The MaRS Discovery District is an entrepreneurship innovation center of development.
Located in the center of Toronto, MaRS’s headquarters is built into the historic façade of the Toronto General Hospital, with a brand-new headquarters under construction.
The current building contains 700,000 square feet of labs, offices, conference rooms and event facilities, and it serves as the company’s central location for creating alliances and partnerships among emerging businesses and organizations in Canada — and across the globe.
Innovation and alliances are important to MaRS, a cluster devoted to building companies and providing an innovation center for them.
It offers a wealth of services and aid to member companies through its sectors of advice, research, education, and capital.
MaRS pairs businesses and entrepreneurs with its own advisors, who work with the organizations in the following areas:
- Planning their business
- Sales and marketing
- Strategy planning for financing and funding
- Human resources
- Accounting, tax
- Finances, accounting and tax
- Legal and intellectual property
- Managing customer relationships
- Creating and maintaining strategic partnerships
The advisory services are specifically designed for members of the cleantech industry, information technology, or entertainment and communications industries, life science and healthcare industries, advanced material and engineering industries, and the social innovation industry.
They provide advice and other aid to startup companies and ventures from Ontario, Canada.
MaRS works with a variety of research firms that can provide their members with information they need.
Research is aimed at aiding emerging companies in increasing their knowledge of market intelligence, and comes from trained specialists in IT, software, telecom, pharmaceuticals and health care, biotech, and cleantech. Their website allows access to reports from each of the specializations to keep members up to date on emerging trends in their respective markets.
Learning and education programs are available online or in person at the MaRS headquarters.
The programs include education series, special MaRS events, and even online forums. They are dedicated to expanding knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurship skills.
Some of the programs include Entrepreneurship 101, which provides information for new entrepreneurs looking to begin their own company; MaRS Future of Medicine™ Series, which brings together researchers and clinicians for presentations and discussions; and MaRS Global Leadership, a program aimed at discussing leadership in relation to the investment community and market trends, including presentations from world leaders.
MaRS recognizes the necessity of capital for early-stage companies.
Advisors will work with members to determine the capital required for their venture and aid them in obtaining that capital by preparing presentations and finding suitable investors.
MaRS also has several capital programs of its own. The organization provides project funding of up to $20,000 to select companies that show strong potential in essential projects. It also has an Investment Accelerator Fund that provides capital of up to $500,000 to companies that show strong potential in early development stages.
MaRS recently announced the Investment Accelerator Fund would be providing $6 million to eight startup companies.
As part of MaRS’s Phase 2 program, a new facility is under construction, expected for completion in September 2013.
The facility will be twice the size of the original MaRS Heritage Building. The 20-story building will incorporate a sleek glass design and will house research labs, offices, and conference rooms. It will be connected to the Heritage Building, the Queen’s Park Subway station, and Toronto General Hospital by way of an atrium.
It will maintain the same, central location in Toronto’s Discovery District, but it will offer new opportunities for members and extended facilities for research and events to allow the MaRS family to grow.
The following MaRS members have been nominated for the Global Cleantech Cluster Association’s Later Stage Award, in the following categories:
- Advanced Materials: NIMTech
- Energy Efficiency: Hydrostor, Temporal Power
- Renewable Energy, Other: Hydrogenics
- Solar: Morgan Solar, Sustainable Energy Technologies
Temporal Power was also one of the four companies to receive $500,000 from the Investment Accelerator Fund.
Becoming World’s Largest Urban Innovation Hub originally appeared in Green Chip Stocks. Green Chip Review is a free 2x-per-week newsletter, is the first advisory to focus exclusively on investments in alternative and renewable energies.