The Great-West Life Assurance Co. is contributing $300,000 to a Toronto-based program that aims to help technology startups working to improve economic productivity and human well-being.

The insurance company will contribute the funds over three years to seed-stage program Creative Destruction Lab, part of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The program, which runs over nine months, provides entrepreneurs with access to mentoring, business development support from top students at the school and venture capital funding opportunities.

It also sees entrepreneurs work with mentors to determine how to commercialize their business, with top companies often garnering investment from coaches and institutional and private investors. In 2017, graduating ventures at the Toronto lab raised more than $46 million.

Read: Get creative in making space for new technologies in benefits plans

“With Creative Destruction Lab, we’re looking to foster the next great innovations in health and financial technology,” said Ben Harrison, vice-president of innovation at Great-West Life, in a news release. “Our industry is changing, and we want to be at the table with disruptive entrepreneurs helping scale their businesses and learning from their ingenuity. We’re looking for creative ideas and partnership opportunities with the potential to transform how we do business and improve the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians.”

More than 100 companies are enrolled at the Toronto lab this year and were recently involved in full-day sessions that offered interaction with mentors, investors, corporate sponsors and successful entrepreneurs. Great-West Life met with Awake Labs, a digital health venture that’s developing tools to empower care for brain and mental-health disorders, noted the release.

“We are excited to be a part of an ecosystem where corporate partners invest in supporting innovative companies that improve health and well-being,” said Andrea Palmer, chief executive officer at Awake Labs. “We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with industry leaders, like Great-West Life, to become a global leader in mental-health care solutions.”

Read: U.S. corporate giants seek to shake up health industry with new company for employees

Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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