FedDev Ontario announces support for Toronto-based incubator for underrepresented entrepreneurs

News release

$750,000 for Parkdale Centre for Innovation to expand programming, support economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and create more than 200 skilled jobs

November 12, 2020  Toronto, Ontario

Underrepresented groups, including women, visible minorities and newcomers to Canada, face unique and systemic challenges when it comes to starting and growing a business, which has been amplified by the impacts of COVID-19. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting entrepreneurship and creating the right conditions for a more inclusive and equitable workforce, which is vital to Canada’s economic recovery and long-term economic growth.

Supporting economic growth for all Canadians

Today, Arif Virani, Member of Parliament for Parkdale–High Park, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced a FedDev Ontario investment of $750,000 for Parkdale Centre for Innovation (Parkdale), a not-for-profit incubator and accelerator focused on inclusion and equity, to expand its entrepreneurship programming.

With this funding, Parkdale will expand its Early-stage Program, providing more underrepresented entrepreneurs with tailored, culturally-inclusive support to strengthen their entrepreneurship skills, grow new technology businesses and compete in the innovation economy. Participants will have access to specialized training through the incubator program, mentorship, peer support networks and pathways to entrepreneurial opportunities. Parkdale expects to support 210 businesses and create 210 skilled jobs over the four-year project.

The cohort-based programming provides support across three key areas: fundamentals for starting a business, developing entrepreneurship skills and scaling businesses through technology validation. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis and applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for the next cohort of the program, which starts in early January 2021. For more information, including how to apply, please visit Parkdale’s website.


“The Parkdale Centre for Innovation is a grassroots organization that helps provide underrepresented entrepreneurs with the tailored support they need now, and on the road to recovery. This significant FedDev Ontario investment expands PCI’s programming to benefit more promising young companies, while creating good local jobs and supporting new opportunities for these entrepreneurs to participate in, and benefit from, the innovation economy.”
Arif Virani, Member of Parliament for Parkdale–High Park

“For too long, underrepresented entrepreneurs, including women, visible minorities and newcomers, have faced unique and systemic hurdles to their success. Now, as they have been particularity hard hit by the impacts of COVID-19, these entrepreneurs need support more than ever. With today’s investment for Parkdale Centre for Innovation through FedDev Ontario, our message is clear: we are here to support entrepreneurs, create skilled jobs in our communities and help the businesses that need it most as we work to build back better and stronger.”
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario

“This marks an unprecedented investment into Parkdale by the federal government to model a new ecosystem of opportunities through entrepreneurship in underrepresented communities. It is critical for Parkdale to have a voice in the innovation economy and not be left behind. With this funding, FedDev Ontario and Parkdale Centre make a commitment to bridge the accessibility gap by breaking barriers for woman, newcomers, Black and Indigenous peoples in this city seeking to build their futures through entrepreneurship.”
Rusul Alrubail, Executive Director, Parkdale Centre for Innovation

Quick facts

  • Established in 2017, Parkdale aims to bridge the inclusivity and accessibility gap in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem for traditionally underrepresented groups: namely women, newcomers, and those from low-income backgrounds. It provides access to specialized mentorship and programming designed to meet their unique needs and, importantly, the opportunity to connect with others who are facing similar barriers and challenges to entrepreneurship.

  • Parkdale has established a partnership with MaRS Discovery District through which entrepreneurs can access next stage programming, supports and services through MaRS as they graduate from Parkdale programming.

  • In addition to strategic investments through core programming, FedDev Ontario is delivering the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) in southern Ontario. The RRRF is a vital tool, supplementing the existing suite of federal relief measures to address the immediate needs of Canadians during the pandemic.

  • Through the RRRF, FedDev Ontario is investing $50 million in the Digital Main Street platform, which will help nearly 23,000 small businesses across Ontario to pivot their operations to include digital business models, regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers.

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505

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