At the heart of a next-generation university, Concordia’s District 3 is a leading multidisciplinary innovation hub in Montreal open to all. District 3 brings together key players from corporations, government, research, and academia to ensure every innovator and entrepreneur has access to the resources they need to move from idea to impact with confidence. Since its inception in 2014, District 3 has coached over 480 startups, hosted over 300 events and workshops, as well as built a community of over 8,100 members. In 2016-2017, the innovation hub was awarded Startup Canada’s Entrepreneur Promotion and Support Awards. Their international reach spans partnerships in Paris, Shanghai, Boston, and San Francisco.
District 3’s Manifesto
We are experiencing the beginnings of the 4th industrial revolution. Emerging technologies are radically changing our society and the way we live, work, and relate to one another at an unprecedented rate. In its scale and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. As a result, we need to develop new ways of adapting to these significant changes.
At District 3, we hold a fundamental conviction in embracing emerging technologies. We are rational optimists with a vision of creating a multidisciplinary innovation hub – bringing together entrepreneurs and key players from industry, government, research, and academia – to build a prosperous future. As part of Concordia University, we equip innovators and the Montreal community with the skills and mindset to succeed in an incredibly complex environment.
Innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration: these values are ingrained in District 3’s DNA. Since our founding in 2013, we’ve supported, inspired and challenged many entrepreneurs and innovators to move from idea to impact with confidence.
Helping Entrepreneurs Build their Startup
While based at Concordia University, District 3 is open to all entrepreneurs in Montreal and beyond. District 3 supports entrepreneurs from all stages to bring their business idea to market by validating their business model and developing their prototype. Once they have launched their product, entrepreneurs receive support to build a scalable, repeatable and sustainable business by helping them attain product-market fit, as well as acquire and retain customers.
District 3 has supported over 520 startups at the forefront of all sectors and technologies, including areas in artificial intelligence, life sciences, fintech, robotics, and blockchain, among others. District 3 startups receive expert mentorship, best-in-class coaching and access to cutting-edge workspace and technology – including a fully-equipped design and prototype facility and soon a fully equipped bio lab. Perhaps even more important, D3 teams are immersed in a supportive community of fellow innovators. As a university-hosted innovation centre, we also help scientists bridge the gap between research and business by assisting them in the commercialization of their projects.
Though entrepreneurs face daunting challenges, they are buoyed by a common drive to make a difference. Entrepreneurs get everything they need, all in one place in services and resources in a given one year period, including coaching, access to knowledge, community, and workspace. District 3 does not charge any fees, take intellectual property or equity in the startups supported.
District 3 has ‘districts’, knowledge networks in artificial intelligence; life sciences and synthetics biology; smart cities; and financial technology to accelerate innovation in these areas.
Providing Next-Generation Experiential Learning
As Concordia University makes the promise to deliver a next-generation education that is connected, transformative and fit for the times, District 3 takes the leap forward to support and deliver this new direction of experiential learning. District 3 partners with organizations and startups which mandate teams of students and researchers by turning ideas into practical solutions, and help break down the barriers of academic disciplines.
Graduate Certificate in Innovation, Technology and Society
District 3 offers the Graduate Certificate in Innovation, Technology and Society. An eight-month program, with the first semester, focused on learning innovation best practices and the second semester composed of a practicum at District 3, where students complete an internship with District 3 startups.
At District 3, we are transforming the way industry and universities can learn, work, and collaborate together to accelerate innovation. Our residency program is a 3 months internship, where 43 Concordia University students from all faculties have worked on developing solutions and over 220 prototypes for 30 organizations and startups, all the while collaborating with experts, researchers and entrepreneurs. This 2018 theme was focused on Quality of Life, where students explored emerging technologies and their implications in different case studies (for example: sustainable food, AI and mental health, autism, blockchain, and access to medical clinics).