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ANTH PhD Alumnus Strives To Support Female Entrepreneurship, Attract Int'l Business

ANTH PhD Alumnus Strives To Support Female Entrepreneurship, Attract Int'l Business

Laura Baker Rogers, PhD alumnus of the Department of Anthropology at York, and current Executive Director at the Treefrog Accelerator has joined with York University and The Regional Municipality of York (York Region) to give businesses led by international talent and women entrepreneurs a JumpSTART in York Region with funding of more than $1 million.

Dr. Laura Baker Rogers

In addition to her role as Executive Director at Treefrog Accelerator, Dr. Rogers occasionally teaches Digital Marketing through York's Continuing Studies. She also owns her own startup: a plant-based, vegan-leather accessories company called Origyn.

Her first product run launches in Spring 2024.

Visit the Origyn website

York Regional Council has committed $1.08 million in funding from the York Region Innovation Investment Fund over three years for Project JumpSTART to continue strengthening York Region’s business economy through fostering innovation with a focus on international and women-led tech entrepreneurs.

"Economic vitality remains a strategic priority for York Regional Council and it is integral our local businesses have resources to help them succeed,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. "Additional funding provided through York Region’s Innovation Fund will empower growing businesses, attract international entrepreneurs and support foreign direct investment, strengthening York Region as a thriving hub for talent and opportunity.”

Project JumpSTART is a partnership between York University’s YSpace, the Schulich School of Business’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Treefrog Accelerator. The Towns of East Gwillimbury, Georgina and Newmarket are also collaborators in this initiative.

“This initiative builds on York University’s long-standing partnership with York Region to combine skills, knowledge and resources to support and bring new small businesses, innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers as well as economic prosperity to the region,” says York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “With just over 17 per cent of Canadian businesses owned by women in the private sector, JumpSTART will bring much needed support for women entrepreneurs, help reduce the notable gender disparities in Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and help to attract international entrepreneurs to choose York Region.”

Project JumpSTART will leverage the funding to expand York University’s YSpace ELLA Program and Treefrog Inc.’s Accelerator Program, to achieve the following:

  • Increase local employment and economic growth by attracting new innovation and tech-centric businesses to establish operations in York Region
  • Promote equity and diversity in entrepreneurship by supporting international and female-founders to settle locally
  • Expand business and entrepreneurship guidance, resources and increase innovation support capacity for the northern six municipalities, a historically underserved area of York Region, operating out of hubs at the Treefrog Accelerator, YSpace Georgina and YSpace Markham
  • Continued focus on foreign direct investment and soft-landing for technology businesses and entrepreneurs

Participants will have access to workshops and mentorship opportunities as well as the potential for specialized training through the Schulich Venture Academy, in addition to insights from Schulich-prepared market readiness reports that will help ease the transition into the region. Women in particular can tap into networking and collaboration opportunities.

YSpace is a pan-York University innovation hub that supports startups and entrepreneurs with some 784 technology, food and beverage, women-led and Black-led ventures supported. YSpace businesses have generated $205 million in revenue, created 1,302 jobs and 1,092 work integrated opportunities since 2018.

Accelerate Newmarket is a consortium of the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, Schulich School of Business, YSpace and Treefrog Inc. Through this partnership from 2021 to 2023, the Treefrog Accelerator, through Accelerate Newmarket has supported 370 ventures which have collectively raised more than $30 million.

Article originally posted on YFile (Feb-15-2024).