YSpace welcomes new cohort of technology startups to its Technology Accelerator program


York University’s YSpace welcomes a new cohort of technology startups to its Technology Accelerator program, which begins this month. The four-month virtual accelerator program is designed to support entrepreneurs as they launch and scale their ventures through bootcamps, workshops, one-on-one mentorship, and over $30,000 in cash awards plus perks.

The Technology Accelerator program focuses on helping pre-revenue technology startups execute their go-to-market strategies and acquire customers, providing ample opportunities for hands-on experience, accountability sessions, customized mentorship, and connecting with key partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Get to know the 16 technology companies in the 2021 cohort below.

YSpace Markham's Makerspace

Connexa is a customer service platform dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized companies maintain a human connection with their customers.

Dwellcome is an onboarding platform to welcome residents and help them adapt to their new community after they move in.

Elizion Tech is a groundbreaking nanotech company leading the way in cutting-edge nanomaterials and product development to address 21st century challenges.

Find A Nurse set out to lead the digital transformation of traditional home care and build the next-generation home care system for families.

Honeybee is a cross-platform software that connects researchers and study participants for health studies. Its mission is to modernize health research workflows and democratize health research for all.

HUEX Labs is involved in research and productization around the areas of artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning, data analytics, computer vision and speech recognition technologies.

Mely.ai provides accurate and automatic key information extraction from freight documents such as Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice, Packing List and more.

No Fuss Tutors offers immersive one-on-one tutoring programs to catch students up to grade level in 12 weeks. Its vision is to make use of the revenue from its fast-scaling tutoring to fund development of EdTech.

PPalli empowers individuals to build healthy internet-use habits to better their social, physical and mental well-being.

Positive Reactions is a platform for social change. Users are rewarded for doing good, creating a loop of positivity.

Reachout is an early-career community where students can find internship/full-time jobs, employers can hire diverse talent, and career centers can manage the complex works.

Taku Retail makes it possible for physical retail stores to automatically provide a much better digital neighbourhood shopping experience and attract local customers who buy more both in-store and online.

Taonga lets users take back control of their personal documents through an end-to-end encrypted app.

Veer AI helps small- and medium-sized retail companies make data-driven marketing decisions.

VIBRAINT RehUp is a brain-computer interface-based neurorehabilitation system that helps paralyzed people to re-gain limbs motion.

VoxCell BioInnovation Inc. is a biotechnology startup focused on the creation of Canada’s first multiphoton 3D bioprinter.

How Uber drivers avoided – and contributed to – the fate of taxi drivers. Click here for more York U in the news

Kam Phung, PhD Candidate in Organization Studies at York University, co-authored an article in The Conversation May 6. Read full story.

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York University was mentioned in the Toronto Star May 7. Read full story.

A sibling duo’s inspiring journey
York University was mentioned in The Daily Star May 7. Read full story.

Push to reboot financing of recycling divides businesses, local governments
York University was mentioned in The Daily Star May 6. Read full story.

20 books to get your mom on Mother’s Day
York University student Kaleb Dahlgren was mentioned in CBC News May 6. Read full story.

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York University was mentioned in ToDoCanada May 6. Read full story.

Who stands to benefit from building a transmission line under Lake Erie? Click here for more York U in the news

Mark Winfield, professor in York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, was quoted in Rabble.ca May 5. Read full story.

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Birgit Umaigba, clinical course director for internationally trained nurses at York University, was featured in Toronto Life May 5. Read full story.

Canadian Stage plans to share its outdoor amphitheatre with local arts groups for Dream in High Park 2021
York University was mentioned in the Globe and Mail May 6. Read full story.

Forgetting and Remembering a Pandemic
Historian Esyllt Jones, who delivered the annual Avie Bennett Historica Canada Lecture at York University in March 2021, was a guest on CBC’s Ideas podcast May 4. Listen to the episode.

York University hosts Hult Prize Toronto Regional Finals for third consecutive year

Panorama of Toronto skyline at sunset in Ontario, Canada
Panorama of Toronto skyline at sunset in Ontario, Canada

York University hosted the Hult Prize Toronto Regional Finals during a virtual summit held April 29 to May 1. This year marked the third consecutive year that York University has hosted the event, which is the only regional summit for the prestigious prize located in Canada.

Backed by the world-renowned Hult International Business School, EF Education First and the United Nations, the Hult Prize Challenge empowers young people to engage their entrepreneurial spirits, connect and collaborate with partners and mentors, and change the world for the better. The annual challenge is the biggest social innovation competition in the world – engaging thousands of student social entrepreneurs in 121 countries each year – and has been praised by TIME Magazine as one of the “Top 5 Ideas Changing the World.”

The Hult Prize invites university students from around the world to solve some of the world’s most pressing development issues by launching for-good, for-profit businesses. This year’s challenge is “Food for Good: Transforming food into a vehicle for change,” which asked youth around the world to build viable food enterprises that will create jobs, stimulate economies, reimagine supply chains, and improve outcomes for 10,000,000 people by 2030. Past challenges have addressed issues such as youth unemployment, energy, the refugee crisis, early childhood education, healthcare and clean water.

The Hult Prize runs regional competitions in cities across the globe, with the 50 winners attending a boot-camp style accelerator based in Boston to develop their ideas into investment-ready companies. Six finalists from the accelerator then pitch at the Hult Prize Global Finals at the UN Headquarters in New York City for a prize of $1 million (U.S.) in seed capital to support the development of the winning enterprise.

The three-day Toronto Regional Finals kicked off on April 29 with a welcome keynote from Assistant Vice-President Innovation & Research Partnerships Sarah Howe, followed by programming that included workshops, professional networking opportunities and inspiring speakers, including Toronto Mayor John Tory. On May 1, the event concluded with a keynote address from York’s President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton, who is a strong supporter of the summit, and the pitch competition.

Team Glarina, an international team from Tunisia, was named the winner of the pitch competition and will move on to attend the accelerator program in Boston. Glarina is a sustainable solution that empowers local communities through entrepreneurship education to create value in the rural regions of the Northwest of Tunisia. The team has created gluten-free flour made from acorns for people suffering from celiac disease.

For more information on the competition, visit the Hult Prize website.

Learn how to utilize your connections at the next ELLA Entrepreneurial Insights event

You’ve heard it before… network, network, network! But what do you actually do with those contacts once you’ve added them on LinkedIn? At the next ELLA Entrepreneurial Insights event, “The Net Worth of Your Network,” learn from an expert how to utilize your connections to start attracting collaboration and support on your projects. You’ll also learn tips and tools to attract the right people into your network.

Join ELLA on May 12 for a conversation with Patrice Pollack, creative director at FUSE Create. She will be sharing her experience and story as she provides insight on the value her network holds, and how she has leveraged her contacts to help her throughout her career.

The first part of the session is a fireside chat followed by audience Q-and-A. Bring your critical thinking hat and get excited to ask questions and join in the conversation. Test out your new networking tips and tricks by connecting with the ELLA community.

ELLA Entrepreneurial Insights event promo

Pollack began her advertising career in the fast lane with several awards under her belt. Then, in 2011, she took home gold in the Cannes Young Lions competition – a first for Canada. From there, she packed her bags and left her home and native land to join J. Walter Thompson New York. While there, she pitched and developed campaigns for Smirnoff, Rolex and J&J.

Missing Canadian winters, Pollack made her way back to the great white north to work for J. Walter Thompson Toronto. Over the next four years, she helped pitch, win and create award-winning work for Air Canada – the airline that ironically brought her back home.

With roots in Toronto, she moved to OneMethod as ACD, winning a number of awards as she continued to push creative boundaries with a strategic lens and a promise to challenge traditional advertising. She also gave back – using what she learned along the way, Pollack taught at OCAD University. While still working full time, she mentored, championed and even hired some of the brightest and kindest people in the business.

Now as creative director at Fuse Create, she will navigate the ever-changing advertising landscape with her heart, head and of course, her gut.

“The Net Worth of Your Network” takes place virtually from 12 to 12:45 p.m. Register for the event here.

A national strategy on transgender health care is needed, advocates and experts say. Click here for more York U in the news

Kinnon MacKinnon, assistant professor at York University’s School of Social Work, was quoted in The Hill Times May 5. Read full story.

Clear safeguards needed around technology planned for border checkpoints
Petra Molnar, associate director of the Refugee Law Lab at York University, co-authored an article in CBC News May 5. Read full story.

Take Covid-19 variants seriously, have tighter border control– expert
Department of Biology Associate Professor Dasantila Golemi-Kotra was quoted in Independent Online (IOL) May 5. Read full story.

Did the pandemic shake Chinese citizens’ trust in their government? We surveyed nearly 20,000 people to find out
Department of Sociology Assistant Professor Cary Wu contributed to The Washington Post May 5. Read full story.

Indigenous helmed shows mark ‘significant moment’ in television history says Cree actor
Michael Greyeyes, associate professor in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design was featured in APTN National News May 4. Read full story.

Parents, for your ‘quaranteenager’s’ sexual health, talk to them about taking risks
Faculty of Education Associate Professor Jen Gilbert published an article in The Conversation May 4. Read full story.

Upcoming Goldfarb Summer Institute events explore ‘Photography: In and Out of the Archive’

The Department of Visual Art and Art History at York University, York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) and Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology present two events this week as part of the 13th Annual Goldfarb Summer Institute.

Nina Levitt
Nina Levitt

Organized by Professors Nina Levitt and Sarah Parsons, the annual Joan & Martin Goldfarb Summer Institute in Visual Arts offers York University graduate students and the wider community the opportunity to engage with prominent international theorists, artists, curators and critics through seminars, workshops and public lectures.

This year’s Summer Institute explores the theme “Photography: In and Out of the Archive.”

Archives have traditionally been understood as the organic repositories of information generated by the business of institutions such as states, corporations and other organizations. As such, archives occupy a position of official power and regularly serve as the basis for historical research and narratives. More recent critical thinking about archives challenges the possibility of organic collections or their neutrality, noting that archives always structure historical knowledge and often predetermine whose stories are entered into the official records. In official or institutional collections, archivists regularly make decisions about which documents offer information and evidence that would make them worth keeping. Increasingly, collectors, scholars, artists and others have created and archived collections that now carry their own power.

Sarah Parsons
Sarah Parsons

As the digital era has vastly broadened access to archives and historical material, debates about their scope and power have shifted to the mainstream and into a wide range of fields. In particular, critics noted an “archival turn” in contemporary art and curatorial practice, specifically in relation to photography. Photographs have played a disruptive role in these debates prompting questions about just what kind of information photographs can provide and what kinds of photographs have been placed inside or kept out of archives.

With the assistance of esteemed guests, Summer Institute examines the ways artists, curators, archivists, and scholars have taken up questions of both material practice and representational politics in the archival context.

The upcoming Summer Institute sessions take place virtually on May 5 and 6 and are open to the public.

“Unhomed: Orphan Images and Diasporic Kinships” – Thy Phu and Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn in Conversation

Unhomed Summer Institute event promo

This talk takes place on May 5 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. via Zoom. Register here.

What can family photographs tell us about ourselves, our attachments, our displacements, and our estrangements? In this event, artist Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn and critic Thy Phu discuss their work with family photographs as objects, as encounters with personal memory, and as creative artifacts.

Phu is a professor of media studies at the University of Toronto. She is co-editor of Feeling Photography and Refugee States: Critical Refugee Studies in Canada. She is also author of Picturing Model Citizens: Civility in Asian American Visual Culture, and Director of the collaborative research project, The Family Camera Network.

Nguyễn is an artist using archives and a broad range of media to investigate issues of historicity, collectivity, utopian politics and multiculturalism via feminist theories. Currently based in Stockholm, she is a PhD candidate in the Art, Technology and Design program at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design. Nguyễn completed the Whitney Independent Study Program, her MFA and a post-graduate diploma in critical studies from the Malmö Art Academy, Sweden and a BFA from Concordia University.

“The Fugitive Photograph and Archival Escape in Jamaica” – Public talk with Krista Thompson

Photograph of Paul Bogle

This presentation takes place on May 6 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Register here.

The photograph depicted in the graphic above, long circulated as an image of Paul Bogle – one of the leaders of what became known as the “Morant Bay Rebellion” (1865) – went missing from a national archive in Jamaica in the 1970s. The precise date and circumstances of its disappearance are unknown.

This presentation examines the histories, stories and controversies surrounding the photograph, which was first publicly identified as a representation of Bogle almost a century after his death in 1865. What role did photography play in state, academic and popular understandings of Bogle, the Morant Bay Rebellion, and the discipline of history in post-Independence Jamaica? What might the Bogle image reveal not only about the relationship between history and photography, but also about photographic disappearance, fugitivity and the unarchived in the historical imagination?

Thompson is the Mary Jane Crowe Professor of Art History at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois. She is the author of An Eye for the Tropics (2006) and Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice (2015), and recipient of the Charles Rufus Morey Award for distinguished book in the history of art from the College Art Association (2016). Thompson is currently working on the manuscript The Evidence of Things Not Captured (Duke University Press, forthcoming), which examines notions of photographic absence, fugitivity, and disappearance in Jamaica. She is also writing Black Light, a manuscript about electronic light artist Tom Lloyd.


How 2 Toronto women are reshaping what it means to be South Asian and taking that message worldwide. Click here for more York U in the news

Professor Tania Das Gupta of the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, was quoted in CBC News May 3. Read full story.

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Professor Amy Muise, of the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health was quoted in the Toronto Star May 2. Read full story.

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Biology Professor Dasantila Golemi-Kotra published an article in The Conversation April 15. Read full story.

Canadian startup creates bandages for Black and brown skintones
York University employee Tianna McFarlane was featured in CTV News May 2. Read full story.

Global TV Focus Ontario: Vaccine acceleration
Steven Hoffman, director of the Global Strategy Lab at York University, appeared on Global News May 1. Watch the interview (begins at 10:45).

Is Covid-19 here to stay for good? Here’s What Experts Think
Faculty of Science Professor Jane Heffernan was quoted in Sciencealert May 1. Read full story.

Class of 2021: 8 students share their hopes and fears as they prepare to graduate during a pandemic
York University was mentioned in CBC News May 1. Read full story.

Astronomer, bestselling author among experts aiming to inspire at Markham Youth Expo
Faculty of Science Professor Paul Delaney and David Kwok, director of YSpace, were mentioned in YorkRegion.com April 30. Read full story.

Resident isolation, staffing remain significant concerns in Ontario long-term care centres
Professor of Sociology Pat Armstrong was quoted in CBC News April 30. Read full story.

A brain-to-machine interface promises to help create a truly intelligent digital personal assistant
York University was mentioned in the Toronto Star April 30. Read full story

A dose of hope: here’s why you might get the COVID-19 vaccine sooner than you think 
Faculty of Science Professor Jane Heffernan was quoted in the Globe and Mail April 30. Read full story.

COVID-19 vaccine does not make people dangerous to others
Professor Dasantila Golemi-Kotra of the Faculty of Science was quoted in AFP Factcheck April 29. Read full story.

Broncos crash survivor Kaleb Dahlgren announces his retirement from hockey
York University was mentioned in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix May 4. Read full story.

Big Chocolate: Supreme Court to weigh in on child slavery lawsuit against Nestle, Cargill
Schulich School of Business Professor Dirk Matten appeared on Global News April 22. Watch the interview.

YSpace announces new cohort of food ventures participating in Food Accelerator program

Food in a grocery store, displayed on shelves

YSpace, York University’s innovation hub, is excited to welcome the 12 participating companies in the third cohort of its Food Accelerator program, which begins this month. A first-of-its-kind initiative in the GTA, the Food Accelerator supports promising food and beverage consumer-packaged goods (CPG) ventures as they build their strategy, grow their network and scale their business.

Launched in partnership with the Regional Municipality of York Region and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, the five-month Food Accelerator program helps scale high growth food and beverage ventures through customized workshops, expert mentorship and peer-to-peer circles.

Meet the new cohort of food ventures below.

Algi Foods product

Algi Foods creates delicious, purpose-driven food products centred around algae. Its introductory product, the IMPACT Bar, is an unprocessed plant-based energy bar made with spirulina algae. Algi Foods’ mission is to redefine the food landscape by creating a wide variety of algae-based food products that make it easy for consumers to get great-tasting, nutritious and sustainable food products centred around algae.

Appleflats Foods is commercializing a forgotten Canadian heritage, crabapple, into a variety of products. The company’s crabapple jelly and mixers provide healthy foodies with delicious mixed drinks and natural jams made with simple ingredients.

Bro Dough is introducing a healthier way to indulge in your favourite childhood treat with its 100 per cent vegan, egg-free and zero-guilt edible cookie dough. With added protein, it makes the perfect post-workout snack. Dip it, scoop it, spread it; have your dough – your way Bro.

The Little Red Bake Shop is a cookie subscription business that helps customers celebrate the beautiful in every single day by bringing delicious homemade cookies right to their doorstep each month. The team also offers custom sugar cookies that can be ordered for special events, because no event should go without a little extra sweetness.

Metavo product

Metavo, produced by SP Nutraceuticals, is a natural supplement that contains AvoB, a powerful bioactive found in avocados that helps promote good health. This product maintains normal blood sugar levels and helps support a healthy metabolism.

More Granola is a gourmet granola brand setting out to make healthy eating more indulgent. Its dessert-inspired granola flavours are made with simple, good-for-you ingredients. More Granola is bridging the gap between granola cereal and granola bars, because they believe you should have it all. So why settle for less, when you can have More.

Nola Baking Co. is a Canadian company focused on creating healthy food products with clean, all-natural ingredients. Products are made with 100 per cent real food and contain no gluten, dairy, eggs, refined sugar or artificial preservatives.

Neophyto Foods' Neokits

Neophyto Foods seeks to make plant-based versions of everyone’s favourite foods without compromising on taste, texture or sustainability. Its newest product, Neokit, is the first plant-based meat kit made here. With only five ingredients, Neokit is shelf stable without preservatives, and it can be used just like ground meat.

Oatsy Bar is on a mission to end Canada’s addiction to candy-like energy bars. Its bars are half the sugar (none refined) of the leading energy bar brand. Their low glycemic load reduces blood sugar spikes, leading to better recovery, less hunger, and improved energy. Finally, they contain nutrient-dense whole foods to achieve an incredible macro and micronutrient profile full of fibre, protein and omega 3s.

It’s Souper is an Afro-fusion soup and sauce line that’s shaking up the food and beverage industry with hearty, spicy, and flavourful African-inspired recipes. Over 60 per cent of Black immigrants moving annually to Canada are of African descent, yet less than 2 per cent of products available in the mainstream grocery store cater to their needs. It’s Souper was launched to solve this problem by creating nostalgia through food and catering to the diverse culinary needs of Canadians.

Taltis drink products

Taltis Foods Inc. is bringing African-oriented food products to Canadians everywhere, allowing food adventurers to experience the uniqueness of African cuisine. The team combines local African ingredients to make cultural and delicious beverages and sauces such as the lemongrass drink, the Baobab drink, the Hibiscus drink and the popular Jollof sauce originally from Senegal.

Zing is a pandemic-born food brand that makes small batch, chef-prepared pantry shortcuts. Its vegan and gluten-free condiments and seasoning salts are designed to be home cooking hacks: just add Zing (and if you want, nothing else!) to any recipe for a punch of flavour without the extra effort.

New round of Innovation York and NRC-IRAP’s Artificial Intelligence Industry Partnership Fund

Big Data

Innovation York and the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) are pleased to announce another round of the Artificial Intelligence Industry Partnership Fund program to support artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) collaborative research projects for industry and York University researchers.

This is a unique opportunity for companies to explore the feasibility of employing AI/ML in their business. Researchers will also have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and technologies to real-world situations and employ their research to further extend the knowledge base within AI and ML.

Researchers are encouraged to use the funding to initiate a new partnership or continue the support provided to their industry partners. For SMEs that have not pre-identified a research partner, Innovation York will conduct a matchmaking search with relevant faculty.

Applicants: Canadian SMEs, that are or will be partnered with York faculty members.

Application Deadline for Unpartnered SMEs: May 21, 4 p.m. EST.

Full Application Deadline: June 11, 4 p.m. EST.

Funding Amount: Up to $12,000 per selected research project (no funding to industry partners, no funding required of industry partners).

Project Length: Two (2) to four (4) months.

Use of Funds: To execute industry-driven research projects in artificial intelligence/machine learning. The funds can be only used toward student(s) stipend(s). All other expenses are ineligible.

For those requiring assistance finding a partner, please contact Rachel Sung, Industry Engagement Coordinator, at sungr@yorku.ca as soon as possible.

For more information and to apply for this grant, please visit innovationyork.ca/partnership-grant.