Canada’s Top 100 Universities and Colleges for Entrepreneurs

Canada's Top Universities and Colleges for Entrepreneurs

Canada needs more full-time entrepreneurs than ever given the current deteriorating economic conditions. Latest reports show Canada has significantly fewer entrepreneurs than a decade ago. Shouldn’t be easier to start businesses today? Cost of living, lack of funding, high-quality programs, and talent retention are the biggest challenges Canadian entrepreneurs have to overcome. When it comes to entrepreneurship education, Canadian universities and colleges have a big role to play, but which universities and colleges are creating the next generation of entrepreneurs in Canada? This is the ultimate question to ask.

We need to provide more support for Canadian entrepreneurs to create new job opportunities and foster economic growth. For Canada to nurture global companies, it requires funding along with access to world-class talent that remains in the country to establish these ventures. Educational institutions in Canada must cultivate ecosystems where more students and alumni can bring forth new ideas.

This becomes more and more important with the development of AI as current jobs won’t exists tomorrow. Curriculum and program development needs to focus on more “job creators”. Additionally, programs in startups and entrepreneurship needs to be taught by actual entrepreneurs. These includes advisory and mentors who have been there as a full-time entrepreneur before. Entrepreneurship is about executing and those who have been there, can inspire the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs.

This report examined factors such as entrepreneurship programs, class sizes, support for startups, funding opportunities and access to venture capital, support for alumni entrepreneurs, and networking opportunities.

Looking to bring more entrepreneurship to your campus? For partnership opportunities check out here.

Ranking University and Colleges
1 University of Waterloo
2 Wilfrid Laurier University
3 University of Toronto
4 York University
5 Toronto Metropolitan University
6 Queen’s University
7 University of Alberta
8 University of British Columbia
9 Western University
10 Sheridan College
11 University of Ottawa
12 McGill University
13 McMaster University
14 University of Calgary
15 Simon Fraser University
16 George Brown College
17 Dalhousie University
18 Vancouver Island University
19 Brock University
20 Carleton University
21 Laurentian University
22 University of Saskatchewan
23 Saint Mary's University
24 Memorial University of Newfoundland
25 Ontario Tech University
26 Concordia University
27 University of Windsor
28 Laval University
29 University of Manitoba
30 Lakehead University
31 University of New Brunswick
32 Trent University
33 Université de Montréal
34 University of Victoria
35 OCAD University
36 Humber College
37 Medicine Hat College
38 Acadia University
39 Mount Royal College
40 Cape Breton University
41 Canadore College
42 Université de Sherbrooke
43 Seneca College
44 University of Guelph
45 Bishop's University
46 Durham College
47 Fanshawe College
48 Georgian College
49 Mohawk College
50 Northern College
51 Centennial College
52 Douglas College
53 Bow Valley College
54 Olds College
55 Brandon University
56 University of Winnipeg
57 University of Northern British Columbia
58 NSCAD University
59 HEC Montréal
60 University of Regina
61 MacEwan University
62 Polytechnique Montréal
63 St. Francis Xavier University
64 University of Lethbridge
65 British Columbia Institute of Technology
66 University of the Fraser Valley
67 Royal Roads University
68 University of Prince Edward Island
69 Okanagan College
70 Conestoga College
71 Algonquin College
72 Langara College
73 Thompson Rivers University
74 Yukon University
75 Canadian Mennonite University
76 Nipissing University
77 Crandall University
78 Kwantlen Polytechnic University
79 Trinity Western University
80 Université Sainte-Anne
81 Capilano University
82 Camosun College
83 College of the Rockies
84 Northern Lights College
85 Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
86 St. Lawrence College
87 Niagara College
88 Selkirk College
89 Portage College
90 Fleming College
91 Lambton College
92 Algoma University
93 Burman University
94 College of New Caledonia
95 Coast Mountain College
96 Lakeland College
97 New Brunswick Community College
98 Athabasca University
99 Sault College
100 Assiniboine Community College

1. University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is this year’s top spot. Velocity incubator has demonstrated great consistently in hosting competitions and funding opportunities for students entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground. One area to examine further, would be finding creative ways to bring exposure for these local startups to further scale outside the Waterloo startup ecosystem.

2. Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfred Laurier University is at the perfect spot in the Waterloo region to help students create the next big thing. Small classes sizes and programs such as Startup Laurier are a great place for students to explore entrepreneurship. Providing more grant funding opportunities for student-led startups that are going full-time will be the key to further ignite innovation.

3. University of Toronto

There’s no doubt that the University of Toronto continues to lead the way for innovation in Canada. The University of Toronto has the highest number of campus-linked startup accelerators and incubators in Canada. The entrepreneurship week at UofT is one of the best programs, featuring expos, speaker panels, and competitions. One area that could greatly fuel more startups is providing more support for UofT alumni who wish to start new ventures. Currently, many of the programs and startup competitions only support current students and recent alumni up to two years after graduation, leaving out numerous alumni ventures with the potential to scale.

4. York University

York University has been creating more programs for students to explore startups. These program have expanded into cities such as Markham to bring more support for startups. Meetups and events organized by Schulich Startups greatly help to fuel entrepreneurship on campus.

5. Toronto Metropolitan University

Toronto Metropolitan University started one of the earliest campus linked startup incubators in Canada. While some of the programs have matured, there needs to be more ways to support startups after program completion.

6. Queen’s University

Queen’s University has some great programs for students to not only learn about startups, but also build one. Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition (QEC) is one of the best startup competitions for students on a global scale. While the programs scope are extensive to create more entrepreneurs, there should be better ways to connect these startups from Kingston to Toronto and beyond.

7. University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is at the forefront of innovation in the province. With prestigious programs like the Health Innovation Hub @UAlberta and other incubators, Alberta offers a favorable environment to launch a startup, with more affordable standards of living. While the entrepreneurial ecosystem is growing, this province needs to be more in the spotlight to attract entrepreneurs and talent.

8. University of British Columbia

With close proximity to Silicon Valley, UBC can help bring these new innovative ideas forward. For the complete list of startup accelerators and incubators in BC check out here.

9. Western University 

Western University is Canada’s Top MBA school and has a huge potential to connect incredibly talented students with startups. Programs need to be designed to help startups with co-founder formation, validation, and more. This is mostly under utilized.

10. Sheridan College

Sheridan College’s EDGE at Square One in Mississauga is doubling down on innovation. Along side with Idea incubator at Mississauga Innovation District, this is one of the top colleges in Canada to help students start new ventures. Grant funding at the grassroots level will be crucial for sparking innovation in the Greater Toronto Area. While Social enterprise programs are a good start at college education level, more focus needs to be on sustainable businesses that can scale to create those job opportunities.

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1024 683 Eric Rafat

Eric Rafat

Eric Rafat is a passionate founder with expertise in startups, building high-performing teams, and growth marketing. He is a top ranked tennis player and always up for a conversation about startups and tech. Eric also writes on EricRafat.com

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