Two York University students are among the 38 young innovators selected for the 2016 cohort of The Next 36 – Canada’s premiere program for the nation’s most promising entrepreneurs.
Linar Ismagilov, a second-year mechanical engineering student, and Zack Fisch, an MBA/JD student, were selected as finalists from more than 1,100 applicants to the program.
Ismagilov has a passion for engineering and a motivation for entrepreneurship. He’s been leading hardware at a marketing-focused creative technology startup and has a keen interest in robotics. His vision is to create an open community for applying technology to improve all aspects of our lives.
Fisch is a two-time startup founder and is a current MBA/JD student specializing in information technology. His past experiences bring together his love of software development, product management and data-driven decision making.
The successful group of 38 was selected after a gruelling national selection weekend of intense interviews and workshops led by successful Canadian entrepreneurs, including Bruce Croxon, Dan Debow, Katherine Hague and Razor Suleman.
The Next 36 provides world-class academic instruction and founder development, business mentorship and venture building to the country’s most promising entrepreneurs. The program is supported by more than 300 business leaders across Canada – including founding patrons W. Galen Weston, Jimmy Pattison and the late Paul Desmarais Sr.
“Each year the finalist pool seems to gets stronger,” says Peter Carrescia, managing director of The Next 36. “For our 2016 cohort, we sought applications from individuals who were already working on ideas, and the response from the startup community blew us away. We now allow all 38 of our successful finalists to choose their own co-founders, and this additional flexibility has helped us attract more applicants with an existing track record of entrepreneurship than ever before.”
The Next 36 entrepreneurs will spend the next eight months building their companies with the support of their mentors, a unique academic program, a pool of business advisers and access to up to $50,000 in seed capital. Program mentors have an impressive entrepreneurial and venture capital track record. They include: Kirk Simpson, co-founder of Wave; Janet Bannister, general partner at Real Ventures and former head of Kijiji Canada; and Andy Yang, CEO of 500px.
The ventures receive seed capital from a fund that includes Relay Ventures as an investment partner.
The Next 36 and related programs have contributed to the success of industry-changing startups such as Kira Talent, Bridgit, SeamlessMD, Thalmic Labs and Nymi, as well as the creation of over 478 new jobs and over $48 million in funding raised by alumni since the program’s inception.
Candidates from 44 institutions across the country – in addition to top U.S. schools such as Harvard, Wharton and Cornell – were competing for a spot in this year’s cohort.
The Next 36 is open to Canadians from all academic backgrounds, and this year’s finalists came from disciplines including business, computer science, engineering, international development, political science, physics, design, psychology and medicine.
Universities represented in this newest cohort include: Brock University, Dalhousie University, École Polytechnique de Montréal, McGill University, McMaster University, OCAD University, Parsons The New School of Design, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Waterloo, University of Windsor, Western University, Wilfrid Laurier University and York University.