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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. Workshops are open to all students, faculty and staff at the university.

Research skills for your startup success

Please note that library entrepreneurship workshops on St George campus are on hold through to the end of February 2020.

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 free workshops, open to all U of T students, faculty and staff. 

The workshops on this page are part of an Entrepreneurship Research Co-Curricular Record as recognized by the University of Toronto. These workshops are organized into introductory and in-depth levels. Registration is required and those students who wish to participate in the CCR program must present a valid TCard at each session. See descriptions below for more information.

All other Entrepreneurship Workshops are detailed in the navigation sidebar on the left side.

Note: Workshops with four or fewer attendees will be canceled.  All workshop are free and registration is required. However, if you cannot attend a workshop, and fail to withdraw 48+ hours in advance, thereby preventing others on the waitlist from filling in your spot, your library account will be charged $10 per missed workshop.

If you have a question about a workshop, please contact Entrepreneurship Librarian Carey Toane ( or the instructor listed in the workshop description.

Introductory sessions

Launchpad: Campus Resources for U of T Startups

Orientation to campus resources for students with startups or interested in startups, including 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
  • additional library workshops available to further support and boost your entrepreneurship journey
  • a guide of where to go to find more information at U of T, around Toronto, and the broader startup ecosystem

When: March 9, 2020, 12-1 p.m.,
Location: RBC Innovation Hub, ONRamp, 100 College St, Main floor
Instructor: Carey Toane, Entrepreneurship Librarian,

Registration coming soon


Company and competitor research

For students of all disciplines interested in learning more about researching companies and finding competitor information. Includes an overview of subscription databases and publicly available resources for company research.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Evaluate different types of company information and understand the differences between public and private companies
  • Find both direct and indirect competitor information
  • Practice finding company documents and reports

When: March 2020
Location: Instruction lab, second floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre, St. George Campus
Instructor: Sean Forbes, Milt Harris Library, Rotman School of Management (



Industry research for startups

Whether you are on the edge of a new industry to looking to enter an established sector, you need to quantify and understand the industry players, segments, and size. This workshop introduces you to existing sources of industry information such as market research reports and trade journals, as well as provides strategies to help you do your own analysis and estimations. 

In this session you will: 

  • Become familiar proprietary and open sources of industry information
  • Learn to read a market research report in five minutes
  • Explore models for DIY industry analysis
  • Take away tools and frameworks for synthesizing and analyzing your industry

When: March 2020
Location: Instruction lab, second floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre, St. George Campus
Instructor: Carey Toane, Entrepreneurship Librarian, Gerstein Science Information Centre (

In-depth sessions

Researching your 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. 

This workshop is for startups who have started a canvas and are looking to test assumptions against market research and other resources. Participants will be expected to have a canvas prepared before attending the session. Those who do not will not receive CCR credit.   

In this session, you will:            

  • 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

When: Winter 2020
Location: TBD
Instructor: Carey Toane, Entrepreneurship Librarian, Gerstein Science Information Centre (



Primary Research Strategies and Tools for Startups

How do you know if you have a winning product/service concept? This workshop will introduce you to market research methods, techniques, and tools that are relevant in a startup environment and help you to gather relevant information that could impact your innovation. This hands-on workshop will focus on primary research as the key to uncovering customer insights and unmet needs.

You will: 

  • Learn fundamentals of market research

  • Identify the relationship between your research and your idea
  • Develop appropriate research strategies for your startup
  • Take advantage of free or low-cost tools available to all
  • Understand common market research methods such as customer interviews and surveys
  • Avoid common pitfalls during the market research process
  • Take advantage of free or low-cost tools available to all
  • Conduct primary research ethically and be respectful of participants’ privacy

Next session: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 12-2 p.m.
Location: Instruction Lab, 2nd floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre, 9 King's College Circle
Instructor: Joe Lee, MBET, CMRP

Joe Lee has over 10 years of experience in market research and a proven ability to drive results through product and program development. He has experience across multiple industries such as education, healthcare, IT, and non-profit. He holds a Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology degree from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto. 

If you have any questions, please contact Entrepreneurship Librarian Carey Toane,

Register now



Resources for Patents Research

Find out what makes your technology unique and who else holds patents in your space. This basic DIY patent searching workshop 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

When: November 12, 2019, 12-2 p.m.
Where: Instruction Lab, 2nd floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre, 9 King's College Circle
Instructor: Michelle Spence, Engineering and Computer Science Librarian, Engineering and Computer Science Library,

Register now