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Social Innovation

Social innovation has always been integral to the MaRS mission, which seeks to drive economic and social prosperity by harnessing the full potential of Canadian innovation.

The social innovation team works to provide a social impact lens to MaRS venture clients in each of our four key sectors. This approach reflects the fact that social innovation is an overarching area of focus at MaRS, especially given the growing number of MaRS ventures across all sectors that identify a social purpose.

If you are seeking advisors within one of our four sectors (including education ventures, which lie within the ICT sector) and feel that an additional consultation with a member of our social innovation team would help advance your social mission, we encourage you to discuss this with your intake advisor.

Social innovation programs at MaRS

  • Advice: We advise MaRS ventures in each of MaRS’ key sectors (Health, Energy & Environment, Work & Learning and Finance & Commerce) through both an economic and social impact lens. For details on becoming a MaRS venture client, see our Discovery Document.
  • Social finance support: We provide support for social finance initiatives through the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.
  • Ecosystem development: We help create an enabling environment for social ventures to succeed, including extensive work with governments at all levels.
  • Support for social entrepreneurs: We are part of the Social Innovation Generation (SiG) national collaborative, which advances new approaches to addressing persistent social challenges on a national level. We operate the SiG@MaRS node, which focuses on support for social entrepreneurs.

We help social ventures connect with capital

MaRS can also connect ventures that have a demonstrable social and/or environmental impact to possible financing through SVX, a platform that connects registered impact ventures with accredited investors. Note that in order to qualify, ventures must satisfy a full list of requirements. For example, they must have been incorporated in Ontario for at least two years and have annual revenues greater than $50,000 but less that $25 million. For full details and a complete list of requirements, please see

In addition to working with high-potential social ventures and working to mobilize private capital for public good through the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, the social innovation team at MaRS is also responsible for supporting the systems transformation efforts of MaRS Solutions Lab, MaRS Data Catalyst and Studio Y.

Learn more

For more information, watch our overview below:

Social Innovation at MaRS from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.