Meet Rusul Alrubail, Founder & Executive Director at the Parkdale Centre for Innovation & Alterna Member 5 Years
By Alterna Team
March 08, 2024

Through Alterna’s Community Microfinance Program we have the privilege to meet and work with some amazing women, including Rusul Alrubail, the visionary founder behind the Parkdale Centre for Innovation (Parkdale Centre). She is a former recipient of the WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards for 2020. Rusul is also an author, keynote speaker, and mother of two.

Origins and Vision

Rusul had an unconventional journey to entrepreneurship. After graduating from university, she worked at York University in various administrative roles, then she decided to pursue her MA in Literature, later teaching at Seneca College part-time for 5 years.  The struggle to make ends meet while being an effective teacher shifted her focus to entrepreneurship. Her first venture into this world was creating a student publishing platform called The Writing Project (TWP) with a partner, which aimed to empower students to become better writers.  After successfully growing TWP, they reached a point where expansion was necessary.  Facing roadblocks in the investment landscape, Rusul and her partner recognized the lack of inclusivity in the Toronto innovation ecosystem, leading to the launch of Parkdale Centre for Innovation.

About Parkdale Centre for Innovation

Parkdale Centre is a nonprofit incubator dedicated to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit within diverse communities. Rusul founded this pioneering organization as a launchpad for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing invaluable support to navigate the complexities of starting and scaling their businesses. With an unwavering commitment to inclusion and equity, Parkdale Centre is a testament to Rusul’s vision of creating a more accessible and equitable landscape for entrepreneurs.

Impactful Partnerships

Parkdale Centre accessed Alterna’s Community Microfinance Program early on to help provide a cashflow injection needed at the time. This support was crucial during the organization’s formative years.  Just as important, though, Parkdale Centre has partnered with Alterna to offer workshops and resources tailored to empower women founders and entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds. These initiatives have left an indelible mark on the community, empowering countless individuals to realize their entrepreneurial dreams.

Championing Gender Equity

For Rusul and Parkdale Centre, every day is International Women’s Day. As a women-led organization, they operate through a gender-lens approach, ensuring that women founders receive the support and recognition they deserve. Through initiatives like the Women Founders Program, launched in collaboration with Alterna, Parkdale Centre is leading the charge in supporting women entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. Each year, they commemorate International Women’s Day with events spotlighting women founders, amplifying their stories of resilience and success. By creating an inclusive environment that champions gender equality, Rusul and her team pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.


Rusul’s journey in launching an incubator and accelerator in one of Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods has been challenging but empowering. Through Parkdale Centre for Innovation, she is building businesses, breaking down barriers, and fostering a community where everyone can thrive. As we celebrate International Women’s Day and beyond, let Rusul’s story serve as inspiration – dream boldly, break barriers, and, if you see an opportunity, create a more inclusive world.