
helps spread that joy to others.
Anca Vatavu took inspiration from her own parents in creating a homecare service that treats clients like family.
After losing everything to alcoholism, Stephen Wells recovered and is now helping others to do the same.
Alimentari brings new artisanal pasta option to Toronto after a love between cooks was forged in Tuscany.
Growing up, it was Matthew Hoskins’s dad who watched over his room-cleaning. Today, it’s Hoskins who steers a team that takes on the cluttered lives of Torontonians.
Vanessa Lee and Lucas Lu found purpose when Lee's grandfather entered the hospital. Now they focus on helping their families and others find comfortable senior care-giving situations.
Changes within his own family inspired chef Peter Harvey to back away from rich French cuisine in favour of healthier “clean” cooking.
If you're a fan of smaller music venues around the city, you may have run into Phil Kluba at some point. You might also agree with the spirit of his brand, Live is Better, which promotes the sounds, events and venues at the heart of Toronto's music scene.
When Richa Gupta hosted a dinner party of homemade Mexican fare, she never could have imagined that casual conversations and comments by her guests would ultimately lead her to start her own food business.
After Ryan Breen stumbled on a hidden need for open source data to bolster real estate agents websites, he and Camilla Caban teamed up to launch Re-invent Realty around the services. To get their innovative startup off the ground, the pair applied for Enterprise Toronto’s Starter Company.
Cooking started as an evening hobby for nuclear engineer Gauravi Shah. But after realizing she had a flair for coming up with unique culinary creations, the entrepreneurial young chef decided to launch her own restaurant Tilde. She enlisted Enterprise Toronto to navigate the staffing challenges of the heavily saturated industry.
Inspired by her travels and the lack of photography geared towards women, Jacqueline Flaggiello developed her own line of camera accessories. While she had a working knowledge of the industry and an eye for design, she'd never started her own business before so she enlisted some help from Enterprise Toronto.
After nearly a decade in the glacial-paced accounting industry, Wendy Ha thought it was time to strike out on her own to innovate and change the way clients and accountants work together. But first, she needed a little help fine-tuning her marketing plan for AgileCPA.
Matt Hortobagyi's Astrodog Media production house had made it five years with steady growth but as he neared his thirties, the entrepreneur decided it was time to explore grant options to get him over the next hurdle.
After spending five years building out the concept around his line of make-up for men – including a spot on Dragon’s Den – Andrew Grella enrolled in the Starter Company program to fund a trip to South Korea, the ultimate testing ground for the global cosmetics industry.
Curt Jaimungal is building a filmmaking resource and a festival designed to help make Toronto the Hollywood of independent cinema.
After achieving success with their first social media digital marketing startup, Corey Rosenfield and Harris Maxwell decided to take another shot at it, this time helping brands track the success of their campaigns. They knew it'd be a stretch before they earned revenue so they applied for Enterprise Toronto's Starter Company.
After half a decade working abroad both for the CBC and in disaster zones providing relief, Andrew Budziak decided it was time to put his video production skills in the spotlight. He enrolled in Enterprise Toronto's Starter Company program to broaden his business acumen.
John Carson has taken his 20 years of experience with communications and journalism and poured them into his own Herb Communications, where he offers editorial services, website redesigns, social media strategy and user experience consulting.
Hockey enthusiast Emily Rudow begins carving out her spot in the industry with innovative gear for young players.
After struggling to launch at the onset of the recession, Mohamed Merali knew his racquet sports-focused ATR Sports needed help getting to the next plateau. He enrolled in Enterprise Toronto’s Starter Company to build out his skill set for running his business.
As online commerce company Shopify looks to expand its footprint in Toronto, awareness is key. The company enlisted support from Enterprise Toronto to get approval for its signage and help show its pride for the neighbourhood.
At 68, Peter Joseph has stumbled onto an entrepreneurial career path that makes use of values and passions he's held all his life.
For the past four years, Scarborough jewelry maker Eric Petersen has taken personal tragedy and turned it into unique creations from skull necklaces to wooden chain hand bags. But his latest collection is his most ambitious yet – a line of red-carpet-ready clutches developed in Italy with help from the Starter Company program.
Inspired by her time in Japan, Jess Mantell decided to export a Japanese convenience store favourite and turn it into a healthy snack for on-the-go Torontonians. Entering an Enterprise Toronto contest helped the Toronto entrepreneur kickstart her business plan.
After a year and a half of development, Brandon Moore and Juliana Dotta's protein rich, guilt (and sugar) free ice cream was ready for market. The health-focused duo turned to Enterprise Toronto and Futurepreneur to take Whey2Life from a sweet idea to a bonafide business.
Betty Luong came to Toronto from Paris with limited English skills to broaden her scope of well-being practices. Today she runs her own holistic spa that combines her learnings from back home with the needs of Toronto clients.
While in Brazil, Jason Coombs developed a mobile platform to reinforce occupational health & safety and language & career training. Enterprise Toronto helped him launch his business here.
Mark Thomas, the 24-year-old entrepreneur behind Sequor Wellness, started a fitness and wellness company out of university that he hopes will help create resilient communities, in more ways than one.
The first retailer of Papilio bridal and formal wear in North America, Kristina Apel and her business partner immigrated here from Russia and lacked connections and local business knowledge.
Weight-loss wearble developer Thin Ice taps into Starter Company to fund prototype and streamline its vision.
Mussiya escaped the Congo in the late ‘90s due to the country’s civil war. Today, she is looking to grow Jatropha plants there and export them as biodiesel — a green and efficient energy source.
Super friends who are also super hosts hope they can create a super business of renting out Toronto homes to visitors by maximizing hospitality and minimizing concerns for owners.
Twenty One Toys designs and produces toys and workshops that help develop creativity, collaboration, and complex problem solving skills. Founder and lead developer Ilana Ben-Ari leveraged these same skills, and the support of Toronto's startup eco-system, in building her business.
Dads Jim Yang and Tom Chen noticed there were no Yelp-like websites for youth activities in the Greater Toronto Area. So they decided to use their IT skills to develop one – and called on Enterprise Toronto to help launch their startup.
Jennifer Amor runs her own business, schedules her own hours, and has authored a children’s book. A severe sports injury nine years ago led her to start practicing yoga. Advice from an Enterprise Toronto business advisor helped Amor develop her unique yoga business.
Pirates are understood in two ways: as free-spirited adventure seekers, and as pillaging, plundering ruffians. Matt Slaman, the young entrepreneur who founded Pirate Life, is no ruffian, but the independent free spirit has always been with him.
Physiotherapist Maggie Bergeron her partner Elie Afif had an idea for a smartphone app that could help rehab practitioners work more effectively with their patients. A small business consultant at Enterprise Toronto reviewed their business plan and provided valuable feedback. The pair also found funding and mentorship through Futurpreneur.
After years of helping others through social work, human resources and career counselling, Jennifer Bouley decided to start her own consulting business with support from her husband, who helps with operations, and Enterprise Toronto's Starter Company program.
Anne Sophie Roy created a wellness program based on music and dance, called Motion Reflexion. To grow her practice, Roy consulted with an Enterprise Toronto advisor who helped fine tune her business plan while tapping into her originality.
Alex Glickman imports Plasti Dip, a rubber coating product sprayed on cars to protect against salt damage, corrosion or stone chips. Thanks to participation in the Summer Company program, he's on his way to building a business that he hopes will be the go-to resource for dealerships looking to source this product.
After learning the ropes and working his way up in the music recording business, Kevin Dietz decided to take the plunge into freelance work. He searched for resources on the Internet and found Enterprise Toronto – and a range of services to help him launch his freelance business.
The co-founders of boutique advertising and production house West&SOCIAL wanted to build their company on a freelance lifestyle. They also wanted to make sure they had a solid foundation for the business and applied to the Starter Company program, where they got advice and a $5,000 grant.
Working in property management, Andre McNaughton got tired of making calls to tenants about late rent payments. So he developed a software solution that allows property managers to record and send out a voice message through a distribution list. His RentBark software had other useful applications, and he decided to incorporate and go into business.
Shamere Gentles and Leslie Roach have been friends since junior high where they were both serious basketball players and “big shoe nuts." After reconnecting as fathers, they launched a business that is being embraced by sneaker enthusiasts.
Maiku Wong had no background in videography, tourism or marketing, but his entrepreneurial drive – and support from mentors and the Starter Company program – has helped him grow his tourism video business.
Kateryna Topol started online alternative music and arts magazine Quip as a side project. A consultation with a small business advisor at Enterprise Toronto helped her solidify her business plan and focus on her niche. Today, Quip has 40 contributors and publishes in several cities.
Polina Roufanova had an idea to modernize and add a bit of flair to the traditional valenki boot. So she applied for and participated in the Starter Company Program. The grant and mentorship she received helped her launch her fashion business.
When Marigrace Galura first started her jewelry making business she found it overwhelming. As a creative person trying to turn her passion into a profit, she needed a plan to achieve her goals. At Enterprise Toronto, Marigrace accessed reference material on the industry and received guidance on her business plan from a seasoned consultant.
Rinkee Ahmed worked as a travel consultant for many years before deciding to set up her own specialized travel agency. She took an entrepreneurship course at a local college and then continued her small business education by attending Enterprise Toronto seminars.
When entrepreneur Anthony Rinella pitched Modu Design Communications on a business idea for a dating app, the agency’s co-founders jumped on the idea. The group realized that developing such an app is a big job, and reached out to the Toronto Business Development Centre and Enterprise Toronto for assistance.
Enterprise Toronto helped design collective Arc & Co. draft a proper business plan and learn how to market their services. An advisor also helped them reorganize their workflow and structure. The assistance allowed Arc & Co. to develop their business in a profitable way.
Marissa Maislin and Michelle Organ had an idea to open a "makerspace" that offers tools and a work space for artisans and other creative workers. Thanks to the Starter Company program and a loan from Futurpreneur, the pair are well on their way to making it work.
After quitting his IT job Andrew Darns took a break and pursued his passion for hockey, launching a goalie training school franchise. Today he continues to build a successful business that makes every day feel like a Friday.
Amanda Dunn and Julia Wehkamp noticed that there's a new generation of art collectors, so they developed a business plan to make their One Art Nation web-based services a go-to resource.
Tricia Lee started up a film production company after graduating from York University’s film program and releasing her first short film. A chance encounter led her to get advice from Enterprise Toronto – and what she learned about business plans, pitches and investments has her looking at film production through an entrepreneurial lens.
In an age of celebrity startup entrepreneurs and sharkish investors looking for the next big thing, Gwen Lim-Brydson decided to bypass the buzz and go a less trendy, more traditional route to launch her business by calling on Enterprise Toronto.
After spending four years building an apparel production house, Sherri Carlson and Nikki Francies felt like they almost had it made. When their business was thrown a curve ball they approached Enterprise Toronto for assistance - and seized an unexpected opportunity.
A few years ago, Sanober Motiwala left her office job for something a little more to her taste and created Sweet Sammies Ice Cream Sandwich Co. Today she provides catering for weddings, corporate events and private parties, and sells at farmers markets across Toronto.
Robert Szasz retired from his role at MTS Allstream and decided to turn his passion for wine and travel into a niche business in a budding market. Now he is expanding and learning new skills. And after a lifetime as an employee, he’s learning them under nobody’s supervision but his own.
Hard work, a dream and support from George Brown's Digital Media and Gaming incubator has helped this startup find its groove.
Zach Matlow had an idea for a digital task management and compliance tool that restaurants could use to track their washroom conditions. He started up Dine and Comply to make it a reality, and has since grown the range of cloud-based checklists and processes that businesses can track – thanks in part to participation in the Starter Company Program.