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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

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. The CCR workshops are offered at introductory, intermediate, and advanced 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 (carey.toane@utoronto.ca) 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: TBD
Location:
Instructor: Carey Toane, Entrepreneurship Librarian, Gerstein Science Information Centre (carey.toane@utoronto.ca)

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Introduction to Business Resources

Students of all disciplines learn the types of documents available related to company, industry and market research. Includes an 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

When: TBD
Location:
Instructors: Holly Inglis, Public Services Librarian, Milt Harris Library, Rotman School of Business (holly.inglis@rotman.utoronto.ca)

 

 

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. 

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: TBD
Location:
Instructor: Carey Toane, Entrepreneurship Librarian, carey.toane@utoronto.ca

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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

When: TBD
Location:
Instructor: Carey Toane, Entrepreneurship Librarian, carey.toane@utoronto.ca

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Market Research for Startups - Discovering your Market Problem

Not all market research is created equal: what works for a large corporation isn't appropriate or feasible for a startup company. This workshop focuses on understanding your market and talking to your potential customers: by identifying their problems, you can turn them into opportunities. Adapting lean methodology and using free tools available online, the goal is to get the answers you're looking for as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Participants will:

  • learn about the customer discovery cycle methodology developed by Steve Blank
  • discover practical strategies and tools to research your market with no product and no budget
  • understand the different groups that make up your market and how to talk to them
  • craft an effective interview script and avoid common mistakes when talking to customers
  • understand the pros and cons of primary and secondary research methods to help decide next steps to take

When: TBD
Location:
Instructor: Carey Toane, Entrepreneurship Librarian, carey.toane@utoronto.ca

 

Advanced sessions

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: TBD
Location:
Instructor: Joe Lee, MBET, CMRP

 

Joe Lee is a seasoned professional with 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, carey.toane@utoronto.ca

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Data Resources for Entrepreneurs

The ability to ask and answer real-world questions from large and small data sets, and to communicate that information to others, is becoming a requirement for innovation and entrepreneurship. This interactive session will introduce you to the data literacy skills you will need to find, select, evaluate, and communicate stories from data that will help you with your business pitch and business plan.

Participants will learn to:

· find, identify, and select types of marketing, consumer, demographic and economic data

· navigate major databases and data catalogues, via hands-on experience

· critically evaluate the suitability of data resources to meet their needs

Next session: TBD
Location:
Instructor: Deena Yanofsky, Data Librarian, U of T Scarborough Library deena.yanofsky@utoronto.ca

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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

Next session: TBD
Location:
Instructor: Michelle Spence, Engineering and Computer Science Librarian, Engineering and Computer Science Library, michelle.spence@utoronto.ca