Sheldon and Tracy Levy Aspiring Innovators Fellows Program


Program Overview

At the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E), we believe that shaping the next generation of change makers, innovators and entrepreneurs is key to Canada’s economic success. Sheldon Levy, our honorary chair and former Ryerson University President, witnessed the explosion of innovative and entrepreneurial talent among students during his time here at Ryerson. When the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) began as the brainchild of Sheldon Levy and Brookfield Partners Foundation’s Jack Cockwell, we committed to helping youth succeed.

In honour of Sheldon and Tracy Levy’s contributions to the expansions and development of Ryerson University over the last decade, we are excited to financially support an award in collaboration with the Zone Learning Network that:

  • Provides opportunities for students from modest financial backgrounds who might otherwise be prevented from pursuing entrepreneurship
  • Enables students to lever Ryerson’s Zone Learning Network and become exposed to entrepreneurial concepts through programs such as Basecamp
  • Invests in students with the potential to become future innovators

The Sheldon and Tracy Levy Aspiring Innovators Fellows Program will be administered by the Office of Zone Learning at Ryerson University, with funds provided by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. The program currently has funding to support five fellows a year for 10 years.

Who Can Apply

The Levy Fellows Program is open to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Registered as a full-time undergraduate student at Ryerson University and have clear academic standing.
  • Returning to their academic studies in the Fall.

Each year, the Levy Fellows Program will fund five Fellows $5,000 each and provide them with access to the Basecamp program, an opportunity for lunch with Sheldon and Tracy Levy as well as VIP engagements and alumni activities through the Zone Learning Network. The program will run annually from May to April and currently has funding for 10 years (2017 to 2027).

How to Apply

In order to be considered for the Fellowship, students will need to be nominated by faculty, staff or Zone leaders.
Nominations are open from March 1, 2017, to March 24, 2017. The nomination form will ask the following questions:

  • Nominee’s Name
  • Nominee’s Faculty
  • Nominee’s Year of Study
  • Nominee’s Contact Info
  • Rationale for Nomination:
    • How would the nominee benefit from being a Levy Fellow?
    • What has the nominee done that demonstrates their potential?
  • Nominator’s Name
  • Nominator’s Relationship to Nominee
  • Nominator’s Contact Info

Next Steps

Following the nomination submissions, a review panel comprised of parties from zone learning, Sandbox and the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship will assess nominees based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated need of applicant
  • Demonstrated potential of applicant
  • Likelihood of applicant to benefit from the program
  • Diversity of perspective of applicant

10-15 nominees will be selected for interviews, and chosen candidates will be selected to present at a pitch competition and given at least 10 days to prepare.

Selected candidates invited to pitch their ideas at a competition held at the Sandbox by DMZ. Each candidate will get five minutes to pitch the idea they want to work on throughout the Levy Fellows Program, and a panel of judges will select winners based on the following criteria:

  • Viability, desirability and scalability of the idea
  • Applicant’s demonstrated ability to execute idea

For more information or any questions, please contact Heather Mercer, Operations and Student Engagement, Zone Learning, at