XO Launches an Incubator for Artists in Toronto

By on May 30, 2018

Brand and record label XO recently announced HXOUSE, an incubator for artists in Toronto.

Multiplatinum selling artist The Weeknd serves as the founder of this venture, along with Creative Director La Mar Taylor and professional marketer Ahmed Ismail.

HXOUSE will serve as a creative space for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. It’s meant for them to be able to receive support and develop their careers in various creative sectors. According to their website, the purpose of this project is to “empower young entrepreneurs” and give them access to “tools”, “programming”, “mentorship”, “funds”, and many other things as well.

They’re collaborating with Artscape Daniels Launchpad, which is launching a $28.4 million, 30,000-square-foot facility to operate as an incubator that brings together artists from various disciplines. In addition to this, they’re also partnering with OCAD University and George Brown College to offer programs that will allow students to gain “real world exposure in real-time.”

HXOUSE launches in Fall 2018.



History of HXOUSE

The founders of HXOUSE are from Scarborough, Ontario. La Mar Taylor serves as the Creative Director for XO, and is instrumental in the success of the brand. In 2011, his photography mixed with The Weeknd’s musical gifts allowed them to create a trilogy of mixtapes. This led to a cult-like following that later expanded to ventures outside of music. As a team XO has consistently been able to break barriers in the world of music, fashion and entertainment.

Ahmed Ismail is the founder of Influencers PR and specializes in sports-and-entertainment marketing. He has worked with plenty of athletes and entertainers on numerous ventures. He has long envisioned being able to create a space for artists and young entrepreneurs in Toronto. After seeing La Mar go on a Twitter rant about the lack of infrastructure in the city, he reached out. From there, they’ve managed to reach one step closer to their shared vision coming to fruition.


It’s Impact

HXOUSE is an innovative concept and is the first of its kind in Toronto. It is unique in the sense that it not only offers a facility to those in need of it, but also provides mentorship, education and an opportunity to enter creative fields that might appear out of reach. It will serve as the bridge between these different industries and the talent.

Toronto has largely gained recognition in the world of music, sports and entertainment. Despite that there still seems to be a lack of a creative industry in the city, which La Mar and Ahmed alluded to. HXOUSE has an opportunity to create one, which could change the creative landscape of Toronto. They seem prepared to do just that. By fostering partnerships with Artscape and reputable institutions such as OCAD University and George Brown College, they’re in a position where they can leverage each other’s strength to create a lasting, meaningful impact. Their plan is to eventually roll this program out globally.

In the end, the creatives win, which is their ultimate goal.

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Yusuf is an author of three books, podcast host and an award-nominated freelance writer.