In order to get big results, the University of Toronto is thinking in small numbers.

Thirty-six to be exact. That's the number of participants the university is accepting into their latest pilot endeavour, The Next 36.

“Canada's Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative,” is a certificate program aimed at assisting undergrad students develop their original ideas via practical application and in-class instruction from both professors and business mentors.


“(It’s) a non-accredited program for outstanding undergraduates that will give them — at a critical stage in their lives — the skills, networks and confidence to become Canada's next generation of high-impact entrepreneurs,” notes Executive Director Claudia Hepburn. “We see this as combining the academic and entrepreneurial in a way that hasn't been done before in Canada or anywhere else.”

“The certificate concept evolved from a course taught at the University of Toronto by Reza Satchu,” continues President David Naylor. “(He's) a Canadian entrepreneur who made his fortune in the U.S. and has been teaching one of the school's most popular courses for the past few years.”

Divided into two sections, The Next 36 is an eight-month program featuring academic instruction and concept application. Participants receive 144 hours of class time with leading global academics on subjects important to high-impact entrepreneurs, business leaders and nation builders.

“The second aspect is an entrepreneurial exercise where students practice building a idea into an organization with a product and value,” Hepburn adds. “This year, that exercise is a mobile app development project. Students will receive up to $50,000 in cash and services to support their ideas and own work.”

Once the course is complete, students make a final presentation dubbed Venture Day allowing them opportunity to showcase their creations to business leaders and potential investors.

“We hope it will be successful, but like any start-up, we have to prove ourselves,” she said.