Entrepreneurship for Cardiovascular Health Opportunities

What is ECHO?

Entrepreneurship for Cardiovascular Health Opportunities (ECHO) is a specialized hands-on 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.
(Details below)

ECHO 2019-2020 competition

The application period for the second year of ECHO closed in August 2019.

Interviews commenced in September 2019 for select applicants. The program begins October 7, 2019.


Ventures accepted into ECHO are required to:

  • Participate in each program module, held in Toronto, for 12 months beginning October 7, 2019
  • Attend a minimum of 80% of all program workshops and seminars
  • Become an H2i member and engage with H2i mentors
  • Participate in the final pitch competition for the opportunity to win start-up funding


Any Canadian-based student, researcher 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 retaining the opportunity to work in an innovation-based environment.


Program Overview

ECHO is a specialized experiential training program with main objectives to:

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

Based in Toronto, this is a 12-month intensive training program led by high-calibre entrepreneurial industry, policy, regulatory and clinical experts. It comprises a unique combination of five complementary modules:

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 model, finance fundamentals, leadership, marketing and communication, sales strategy 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 seminar 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.

Module 5: Ignite Start-up Funding

The program will culminate with a pitch competition, where the program ventures will have the opportunity to win potential start-up funding from a $250,000 pool.

There will also be opportunities for follow-on funding via our partners.


The ECHO program is funded and organized in a partnership between:

Click here for frequently asked questions


For more information, contact Soror Sharifpoor

Did you know?

In February 2015, Canada’s “University Affairs” magazine reported that at the time of entry into their programs, 65 to 85% of new PhD graduates aspired to obtain tenured-track faculty members. One month earlier, the Conference Board of Canada reported that 60% of PhDs find employment in their area of PhD training expertise outside of academia. Maybe one of those areas for you is the creative and growing sector of health science entrepreneurship, creating products and services for the economic and health benefit of society.