ZERO TO START UP | Winter 2018

An intensive technology start up program for
young makers, entrepreneurs & innovators.

Winter 2018 Theme:

 Future Cities


 STEAMLabs (192 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON)


13 weeks:  February 3rd, 2018 – May 5th, 2018

Note: Skips Skips February 17th (Family Day Weekend)


 Saturdays, 1 PM – 4:30 PM


 12 – 17 years old

Program cost:

$700 / 13 week program

ZerotoStartup is an intensive 13 week program where youth discover their personal strengths, develop entrepreneurial skills, work with real world tools and technologies, and practice working in fast-paced creative teams.


In teams, participants will ideate, design and prototype a product that attempts to solve real problems using the latest technologies. Teams will then present their product at an end of program showcase in the style of a pitch to potential investors.


Participants will be exposed to business tools and processes used prolifically in startup communities – design thinking, persona marketing and business model canvasing – to build a physical technology product with a real user in mind. This product will be prototyped at Toronto’s newest downtown makerspace using 3D printing, laser cutting, electronics, and where applicable, Internet of Things technology.


Teams are allocated based on personal strength surveys in order to distribute skills and personality types. There are no prerequisites for their level of technology or business know-how.


Thanks to the generous support from Rogers we are able to provide Scholarship Positions to participants who face financial barriers to accessing this program. Please indicate whether your enrolment is dependent on receiving a scholarship in the application form below.


Scroll down for a detailed look at the weekly curriculum.


Email us at

Ready to apply?

apply now


Applications have been extended to Tuesday January 30th, 2018 at 5pm.
If spaces are still open, we will allow rolling applications up until the first class on February 3rd.
 Apply early to secure a spot!

The scholarship deadline has now passed and all scholarship recipients have been notified. Thank you for your interest!

Interested in being a mentor?

We’re looking for mentors to support our youth teams through this program – and are particularly interested in people with tech, code, business, marketing, entrepreneurship or design experience. If you’re interested, please fill out a form to apply for our volunteer exchange program here.

Gain experience using design thinking & lean start up methodologies

Build hardware + digital products using the latest technologies

Build your portfolio for university or job applications

Detailed Curriculum

Week 1
Hook Week

  • Introduction to the technology to begin to demystify
  • Introduction to the concept of flow and energy
  • Experience collaboration versus competition

 Week 2
Against the Grain

Introduction to Arduino, learning styles, and design thinking

  • Learn how to program an Arduino with sensors
  • Execute tasks through different learning styles to understand what comes naturally versus not
  • Design thinking (understand a problem, observe, create a point of view)

 Week 3
Rapid Prototyping

Learn how to build UI/UX with user and needs based improvement 

  • Introduction to UI/UX 
  • Web design, intro to HTML/CSS 
  • Design thinking (problem empathy, rapid prototyping, fail fast) 
  • Develop your personal brand

 Week 4
Guerrilla Garden Gnome

Dive deeper into coding, product realization, stimulating inter- team collaboration, completing full rapid project, lead into project phase

  • Coding, decision logic
  • Business canvas map
  • Robotics
  • Industrial design

 Week 5
Pitch Week

Youth pitch with some Q&A to form teams

  • Communication
  • Refining your idea
  • Knowing what you need to make a team well rounded

 Week 6
Project Plan

Develop a project plan with roles and owners

  • Project planning
  • Word press
  • High performing teams
  • Defining constraints
  • Problem definition, how to build empathy and synthesize a point of view

 Week 7-11

To prototype, test and iterate product development. Build a marketing method (website). Culmination of all skills learned to develop an idea, take it to market and work effectively in teams.

  • Iterative prototyping
  • Deepened technical skills on as need basis
  • Deepened business skills as needed

 Week 12
Presentation Prep

  • Presentations skills
  • Story telling
  • Visual design

 Week 13
Start Up Showcase

Showcase learning journey and celebrate. Present to judges and winners receive awards of various categories. Community learns what the kids have learned and who they have become

  • Present your final product
  • Reflection on the journey
  • Career options

Read more about detailed outcomes from the program in our Zero to Startup blog post.

Example Project | HYDROHOME

Click to view pitch deck presentation for HydroHome


this team went on to present their project on the Discovery Channel