New Lo Family Social Venture Fund will transform promising ideas and startups into social ventures with broad and timely impact

Mar 13, 2020

The Lo family’s generous gift of $500,000 will help U of T’s budding entrepreneurs launch thriving social ventures with the potential to improve communities in Asia and beyond.

Three young women intently study post-it-notes on a wall, while other people chat behind them.

The University of Toronto is a leader in supporting research and initiatives with broad social impact, as well as an emerging global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s little surprise then that U of T students and recent grads are increasingly seeking to launch successful entrepreneurial ventures that address a wide array of complex social issues, from community development and environmental sustainability to job creation and economic growth. Most recently, many of these students and grads are also channeling their entrepreneurial spirits to inspiringly address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, thanks to the visionary generosity of the Lo Family, the new Lo Family Social Venture Fund will provide timely support to catalyze the work of outstanding U of T students and recent grads seeking to translate promising ideas into sustainable social ventures with global impact.

“Over the last few years, we have seen significant growth in student-driven social enterprises at U of T, supported by our campus-based incubators and accelerators” said U of T President Meric Gertler. “The Lo Family Social Venture Fund will provide our students and recent graduates with a critical opportunity to expand these initiatives into the communities that need them the most.”

How to apply for support from the Lo Family Social Venture Fund

Officially launched as part of U of T Entrepreneurship Week, the Lo Family Social Venture Fund is open to students or recent alumni who are working with one of the many incubators/accelerators at U of T, regardless of their area of study. Applications open on May 12, 2020, and a committee of U of T’s social entrepreneurship and innovation faculty members, researchers and directors will review and assess submissions.

The Lo Family Social Venture Fund will be awarded based on entrepreneurial merit, social impact, global relevance, and potential to improve communities in Asia. The committee will also take into account feasibility, including market research, development stage, resources required to launch, and relevant training and experience of applications. Awards are up to $15,000 for undergraduates and up to $30,000 for graduates.

The Lo family are generously ensuring that U of T’s brightest can make a positive global impact on important social issues

“We’d like to thank Kenneth and Yvonne Lo and the Lo family for giving generously to establish this unique and important award,” said Derek Newton, Assistant VP, Innovation, Partnerships & Entrepreneurship. “The Lo Family Social Venture Fund will help fill a major gap between seed-stage and execution, ensuring that U of T’s brightest students and entrepreneurs can make a positive global impact.”

Kenneth Lo is a prominent philanthropist and volunteer at U of T and beyond. He serves as a Governor on the University of Toronto (Hong Kong) Foundation Board, and in 2018 he received the Arbor Award in recognition of his service to U of T.

“The Lo family’s generous gift not only addresses a critical gap in the innovation pipeline, but it provides support for truly transformative start-ups, companies and initiatives that will directly improve lives,” added David Palmer, Vice-President Advancement. “The Lo Family Social Venture Fund is a testament to how philanthropy can help transform powerful ideas into ground-breaking solutions. We are excited to see how this award will spur U of T’s talented entrepreneurial community to tackle some of today’s most important social issues.”