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Is MaRS really almost as bright as the Sun?

If you believe what you read, Ontario’s MaRS Discovery District is having a very positive impact on a huge swath of the Province’s innovation economy. In fact, MaRS is almost as bright as the Sun. Just a few days ago, MaRS put out some new statistics regarding the success of its programs. A few facts and figures jumped out, and I wanted to share them:

• Independent impact studies conducted by KPMG show that MaRS has delivered more than $3 billion in economic impact since its launch.

• We have provided entrepreneurship education to more than 50,000 Ontarians.

• More than 2 million people have used our online entrepreneurship resources.

• Young companies receiving advice and support from MaRS raised more than $1 billion in financing in the last 3 years, and generated more than $500 million in revenue.

• More than 2,000 events a year bring together 100,000+ attendees to accelerate innovation and strengthen our ecosystem.

Let’s parse these figures.

50,000 Ontarians receiving “entrepreneurship education” since 2001. That works out to ~3,850 people a year, spread across 250 business days. 15.4 people trained each day, assuming the education MaRS is referring to worked out to be a single day per candidate. Plausible, even if The University of Waterloo can only teach entrepreneurship to a few hundred students per semester.

MaRS has supported “young” firms which have in turn received $1 billion in new financing over the past three years. This is a stunning figure, as Canadian firms of all shapes and sizes have raised just $5 billion in venture capital during that timeframe according to CVCA data; of which about 40% at the most would have gone to firms based in Ontario. I don’t have any sense of the private Angel market during that same period, but I’d guess that it isn’t a very large dollar value (although one of our readers can fill us in on that).

As such, MaRS says they’ve supported half of the ~516 Ontario companies that have successfully raised capital during the 2011-2013 timeframe. Remarkable, if true.

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