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Research Guides

Entrepreneurship Research Workshops

This guide outlines the suite of entrepreneurship research workshops provided by the library, including Co-Curricular Record and Graduate Professional Skills workshops.

Research skills for your startup success

Whether you're launching a startup, taking an entrepreneurship course, commercializing research, or just dreaming of being your own boss, hone your research skills with a free workshop, open to U of T students, faculty and staff. 

Sessions are offered at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. Registration is required and CCR participants must present a valid TCard at each session. See descriptions below for more information.

Note: Sessions with four or fewer attendees will be cancelled. If you cannot attend a session, please cancel ahead of time via the registration email or by contacting the instructor prior to the session.

Graduate students interested in the process for commercializing research can sign up for the Graduate Professional Skills workshop.

Introductory sessions

Launchpad: Campus Resources for U of T Startups

Orientation to campus resources for students with startups or interested in startups, including startups and ventures, accelerators, courses and programs, library resources, commercialization, funding opportunities, and Toronto community resources.

You will leave with:

  • knowledge of how the university supports student and faculty startups through space, training, and mentorship
  • an understanding of campus accelerators, pitch competitions, and funding opportunities
  • further library workshops available on the topic of entrepreneurship research
  • a guide of where to go to find more information at U of T and around Toronto

Next session: Thursday, July 5, 2018 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
Location: Electronic Class Room, Fourth Floor, Robarts Library
Instructor: Christina Kim, Entrepreneurship Librarian,

Registration opening soon



Introduction to Business Resources

Students of all disciplines learn the types of documents available related to company, industry and market research. Includes overview of public versus private companies, subscription resources, government sources of information, and evaluating sources found online.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Develop skills to find and evaluate business information resources
  • Comprehend the basics of market research and industry reports
  • Practice finding relevant industry reports and company information

Next session: Thursday, July 5, 2018 - 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Location: Electronic Class Room, Fourth Floor, Robarts Library
Instructor: Holly Inglis, Public Services Librarian, Rotman.
Registration opening soon

Intermediate sessions

Demystify Business Resources with the Business Model Canvas

Working on a business idea? The Business Model Canvas is an alternative to a long, wordy business plan used by startups around the world. It's a great way to summarize all the key elements of your product or service in a single page. It’s also a great tool to make sense of exactly what information you will need for your business planning – and how to find it at the library.               

  • Understand which free and proprietary library databases are the best fit for your canvas
  • Develop search strategies that will save you time and eliminate frustration, and
  • Get market, industry, or competitor information you can use for your startup or small business venture

Next session: TBD.
Location: TBD
Instructor: Helen Kula, Librarian, Institute for Management & Innovation,
If you have any questions, please contact Chris Kim, Entrepreneurship Librarian,


Market Sizing Basics

You already know what databases and other library resources are available for basic business research. But what do you do if you can’t find the numbers you need in a prepackaged market research report? This workshop builds on the foundation learned in Introduction to Business Resources, using available resources and strategies to answer your questions about market sizing, and help you make your own estimates.

You’ll leave with:

  • An understanding of how market researchers produce market sizing figures
  • Some examples to use when strategizing your own market sizing estimation model
  • A list of primary and secondary data sources to work with

Next session: Fall 2018
Location: Instruction Lab, second floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre
Instructor: TBC


Startup Job Search

Overview of information to aid students in finding and preparing for jobs in start-ups, as well as developing strategies to research start-ups using online and subscription resources.

  • Identify jobs and types of work available in start-ups through research in traditional and non-traditional resources;
  • Search for and evaluate company information using websites, social media, subscription resources and other resources;
  • Build connections with people working start-ups based on the outcomes of their research.

Next session: TBD
Location: TBD
Instructors: Holly Inglis, Public Services Librarian, Rotman Business Information Centre.
Theresa Owusu, Coordinator, Student Success Resources, U of T Career Centre.

Advanced sessions

Data Resources for Entrepreneurs

Explore proprietary and open datasets that can inform your market research or power your technology. This interactive session will identify sources of marketing, consumer, demographic and economic data.

Participants will learn to:

  • Identify types of data
  • Navigate major databases/portals available through the library and on the web via hands-on experience
  • Critically evaluate the suitability of data resources to meet their needs

Next session: Summer 2018
Location: TBC
Instructors: Leanne Trimble, Data and Statistics Librarian,


Primary Research Strategies and Tools

Learn how to get out of the building and talk to your (potential) customers in a workshop that will introduce you to primary research methods commonly used by startups. This hands-on workshop will give an overview of pre-launch pages, online surveys, customer interviews & focus groups, and in-person observations or site visits.

You will learn: 

  • Determine when primary (vs secondary) research is needed

  • Select an appropriate research method
  • Integrate competitive intelligence tactics into your strategy
  • Take advantage of free or low-cost tools available to all
  • Conduct primary research ethically and that is respectful of participants’ privacy

Next session: TBD
Location: TBD
Instructor: Helen Kula, Librarian, Institute for Management & Innovation,
If you have any questions, please contact Chris Kim, Entrepreneurship Librarian,


Resources for Patents Research

Find out what makes your technology unique and who else holds patents in your space. This basic DIY patent searching course includes an introduction to open web databases for patent searching, an overview of classification systems, and examples of prior art searches.

You will learn:

  • How to read a patent document quickly and efficiently
  • The advantages and limitations of various online patent resources
  • Strategies to build effective searches using keywords and classifications

Next session: Fall 2018
Location: TBD
Instructor: Michelle Spence, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Engineering and Computer Science Library,