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RSM2709H – Global Practicum: Entrepreneurship & Innovation

General Information


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Applicable Emphases:
(m) = Main, (s) = Supplemental

  • Global Management (m)

Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship (c)
  • Global Management (c)

Instructor Bio

Hussam Ayyad is a multi-time entrepreneur, angel investor and business leader. He brings over 18 years of experience in building and operating companies, and in enabling other founders build high-growth ventures. Hussam is currently the Chief Accelerator Officer at Highline Beta, a globally recognized accelerator builder-operator and venture capital firm focused on corporate innovation.

A purpose-driven entrepreneur, business builder, and operator, Hussam is passionate about shaping the future and transforming traditional industries with innovation and emerging technologies. He brings more than 18 years of experience in executive leadership and management. His experience and leadership have been focused on building and operating companies and leading high-performing teams, within different industries and regions across the world.

Hussam spent the first decade of his career building software in the financial services sector, and building successful businesses in the global supply chain industry. For 7 years, he led Algero Canadian Metals (ACM) –an international company he co-founded in 2006– to steep revenue and workforce growth despite various regulatory challenges that faced their industry during the time. Responsible for growing ACM’s revenue to over $70 million within 3 years, he led its efforts to deliver best-in-class products to customers in 6 different countries. Hussam also led ACM’s sales and business development efforts to build a strong global distribution network and channel partnerships, and oversaw its corporate development and overall growth to become a multinational operation, and a market leader in its industry.

Since 2013, Hussam has dedicated his knowledge, expertise, and efforts to developing public-private-corporate partnerships, organizations, and teams that have supported hundreds of emerging tech startups, at different stages of commercialization, in Canada and across the world. Many of these tech companies earned sizable revenues, raised significant capital, and created a considerable number of jobs, while disrupting industries, creating new ones and addressing social, economic and environmental challenges.

Hussam strongly contributed to Communitech in becoming an innovation hub of choice for ‘open innovation’ by global household names such as Microsoft, Toyota, Panasonic, and various others.

Following that, Hussam played an instrumental role at DMZ where he led its strategic direction and led its transformation from a community-focused co-working space to a 100% program-driven platform, and built and ran its core operation and its cross-functional teams within programs, investor relations, and revenue-generating partnerships. Most notably, he built a high-performing team that developed and operated DMZ’s corporate accelerators, and attracted some of Canada’s leading subject matter experts to form Toronto’s first growth-focused accelerator for tech startups; an accelerator that supported over 100 scaling tech companies in building their go-to-market strategies and high growth playbooks.

He subsequently transitioned to his next role as the Managing Director of WE ScaleUp, a global impact accelerator that supported high growth mission-driven ScaleUps to build their growth playbook and become investment-ready, shortly before joining Highline Beta in his current role to lead its accelerator business.

Besides being an active angel investor in emerging technologies, Hussam also lectures at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management –where he earned his MBA– and leads its ‘Global Innovation Practicum and Silicon Valley Tour’ since 2020.

In addition to earning his MBA, Hussam also earned a Master of Business Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Software Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.

Target Audience

Students interested in getting a thorough exposure and deep understanding of global entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems (with focus on Toronto-Waterloo, and Silicon Valley, in addition to other leading global ecosystems), industry facts, concepts and key learnings through interfacing directly with tech founders, funders and corporate innovation leaders.

Course Format

10-day intensive course:

  • November 11 and 12, 2022: 2 full-day course in Toronto in-person at Rotman, introducing students to global startup ecosystems, venture capital and entrepreneurship from 9am to 5pm both days
  • January 8-13, 2023: 1 week trip to Silicon Valley to meet key leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators

Cost: $2,500

The cost includes hotel, transportation, welcome and farewell meals, and cultural activities. Students are responsible for purchasing their flights to and from San Francisco, other meals, visa, and health insurance.

Course Mission

To provide students with thorough exposure and deep understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems, industry facts, concepts and key learnings through interfacing directly with tech founders, funders and corporate innovation leaders.

Course Scope

In this course, students will learn about entrepreneurship and innovation from a series of engaging conversations and deep topic-discussions with early-stage venture incubators/accelerators, founders, investors and corporate innovation leaders. The course is designed to expose students to real-world learnings concerning how early-stage innovation/invention is conceived by entrepreneurs and how start-up businesses are funded and scaled. Students will learn how entrepreneurs think and act, how start-up incubators and accelerators, as well as investors facilitate early-stage business funding and scaling activities, how to analyze and design early-stage go-to-market strategies, and how to design and deliver unique customer value propositions and experiences, which is at the core of most successful start-ups. Students will also be exposed to how innovation is designed and delivered by large corporations, a meaningful part of which is how they interact with start-up ecosystems.

Evaluation and Grade Breakdown

ComponentDue DateWeight
Individual ParticipationOngoing20%
Group PresentationTBD40%
Investment MemoTBD40%

Experiential Course Limit

There are limits to the number of RSM27XX range courses that students may take for credit toward their degree. Please refer to the Experiential/International Course Eligibility Specifics and Limits section on the RO website for all details.

Last Updated: 2022-10-13 @ 12:02 pm