Entrepreneurship for Cardiovascular Health Opportunities (ECHO)

A national entrepreneurship training program designed to bridge the translational gap for cardiovascular innovations.

Entrepreneurship for Cardiovascular Health Opportunities (ECHO) is a specialized experiential training program led by veteran entrepreneurs and consultants across a variety of sectors. ECHO provides innovators of cardiovascular technologies with entrepreneurship training, mentorship, networking, and funding opportunities.

To reach teams across Canada, ECHO is a fully virtual program.

Apply now!

ECHO is accepting applications!


Complete the following two forms and submit before 11:59 pm EDT on Sunday, August 11, 2024:


  • Interviews will commence September 2024 for select applicants. The program begins October 2024.

Information Session

  • A virtual information session will take place on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 (2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT) and will feature (i) an overview of the structure and content of the ECHO program, (ii) guidance on the application process, (iii) a panel of ECHO ventures reflecting on past experiences with the program, and (iv) general Q&A.

Register in advance to join the session.


Ventures accepted into ECHO are required to:

  • Participate in each online program module for 12 months beginning October 2024
  • Attend a minimum of 80% of all virtual workshops and seminars
  • Become an H2i member and engage with H2i mentors
  • Participate in ECHO PITCH (if selected), a final competition, for the opportunity to win start-up funding
ECHO Pitch presentation
ECHO Pitch presentation


Any Canadian-based clinician, researcher, student and/or entrepreneur developing advanced cardiovascular technologies and innovations is eligible to apply. This is an ideal opportunity for researchers, postdoctoral fellows, clinical trainees and graduate students who are self-starters and want to refine their career path in a knowledge-based economy while working in an innovation-based environment.

Program Overview

Founded in 2018, ECHO is a 12-month online training program with the main objectives to:

  1. Provide entrepreneurship training, mentorship, partnership and funding opportunities for innovators of cardiovascular technologies.
  2. Create more successful start-ups in the cardiovascular health sector.
  3. Accelerate the application of cardiovascular innovations and their transfer from bench to bedside.

ECHO is led by high-calibre academic, industry and government subject matter experts, and it is comprised of a unique combination of five complementary modules.

Partners in ECHO

Our program is funded and organized in a partnership between:


For more information, contact ECHO co-founder Soror Sharifpoor, also director of strategy and translation for the Centre’s Translational Biology and Engineering Program.

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Module 1: Principles of Entrepreneurship

Oct-Dec 2024

The MaRS Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops are a collection of experiential and hands-on workshops that are facilitated by veteran entrepreneurs. It targets fundamental entrepreneurship principles such as value proposition, business models, finance fundamentals, marketing and communication, and pitching to investors.

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Module 2: Health Venture Rounds

Jan-June 2025

A series of interactive workshops focused on key subjects pivotal to the success of early stage start-ups in the health sector such as market research, corporate governance, intellectual property, regulatory strategy, clinical trials, quality systems, health technology assessment, procurement, funding and government resources, and investments, and partnerships.

They are facilitated by academic, industry and government subject matter experts.

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Module 3: Lessons from Leaders

Jan-June 2025

A webinar series in which successful entrepreneurs and business leaders share their experiences in commercializing technologies in the cardiovascular health sector.

Guest speakers include executives and founders of medical device, biotechnology and digital health companies.

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Module 4: Community of Mentors

Successfully ranked ventures will become clients of the Health Innovation Hub (H2i) with access to: (1) H2i’s extensive network of industry, government and academic advisors; (2) peer-to-peer mentorship by start-up mentors selected from H2i’s venture portfolio; (3) professional funding; and (4) H2i events (e.g. Accelera program).

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Module 5: Ignite Start-up Funding

July-Oct 2025

The program will culminate with pitch training, private pitch sessions and ECHO PITCH 2025: a public competition event, where the program ventures will have the opportunity to win start-up funding from a $250,000 pool. There will also be opportunities for follow-on funding via our partners.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Entrepreneurship for Cardiovascular Health Opportunities (ECHO) is a specialized training program led by veteran entrepreneurs and consultants across a variety of sectors.

Are only Canadian citizens and permanent residents eligible to apply?

No, you do not need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to apply for ECHO. The only requirement is that your cardiovascular technology/innovation is being developed in a Canadian institution/company.

Do you need to have a start-up company around your technology in order to be eligible?

No, you do not need to have formed a start-up company around your technology. However, you must be developing a cardiovascular technology/innovation that you intend to commercialize.

How many hours of workshops and webinars per week are ECHO participants expected to attend?

ECHO is a 12-month program starting from October 2024. Its workshops, webinars and Accelera sessions are held weekdays during typical work hours and are scheduled as follows:

Module 1 workshops: October – December 2024

During this period, 9 workshops (2 hours/session) will take place from October to December 2024. Each week will include one 2-hour workshop. The workshops will be held on Tuesdays at 10 am – 12 pm ET.

Module 2 workshops, Module 3 webinars and Module 4 Accelera sessions: January – June 2025

Module 2 workshops (2 hours/session), Module 3 webinars (1 hour/session), and Module 4 Accelera sessions (1 hour/session) will be held during this 6-month period with one session held weekly. All sessions will be held on Tuesdays in the 10 am – 12 pm ET timeslot.

Module 5: Pitch development: July – September 2025

During this summer stretch, there will be no workshops, webinars or Accelera sessions. Instead, ECHO ventures will have the opportunity to perfect their pitch deck, compete in a first-round pitch competition and receive pitch training, speaker coaching and mentorship on their go-to-market strategy.

Final pitch competition: October 2025

The program culminates in a final pitch competition (ECHO PITCH), which will be held in October 2024, where select ECHO ventures will have the opportunity to compete for start-up funding.

More details on the schedule will be provided in fall 2024.

Are all workshops and webinars held online?

Yes: all workshops, webinars, mentorship sessions and meetings are held online. At least one member of each selected venture must participate.

What are the attendance requirements?

In order to be eligible to compete in the final pitch competition for the opportunity to win start-up funding, at least one member of your venture must attend a minimum of 80% of all program workshops and webinars.

What does enrollment cost for ECHO?

There are no costs associated with ECHO. ECHO is a free entrepreneurial training program for ventures that are successfully accepted into the program.

Do all workshops and webinars need to be taken within the 12-month period?

Yes, ECHO is strategically scheduled to build a strong entrepreneurial knowledge base for its participants. Thus, all modules have to be completed within the scheduled period.

Is ECHO affiliated with the University of Toronto (U of T)?

Yes, ECHO is funded and organized through two U of T programs: (i) the Translational Biology and Engineering Program, which is the U of T component of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research; and (ii) the Health Innovation Hub (H2i), a campus-linked accelerator.

Is ECHO a certified program?

At this time there is no formal certification associated with ECHO.