Entrepreneurship for Cardiovascular Health Opportunities (ECHO)

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.

ECHO logo

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

ECHO 2022-2023 Competition Now Closed


  • September 2022: interviews begin for select applicants
  • October 2022: ECHO program begins


Ventures accepted into ECHO are required to:

  • Participate in each online program module for 12 months beginning October 2022
  • 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

ECHO is a specialized experiential training program whose main objectives are to:

  • Provide entrepreneurship training, mentorship, networking and funding opportunities for early ventures in the cardiovascular health sector
  • Help transfer research innovations and intellectual property from academic and hospital institutions into the economy
  • Create more start-ups in the cardiovascular health sector

Founded in 2018, this 12-month online training program is led by high-calibre entrepreneurial industry, policy, regulatory and clinical experts. It comprises five unique complementary modules.

ECHO Brochure 2022

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.

ECHO Discovery immerse

Module 1: Principles of Entrepreneurship

Oct-Dec 2022

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

ECHO Discovery immerse

Module 2: Health Venture Rounds

Jan-June 2023

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.

ECHO Discovery immerse

Module 3: Lessons from Leaders

Jan-June 2023

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.

ECHO Discovery immerse

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).

ECHO Discovery immerse

Module 5: Ignite Start-up Funding

July-Oct 2023

The program will culminate with pitch training, private pitch sessions and ECHO PITCH 2023: 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.

ECHO banner image

Frequently Asked Questions

Entrepreneurship for Cardiovascular Health Opportunities (ECHO) is a specialized hands-on 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 2021. Its workshops and seminars are held on weekdays during typical work hours and are scheduled as follows:

Module 1 workshops: October – December 2021

During this period, 9 workshops (2 hours/session) will take place from October to December 2021. Each week will include one 2-hour workshop.

Module 2 and 3 workshops/webinars: January – June 2022

Module 2 workshops (2 hours/session) and Module 3 webinars (1 hour/session) will be held during this 6-month period with, at most, one 2-hour workshop or one 1-hour webinar held per week.

Pitch development: July – September 2022

During this summer stretch, there will be no workshops/webinars. ECHO ventures will have the opportunity to perfect their pitch deck, compete in a first-round pitch competition and receive mentorship from a MaRS entrepreneur-in-residence.

Final pitch competition: October 2022

The program culminates in a final pitch competition, which will be held in October 2022, where all ECHO ventures will have the opportunity to compete for start-up funding.

More details on the schedule will be provided in fall 2021.

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.