Researchers at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have developed an innovative approach to better understanding the complex signaling mechanisms underlying heart failure. A recent publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) offers...
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.
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
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.
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.
Partners in ECHO
Our program is funded and organized in a partnership between:
- Translational Biology and Engineering Program (TBEP): The University of Toronto component of the Ted Rogers Centre, focused on heart failure research across the lifespan.
- Health Innovation Hub (H2i): A University of Toronto campus-linked accelerator facilitating the commercialization of health matters.
For more information, contact ECHO co-founder Soror Sharifpoor, also director of strategy and translation for the Centre’s Translational Biology and Engineering Program.
Module 1: Principles of Entrepreneurship
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.
Module 2: Health Venture Rounds
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.
Module 3: Lessons from Leaders
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.
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).
Module 5: Ignite Start-up Funding
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.
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.