Startup Cape Breton began as an event to promote new opportunities in technology, business, and education. It has grown to support the ongoing movement toward a more entrepreneurial, inclusive, diverse Cape Breton.
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A quarterly public event is held at the Verschuren Centre at CBU, and is organized by members of the community, supported by various organizations and community partners including CBU, NSCC, Island Sandbox, Cape Breton Partnership, and TecSocial/Innovacorp.
Startup Cape Breton 1.0 happened on July 14, 2014 as a way to welcome Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy and DMZ (Digital Media Zone) founder and CEO Valerie Fox to CBU. The two presented the model of the DMZ, Canada’s leading (and global top 5) university-based technology-business incubator. Event participants were inspired by the Ryerson model of city-building and support for Toronto’s startup scene; likewise, Levy and Fox were inspired by the energy and activity in Cape Breton’s startup scene.
Inspired by both, CBU Chancellor Annette Verschuren announced that she would commit $500K to launch a “Cape Breton Island Futures Fund” (CBIFF), based on the model of “Ryerson Futures” that invests in DMZ startups.
In addition to the CBIFF, several other initiatives and startups have participated, launched, or gone public at a Startup Cape Breton event, including UIT Startup Immersion, Island Sandbox, and Spark Cape Breton.