You are a builder. Maker. Innovator. Game Changer. Disruptor. You want to create impact. We want to help.

Applications for the 2020 cohort are now open.

We believe in supporting a nation of bold, successful innovators whose achievements in Canada and on the global stage fuel greater prosperity at home.

Why Next 36?

Created with Sketch.

Strategy and Innovation

Ajay Agrawal
Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

This course provides an introduction to applied economics in the context of innovation and strategy that is relevant to entrepreneurship and early stage ventures. We workshop each venture and address questions such as: How can the 'lean' approach to startups be applied to your venture? Why might markets that are subject to increasing returns be likely to exhibit 'extreme competition' and what are the implications for your venture? How might your venture employ 'judo strategy' to exploit the normally advantageous size of large competitors? How might your venture be able to exploit the well-known 'innovator's dilemma' to compete with established competitors? To what extent are clever strategic tactics congruent with overall welfare for humankind? We will explore such questions through the lens of economic theory, apply the concepts in the context of case analyses, and discuss implications for corporate strategy.

Business, Government and the Global Economy

Marc Busch
Karl F. Landegger Professor of International Business Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

This course offers an introduction to the political economy of international business. The motivation for the course is to explore the nonmarket strategies employed by firms to compete in international trade. Nonmarket strategy involves political, legal and economic efforts by firms to reshape the rules of competition. With the 'visible hand' of governments very much evident in today's global economy, nonmarket strategy plays a key role in supporting a firm's market strategy. The course surveys topics in international trade with an eye to the nonmarket challenges that firms confront in 'going global.' The course looks at issues ranging from protectionism to obligations under the World Trade Organization and the growing number of preferential trade agreements that often extend more stringent rules than the multilateral system.

Strategic Experimentation, Crowdfunding and the Blockchain

Christian Catalini
Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The objective of this course is to accelerate your progress in the program and expose you to the process of experimentation at the business, strategic and ecosystem level. We will start by taking the perspective of your potential early-adopters: is their current behaviour consistent with your assumptions about how your product or service can deliver value to them? Will your offering be compelling enough for them to change their behaviour? We will learn how to formulate testable and precise hypotheses, and experiments to test them. Next, we will discuss how different types of experimentation can ultimately help you scale your venture, and how you can develop a robust entrepreneurial strategy to maximize learning. From the theory we will then turn to the phenomena, and focus on two technologies that lower the cost of experimentation in the economy, opening new opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs: crowdfunding and the Bitcoin blockchain.

Digital Market Strategy

Joshua Gans
Professor of Strategic Management, Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

This course will examine the elements of digital strategy for entrepreneurs. Its focus will be on how to understand your competition, how to build on network effects, what the differences between a platform, disruptive, competitive and collaborative strategy are and when they should be used. It will also present the economics of app pricing; how to price an app, pricing options and innovations, freemium and two-sided markets.

Market Research: Data Collection and Analysis

Avi Goldfarb
Professor of Marketing, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

This course explores how to collect, analyze, and present market intelligence.  The purpose of the course is to prepare you to conduct proof-of-concept studies and to undertake effective experiments. We will cover five topics: (1) study design, (2) segmentation, (3) experiments, (4) interpreting correlations, and (5) communicating data. The underlying objective is to understand your target customers and assess whether their interests and behaviour are consistent with assumptions behind your business model.

Entrepreneurial Finance

Ramana Nanda
Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

This class examines the elements of financing a startup, focusing on technology-based startup ventures, and the early stages of company development. It addresses key questions which challenge all entrepreneurs: how much money can and should be raised; when should it be raised and from whom; what is a reasonable valuation of the company; and how funding should be structured. The course is primarily aimed to prepare students for these decisions as entrepreneurs but also examines issues from the perspective of venture capitalists, so that students can learn to effectively pitch their financing strategy to VC and Angel investors.

Economics of Entrepreneurship

Reza Satchu
Managing Partner, Alignvest Capital Management, Serial entrepreneur

This course focuses on the challenging and important economic issues associated with recognizing, growing and valuing new ventures. The course explores the analytical techniques needed to recognize emerging business opportunities; understand the various financing choices; apply valuation methodologies; develop a marketable business plan; manage growth in a rapidly evolving environment; and successfully monetize the value of a business. Students will develop a framework within which to analyze whether a business idea is worth pursuing and a methodology to enable them to apply financial economic principles in ways that add to the value of an entrepreneurial undertaking.

Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML) is a paradigm shift across many sectors because it proposes the automatic construction of artificially intelligent systems that are human-like in ability to perform and adapt. It has already made well-publicized breakthroughs in transforming massive amounts of unstructured data into commercially-relevant products and services. Accordingly, the major internet giants have made recent acquisitions and investments in this space as they expand their capacity in AI. A recent study by Bloomberg Beta estimated over 2,500 startup companies also working in AI and ML. 

This course will begin by introducing the core principles of machine learning. It will then focus on Deep Learning: techniques that learn multiple layers of representation. It will review core approaches for supervised learning: deep neural networks, backpropagation, and optimization methods. It will also review unsupervised learning techniques, including recent advances in deep generative models.

Computer Vision

A central challenge in automated visual reasoning is that of untangling the many factors of variation that explain an image or video: both nuisance factors (e.g. lighting, scale, camera angle) and variables of interest (e.g. person or object identity). Historically, practitioners relied on an engineered feature extraction pipeline, usually containing multiple stages of processing combined with simple machine learning techniques. Recently, Deep Learning methods have transformed the field producing winning entries to myriad competitions as well as industrial applications. 

This course will review the foundations of Deep Learning applied to vision including contemporary convolutional network architectures. Leading experts in the field will discuss the most relevant application areas, including object detection, structured prediction, large-scale classification and hardware acceleration, video, multi-modal and multi-task learning, and regression methods for localization. The course will also highlight the most frequently used practical development libraries and tools.

Natural Language Processing

Applications of Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems are everywhere: web search, translation services, and recommender systems, are only a few examples. Understanding language is not just the core to so many products and services, it is a critical component of building strong AI systems. NLP is one area which has been deeply affected by the recent advances in Deep Learning. This course will review NLP fundamentals as well as cutting-edge models fueled by DL. Topics include word embeddings, recurrent neural network models, encoder-decoder architectures, attention models, architectures with external memories, and multimodal learning, including image and video captioning systems.

Intelligence in Practice

This course explores practical aspects of Machine Learning in industrial settings. It will explore the interaction between software and hardware, specifically Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and other hardware accelerators which have been critical to scaling up ML. It will cover best practices for ML developers, such as model search, debugging, and visualization. Short and long-term ethics and implications of strong AI will form a key discussion point. Machine Learning Systems have a larger system-level complexity than traditional software-based systems and thus have the potential to incur massive ongoing maintenance costs. The course will also explore the challenges and best practices of building and deploying large-scale ML systems.

Data Driven Decision Making

Mara Lederman
Director, Research Resources and Centres Associate Professor of Strategic Management

Mara does empirical research in the areas of Industrial Organization and Organizational Economics. At a broad level, Mara studies how companies compete and how they organize themselves for competitive advantage.  She is best known for her research on loyalty programs and vertical integration. Much of her work has been focused on the airline industry and she is recognized as an expert in this area. Her work has been published in the American Economic Review, the RAND Journal of Economics and the Review of Economics and Statistics, among others.  On the teaching side, Mara delivers courses on strategy, data analytics, and business problem-solving in Rotman’s MBA and Executive Education programs. 

Reinforcement Learning

Joelle Pineau
Head of Facebook AI Research Lab, Associate Professor of CS at McGill University

Technical Faculty

Created with Sketch.
The ultimate network.

You can't build a great business without the support of a community of other entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and advisors. The Next 36 is backed by over 300 of Canada's top business leaders, who are committed to making Canada more prosperous by supporting promising entrepreneurs like you. Throughout the program, you will have opportunities to meet people who could become clients, investors and connectors for your venture.

The relationships you build during the program last a lifetime. The Next 36 alumni stay in touch with their mentors, start new ventures with their peers, raise new rounds from investors, and develop lasting friendships. Our alumni community will become an important place to go for advice, support and feedback for new ideas.

Created with Sketch.
​​Complimentary Services from Our Partners

Legal Advice from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP on topics including: intellectual property, term sheets, human resources and privacy law.

Cloud Hosting from Amazon Web Services (up to $15,000).

Professional services from EY, including help with accounting, finance, media and funding needs.

Work Space during the summer for select ventures, provided by the DMZ.

Software from Mathworks.

Cloud computing from Microsoft BizSpark (up to $10,000 monthly for 12 months).

NEXT Canada entrepreneurs can fast track to the interview stage when they apply for a Techstars Accelerator.

What We Do

Next 36 is a program that accelerates the growth of Canada’s most talented young entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, capital, and unparalleled founder development.

Each year, we choose 36 young Canadian innovators and challenge them to build a new business venture or iterate and scale an existing idea with enormous potential.

For eight months, these young entrepreneurs are mentored by successful Canadian entrepreneurs and business leaders, taught by some of the world's top faculty, and seek funding from top investors to build their venture.

Frequently asked questions about…

  • The Program

  • Eligibility

  • The Application Process

  • Program Costs

  • Team Formation

  • Venture Financing

  • Residence

How was the Next 36 created?

The Next 36 expands on the principles of a University of Toronto course – “The Economics of Entrepreneurship” – taught by Next 36 Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus, Reza Satchu. The organization leverages the passion and resources of all four Next 36 co-founders, with the goal of turning the country’s top students into Canada’s most successful future business leaders and innovators.

What is an Academic Partner?

Academic Partners are universities across Canada with a track record of innovation and a commitment to entrepreneurship. They pledge to identify and encourage top students to apply to the Next 36. This support begins in the Office of the President / Principal and extends through all faculty and administration on campus. In many cases, Academic Partners also provide financial support to their students who are accepted into the Next 36.

Who are your Academic Partners?

- University of Toronto
- McGill University
- Queen's University
- Ryerson University
- Simon Fraser University
- The University of British Columbia
- University of Waterloo
- Western University

What is the difference between Next 36 and other NEXT programs?

Next 36 - is for founders of existing ventures or anyone who wants to build a new company with global impact. Existing ventures should be idea/early stage and pre-seed investment. It is designed for undergraduate and graduate students and those who have graduated within the past two years.

Next Founders - is for founders of seed/growth stage ventures with significant traction who are looking to scale.

NextAI - is an accelerator program for early-stage AI-enabled ventures or individuals and teams looking to commercialize research and launch something new. It is for students, grads, researchers and industry professionals. Each team must have at least one founder with deep expertise in an AI-related field.

Can I apply to both Next 36 and NextAI?

If you are a student or recent grad, we highly recommend you apply to Next 36. If you are eligible for both programs, you can also apply to NextAI but please note that the majority of NextAI participants have significant domain expertise through PhD/Masters-level education and/or business experience. NextAI will only accept exceptional undergraduates.

Who should apply to the Next 36?

The program is open to university and college students in their final two years of study or who have graduated within the past two years. We encourage applications from individuals who aspire to build globally significant businesses. If you already have a co-founder, you will have an opportunity to indicate this on your application. The program is for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. We accept undergraduate students from any university or degree-granting institution, enrolled in any discipline. No discipline or university will receive special favour from the selection committee and applicants will be judged on the basis of merit, aptitude and potential as demonstrated through their application.

What grades do I need to get into the program?

There is no minimum GPA requirement. You will be asked for your GPA as part of the submission, however, it is only one data point we look at when reviewing your application.

I am a Canadian student enrolled in an undergraduate program outside Canada. May I apply?

Yes. Canadian citizens who are enrolled at international institutions are welcome to apply as long as they are able to commit to attending the full summer program from early May to mid-August 2018.

Can I take other classes or be employed during the Entrepreneurship Institute?

No. During the summer residency, you are not permitted to register in other classes, engage in salaried employment or work on other business ventures between May and August 2018. You are encouraged to devote as much time as possible to the program between December 2017 and April 2018. Entrepreneurs are considered lead founders and must attend all classes through the summer and participate fully during this period of time. Exceptions are only granted in extreme circumstances. Other co-founders external to the program will receive invitation to select classes and events.

I am a co-op student. Can I still participate in the Next 36?

Candidates who are on co-op term during the National Phase (January – April) can be part of the Next 36 and complete their co-op at the same time. However, during the summer portion of the Entrepreneurship Institute (May – August), candidates must be focused exclusively on the Next 36. You may be able to work with your home university/college to have your Next 36 experience applied towards your co-op term, but this is at the discretion of your university/college and must be confirmed before you start the program.

I will be on an international exchange during the National Phase of the program (January to April). Am I still eligible?

Students on exchange are permitted to apply, however, previous entrepreneurs in the program have found it difficult to build their venture while abroad during this phase of the entrepreneurship institute and overseas exchanges are discouraged.

I am an international student - can I still apply to the program?

The program is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. However, if you are an international student looking to apply for Permanent Residence after university, we will accept a notarized statement to this effect. If you intend to provide a notarized statement, please email Olivia Lunderville at in advance of starting your application.

The Application Process

Next 36 is looking for students who have displayed "entrepreneurial initiative" in the past. What is meant by entrepreneurial initiative? We want you to show us that you have built something. Entrepreneurial initiative is shown when ideas are developed into results-oriented, operational outcomes. You may have done this by starting a company, a student club, a social enterprise or a non-profit organization. Entrepreneurial initiative is not necessarily driven by a profit motive, but by identifying an opportunity, by doing something better or differently, and building that idea into a productive team and organization.

Can I apply with an existing venture?

Yes. You can apply with an existing early stage venture and co-founders. Typically, this venture may have small amounts of funding through grants, university programs or competitions but has not taken any significant private investment. You and your co-founders must agree to be governed by the Next 36 shareholder agreements. Only your co-founders who are successful at National Selection Weekend will officially be admitted into the Next 36 as Lead Founders. We highly recommend that all eligible founders apply.

What if the venture already has equity investors?

Ventures with existing equity investors are not eligible and should consider Next Founders, a program for entrepreneurs who have founded early-stage tech companies and are seeking founder development and access to networks to scale their business. If you already have a venture with some traction, that’s the program for you.

How do I create a stronger application?
  1. Apply early. Starting the application process early will allow you enough time to complete the full application. It shows us you are enthusiastic about the program. Exceptional applicants will also be given invitations to National Selection Weekend on a rolling basis.
  2. Broaden your definition of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship can mean starting your own venture, but it can also mean founding a campus club or non-profit initiative, conceiving a new event or solving a big problem in a creative way. Be sure to elaborate on this experience in the relevant sections of the application.
  3. Do your research. Find out about the program, its components, who is involved, and what is expected of you – Next 36 is an intense experience and the more you know, the better your answers will be.
  4. Highlight all of your skills, including any technical, programming or design skills you might have.
  5. Talk to alumni or people at your university familiar with the program. They are a great source of information and can help you through the application process.
  6. Highlight strengths, passions and subject matter expertise in areas where other applicants don’t have any. Explain how this domain expertise can help you identify and solve big problems.
What costs will I have to cover?

There is no tuition charged to participate in Next 36. Generous donations of the individuals and foundations supporting the program cover the $30,000 cost per student. Students will only be expected to cover their own travel to Toronto for the summer, and cover their summer living expenses including accommodations and food.

Do I pay for my trip to National Selection Weekend?

Finalists' meals and accommodation for National Selection Weekend are covered by NEXT Canada. Travel expenses (flight, train, bus) will be covered for those travelling from outside the Toronto – KW corridor. Other travel costs will be the responsibility of the individual finalists. If the cost of travel poses a financial hardship that would prevent your participation, please contact Olivia Lunderville, Program Assistant, at

Is there any financial assistance available?

Next 36 offers selected bursaries to candidates with financial need to assist in covering costs associated with living in Toronto for the summer Entrepreneurship Institute.

Where does funding for the program come from?

Funding for the operational costs of the program has been donated by a committed group of entrepreneurs, business leaders and National Partners who recognize the value of developing entrepreneurial talent in the next generation of Canadians and want to help teach and mentor you. They are committed to building Canada’s most impactful program for promising young entrepreneurial leaders. Equity funding for the ventures is provided through a fund backed by leading venture capital firms and entrepreneurs.

How are teams formed?

Each entrepreneur in the Next 36 2018 cohort will choose his/her co-founders. The co-founders may be members of the 2018 Cohort, or, they could also be external to the program – someone you have worked with in the past or are working with now. After National Selection Weekend in December, you will have until mid-January to finalize your team and venture idea.

What should I consider when identifying co-founders?

Based on the type of business you are considering pursuing, you should find complementary skills in co-founders that can assist in your business goals. If you are considering building a technology business, technical co-founders would be very valuable.

Also very important is culture and personality fit with the co-founders you are considering. You will be working very closely with your co-founders through the program and likely afterwards.

How many founders are required per N36 venture?

There are no minimum or maximum limits, although an analysis of successful ventures suggests an optimal size of two or three founders.

Who owns the Intellectual Property?

The venture. Upon incorporating, all ventures take ownership of the IP created by their venture. Full detail on IP ownership is provided to the entrepreneur in their participation agreement.

What if the applicant already has a venture with an existing shareholders agreement?

It is highly recommended that ventures incorporate after being accepted into the program. Where this is not possible, all co-founder teams must agree to be governed by the Next 36 shareholder agreements. The venture must own all of their intellectual property.

How much of the venture’s equity will I own?

Founders will own approximately 95.3% of their venture, split amongst the co-founders. Equity does not need to be split evenly, although anyone considered a co-founder must have a reasonable stake. The other approximate 4.7% is owned by NEXT Canada, which is a non-profit charity. In addition, Young Founders Fund, the equity investor supporting all ventures, can provide up to $50K in equity funding during the program.

How is my venture funded?

Ventures will be provided up to $50K in seed capital over the course of the program. There will be several funding windows throughout the program. The amount of funding available increases at each window while the number of ventures receiving funding will decrease. As is the case in venture capital, stronger teams will receive more funding.

Who are the equity investors in the Next 36?

The investor group includes leading Canadian VCs such as BDC Capital, Globalive Capital Inc. as well as a number of successful Canadian business entrepreneurs.

Where will I stay during the summer?

The 36 successful entrepreneurs (lead founders) in the 2018 cohort must live in residence at the University of Toronto for the summer phase of the program - from May until August, 2018. It is highly recommended that any of your venture’s co-founders who are not in the core program, also live in Toronto. There may be additional spots to rent in residence for your co-founders who are not in the core program. Much of the program's learning will happen outside of the classroom, after hours. By living with your peers and co-founders, you will gain the most from your summer, devote more time to your new venture and form deeper bonds with others in the Next 36.

Program Timeline

August 12, 2019
Applications Open

Answer a few questions about yourself in a short written application and video interview. You can also share information about your idea, current venture and any co-founders at this stage. Make sure they apply too!

August 29, 2019
Application Webinar

Why should you apply to the Next 36? Tune in to our Application Webinar to get your questions answered by N36 staff and alumni. Watch the 2018 Application Webinar

September - October 2019
National Campus Tour

We'll be visiting campuses across Canada to give you a chance to ask us and our alumni questions. Join us at your campus!

October 16, 2019
Application Deadline

November 28 - 30, 2019
National Selection Weekend

Finalists from across the country converge in Toronto for an intense weekend of interviews, workshops, speakers and idea generation. The Next 36 Selection Committee will choose 36 entrepreneurs to accept into the program. These 36 founders are assigned alumni mentors and will ideate, iterate and finalize co-founder teams over the next 6 weeks.

December to mid-January 2020
Venture Formation Phase

After Selection Weekend, the 36 founders have different needs: some will choose their co-founders and ideate, while others will iterate on an existing idea or venture with co-founders. Various events and activities will help you get to know the other founders better and get feedback on your business.

January to May 2020 (Remote)
Entrepreneurship Institute, Phase I (National)

While completing your academic year, you will work remotely with your co-founders and mentors to start building your venture. You participate in online classes and have a number of checkpoints where you can pitch for seed capital.

Early March 2020
March Showcase

You will present an update on your venture's progress and receive feedback from your mentors and advisors.

May to August 2020 in Toronto
Entrepreneurship Institute, Phase II (Summer)

During Phase II, you work full-time on your venture while attending exclusive networking events and over 100 hours of founder development workshops and classes. There will also be pitch opportunities with top VCs and angel investors. By the end of the program you will have a larger and more diverse network — one that is committed to you and your business.

Early May 2020
Summer Kickoff and Prototype Day

With everyone finally together, you will pitch your venture prototype and receive feedback from a network of peers, mentors and other members of the NEXT Canada community. You will also meet the entrepreneurs in the Next Founders and NextAI programs, who you will be learning with during the summer.

Mid-July 2020
Venture Preview Night

N36'ers will pitch in front of investors and business leaders who get a sneak peek of your startup before Venture Day. This is a great chance to get feedback and start a relationship with select investors interested in helping grow your company.

Mid-August 2020
Venture Day

The program culminates with a showcase of the Next 36 and Next Founders ventures. Hundreds of investors and business leaders attend, and hundreds more watch online. You will graduate from the Next 36 and high-performing participants will be recognized with awards including the Outstanding Venture Award. Watch the Venture Day 2016 recap

Alumni Events

Although the program ends, you are forever part of the NEXT Canada alumni community. Every few months we hold special events for alumni, where you can network with your peers and entrepreneurs from other years.

btn_arrow_right Created with Sketch.
btn_arrow_left Created with Sketch.
btn_arrow_right Created with Sketch.


btn_arrow_left Created with Sketch.

EcoPackers transforms excess Canadian agricultural by-products into 100% biodegradable, non-toxic and cost-effective alternatives to single-use plastics.

NEXT Canada equipped me with the confidence, resources and mentors needed to build an impactful business. I learned to be fearless when it came to my big vision and received guidance from some of the most inspirational business leaders in the world.”

 ‐ Nuha Siddiqui, Founder, EcoPackers
Ecopackers Spotlight

Bridgit’s mobile app streamlines communication on construction sites, helping residential, commercial or institutional projects be completed better, faster.

“Next 36 was this perfect bridge between engineering and this different world I was quite interested in but wasn’t sure how to approach. It was the perfect segue for me.”

 ‐ Lauren Lake
Bridgit Spotlight

SeamlessMD is a cloud-based, patient engagement solution that delivers proactive care, improves recovery post-surgery, lowers costs and enhances the patient experience.

I knew I wanted to build a venture someday, and I actually thought I'd be doing that 5-10 years from now. Next 36 has really accelerated what I've wanted to do with my career, and I can't imagine being able to do that with any other opportunity.

 ‐ Joshua Liu
Seamless Spotlight
btn_arrow_right Created with Sketch.

NEXT Ambassadors

btn_arrow_left Created with Sketch.
btn_arrow_right Created with Sketch.

Meet The Network

btn_arrow_left Created with Sketch.

Read our latest tweets

btn_arrow_right Created with Sketch.
btn_arrow_left Created with Sketch.