UpstART is a comprehensive 6-month program that equips youth in Toronto and the GTA aged 18-29 with the entrepreneurial tools required to establish and accelerate a thriving creative business. With training opportunities and 1-on-1 mentorship facilitated by professionals in the field, UpstART is built on a foundation of value-driven artistic production, progressive entrepreneurial thinking and a critical understanding of how to apply skills and knowledge in the creative and cultural sector both locally and abroad.

Creative Thinking // Marketing // Brand Development // Fundraising // Pitching // Media Training // Event Management // Budgeting 


Program Overview

(6) Creative Entrepreneurship-based workshops: Professional development topics include creative thinking, brand development, running a small business, media preparedness, event management and more  Mentorship XCHANGE:  All program participants are matched for 1-on-1 coaching with a member of our UpstART mentorship network typically working in the desired field of aspiring mentee (3) 1-hour sessions 3-Month Bursary to Artscape Daniels LaunchpadAll program participants will be provided with a 3-month free membership to Artscape Daniels Launchpad, including access to 5 creative studios, unlimited Launchpad Learning events, coworking space and credits for use in the Digital Media Lab Virtual Field Trips: ALL-ACCESS Experiences through our program and industry partnerships  (2) Industry Talks: Open panel discussions that focus on creative sector trends and issues Final Showcase: As a culminating project, participants use their newly acquired skills to coordinate a showcase promoting the artists and creative businesses nurtured throughout the program. Typically, the event is hosted at Artscape Weston Common. However, given the nature of the current pandemic, this may be hosted virtually.

At UpstART, you will learn how to leverage creativity for business innovation and career development.  By the end of the UpstART program, you will be able to:• Develop a vision and “story” for your business• Create a brand and develop messaging for your creative work• Develop a simple marketing plan, artist statement and basic press kit• Leverage social media to enhance customer reach• Put together an effective pitch presentation for your creative business• Prepare for media opportunities• Understand basic legal considerations, financial management, budgeting and fundraising• Build the right networks• Present your art or creative practice in a showcase event  Format: 6 Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops (3 Hours Each) and special projects assigned between (eg. Creative Pitch presentation). Mode of Attendance: Online Learning (until further notice) Dates: To be announced (Early 2021)

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR UPSTART?  Take look at the criteria. Applicants must:  • Be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident• Be between the ages of 18-29• Live in the Greater Toronto Area (York South-Weston residents will be prioritized)• Be an emerging and/or practicing artist, designer or creator• Have an entrepreneurial desire to advance their creative practice/business or idea• Willingness to invest time and effort in the program• Have not received a Launchpad Bursary in the past year

How to Apply If you interested in participating in the UpstART program, you are invited to complete an online application form. Application questions will give you an opportunity to demonstrate what makes you a great candidate for the program and to describe your creative work, activities and entrepreneurial vision. All applicants will also have the opportunity to upload examples of their creative work (eg. PDF of visual images, audio/video files or in another appropriate digital medium). Web and social media links will also be accepted. Limit of 4 examples Application Deadline: November 24th 2020Successful applicants will be informed by December 4th 2020. * APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN *

The selection process will be led by the Artscape Weston Commons Community Advisory Committee. After reviewing the applications, Artscape will reach out to a short list of candidates to conduct interviews. Successful applicants for the UpstART program are selected on the following criteria: LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL & ENTREPRENEURIAL VISIONDemonstrate that you have the potential to inspire others with a passion, innovative approach, and a strong commitment for the creative field in which you plan to work. RESILIENCE AND GROWTHShow us that you are receptive to feedback and can learn from past experiences. ABILITY TO COLLABORATEDo you have the ability to resolve conflict and bring together the necessary people, money, and resources to create your venture? DESIRE TO PARTICIPATE IN A COHORT EXPERIENCEShow us how you will both gain from and contribute to the cohort learning experience.

There are NO fees associated with the UpstART program. Selected participants will enjoy all business training, mentorship opportunities, access to Artscape Daniels Launchpad studios & facilities (3 months), networking events and showcase opportunities for FREE thanks to our incredible partners and supporters. All program participants will receive $500 for their engagement and successful completion of the program

Anticipated Program Schedule

Date Activity 
October 27, 2020 Call for Applications
November 24, 2020  Deadline for Applications
December 4, 2020 Participants Selection Complete
December 7 2020- March 6 2021 Creative Workshops/Learning & Industry Talks, Virtual Field Trips/Networking Opportunities  –      * Schedule TBA
March 3 2021 Mentorship Pairing Begins
May 10-14 2021 Final Showcase/Symposium


*Please note that our program schedule is subject to change as a result of the evolving pandemic in accordance with Toronto Public Health safety guidelines and restrictions.