MaRS’ Impact8 social venture accelerator launches second cohort

Program partners with Saint Elizabeth to focus on startups that target health & well-being

TORONTO, April 3, 2014 – Following its successful pilot in the fall of 2013, Impact8 – Ontario’s first accelerator for social ventures – is pleased to announce its second cohort.

The intensive eight-week program, led by MaRS Discovery District’s Centre for Impact Investing, targets high-impact entrepreneurs with blended value propositions: social enterprises, social purpose businesses and co-operatives with the potential to turn investment into positive social impact and financial return. The Spring 2014 cohort focuses on innovations that empower individuals to take control of their health and well-being, enabling them to live and age well at home and in the community.

The cohort will be supported by a unique partnership with Saint Elizabeth, a national health innovator and provider.Saint Elizabeth will provide resources, mentorship and potential partnership opportunities to the ventures as they grow their social purpose businesses for wider social impact.

“We are pleased to partner with Saint Elizabeth and a diverse group of esteemed advisors to support high-potential, high-impact entrepreneurs in the field of health and well-being,” says Adam Spence, Associate Director, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing. “We are confident that this year’s Impact8 cohort will continue to expand on our success to date and help build a more robust pipeline of investment-ready impact ventures in Ontario.”

“With the program’s focus on innovations that empower people with their own health, we are thrilled to work with and learn from these entrepreneurs. Our enduring innovation journey has taught us many things, mainly the power of what we can achieve when we come together in new ways,” says Shirlee Sharkey, President and CEO of Saint Elizabeth.

In addition to the partnership between MaRS’ Centre for Impact Investing and Saint Elizabeth, Impact8’s curriculum leverages the expertise and resources of RBC, TMX, Miller Thomson, KPMG and BDC. These organizations will provide valuable tools, networks and advice in order to fast-track ventures to investment readiness, help them attract financing and scale their impact.

This year’s cohort:

  • Eve Medical Inc. improves health outcomes for women by enabling self-collection of high quality samples to screen for cervical cancer, as well as other STIs.
  • Good Robot Monitoring Inc. uses networked smart home technologies to support seniors who wish to live independently in their homes.
  • Komodo OpenLab Inc. develops inclusive technologies to enable access to mainstream mobile devices for individuals with mobility impairments.
  • The Living Kitchen provides a meal delivery service for cancer patients, nutritionally designed by a collective of holistic nutritionists and personal chefs.
  • My Voice Inc. makes technologies that empower people with speech disabilities to communicate and lead richer, more independent lives.
  • QoC Health leverages emerging technologies to improve the relationship between patients and care providers by enabling patients to more easily participate in their own care.
  • Shift Health Paradigms Ltd. aims to break down communication barriers and comfortably prepare patients for visits while collecting relevant data for physicians, resulting in more efficient and effective face-to-face interaction.
  • Squag Inc. is a safe online platform for kids with autism, ADHD, anxiety and other neurodevelopmental conditions to explore their interests and cultivate strengths through art, photography, video and journaling.

For more information about Impact8, visit:

About MaRS 
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building Canada’s next generation of growth companies. MaRS’ ventures have created over 4,000 jobs and, in the last three years alone, they have raised over $750 million in capital and earned over $375 million in revenue.

About the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
The MaRS Centre for Impact Investing works to increase the awareness and the effectiveness of social finance with the aim of driving new capital, talent, and initiatives dedicated to tackling social and environmental problems.

About Saint Elizabeth
Saint Elizabeth is a national health care provider, pioneer and social innovator with a century of experience and a powerful vision for the future. As an award-winning and diversified not-for-profit, Saint Elizabeth delivers more than six million health care visits annually and employs 7,000 people. Throughout its history, Saint Elizabeth has been firmly fixed on impacting people, their health, their communities, and the health system.


For more information, contact:
Melissa Hughes
Manager, Media & Community Relations
MaRS Discovery District