community innovation hub
YSpace is York University’s community innovation hub located at the heart of Downtown Markham. We help build great companies by connecting them with high-end equipment, access to capital and a network of influencers and entrepreneurs. We are creating a vibrant physical hub that encourages creativity and bridges the gap between large enterprises and startups within the York Region ecosystem.
YSpace is managed by Innovation York. Innovation York (www.innovationyork.ca) is the innovation office for the University with a mandate to facilitate and maximize the commercial, economic, and social impacts of research and innovation, and to create a culture of engaged scholarship and experiential learning. The office provides a myriad of services to faculty members, trainees, students, industry and the community and manages York University’s entrepreneurship program LaunchYU and oversees other incubator spaces: IBM Innovation Space – MCC, ELLA Women Accelerator and LaunchYU.
Assistant Vice President, Innovation & Research Partnerships
Sarah is a business development professional with extensive experience fostering innovation and developing strategic business operations. Over the past six years, Sarah has successfully created an innovation office at York University that provides a myriad of services across the university and has grown the team to 17.
She has created and grown a pan-university educational entrepreneurship program, developed and manages two start-up accelerators; and developed and manages an 8000 square foot innovation centre, YSpace, as a strategic step in the development of a new campus. In addition, Sarah is co-lead for the strategic development of innovation and entrepreneurship across the campus.
Associate Director, Entrepreneurship
David joined York University in 2017 as the Entrepreneurship Manager for YSpace Markham and he now oversees three different programs (LaunchYU, YSpace, and ELLA) at Innovation York. Prior to joining York University, David held various roles at The DMZ at Ryerson University, ranging from business development to creating programs for incubated startups.
In addition to this, David has co-founded ZerotoStartup, an educational venture focused on creating curriculum for maker spaces upon graduation. He is also involved with several non-for-profit organizations including SAGE Canada, a youth entrepreneurial program as the National Coordinator and Pledges for Change, a community-based youth empowerment program as an Advisory Board member.
YSpace Entrepreneurship Manager
Nafis joined York University in 2020 after spending 5 years with the Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson University - the world's first incubator dedicated to legal tech. Nafis is a driven leader with a strong background in developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, fueling startup growth, and building communities and has supported startups in various stages of their development across the GTA tech community.
Food Accelerator Program Advisor
Judy Chang has over 20 years of experience in the food industry, with leading multiple businesses with Kraft & Mondelez, and working at the Nielsen Company as a VP in Analytics. She is an intrapreneur, with experience growing two divisions through double digit growth in revenue and fast-growing team to support.
Serena joins YSpace after spending several years with the Markham Small Business Centre serving as a Small Business Assistant. She has extensive experience of coordinating programs and supporting entrepreneurs.