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MaRS makes layoffs as part of business model “resetting”

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Innovation hub wants to “significantly increase engagement with the private sector and philanthropic circles.”

MaRS Discovery District has made reductions to its staff as the Toronto innovation looks to get back to its “original vision,” BetaKit has learned.

Multiple sources indicated to BetaKit that the hub made a staff reduction yesterday. Alison Nankivell, CEO of MaRS, confirmed the layoffs with BetaKit, stating the hub is examining how its spaces, programs, and community can “propel Canadian innovation in a shifting global context.”

MaRS’ plans include “seeking to significantly increase engagement with the private sector and philanthropic circles while we continue to partner with all levels of government.”

“Our path forward necessitates changes towards a more agile and lean organizational structure that reduces hierarchy and [leadership] roles in favour of a reallocation of resources to support programming that more effectively supports founders, fosters even greater ecosystem collaboration, and ultimately increases our impact,” Nankivell added.

According to Nankivell, the decision is part of a larger plan to reset the organization’s business model. Nankivell added those plans include “seeking to significantly increase engagement with the private sector and philanthropic circles while we continue to partner with all levels of government.”

Sources who spoke with BetaKit under condition of anonymity indicated that at least 20 roles were cut yesterday. MaRS’ chief delivery officer Krista Jones will be leaving her role. MaRS declined to disclose the number of individuals or roles involved in the staffing reductions. BetaKit has reached out to Jones for comment.

BetaKit has obtained an email from Jones sent out earlier today addressed to over 70 women from across Canada’s tech ecosystem. While Jones did not state she was laid off in that email, she said she would depart her role after more than 15 years at the hub this month. 

“During my tenure at MaRS, I have seen the innovation ecosystem develop in ways we only dreamt about at the beginning,” Jones’s email reads. “I’m so very proud of the part I have played alongside many of you in creating conditions that help founders, entrepreneurs and their companies grow and succeed.”

Jones most recently served as the hub’s interim CEO following the departure of Yung Wu and selection of Nankivell as MaRS’ new CEO in December. Jones has worked at MaRS since 2008.

The Globe and Mail also reported on this news.

Developing…

With files from Douglas Soltys and Josh Scott.

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