SFU's VentureLabs has received $3 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada.

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SFU VentureLabs receives $3 million for innovation scale-up centre

September 05, 2019
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Simon Fraser University’s VentureLabs® is receiving $3 million in funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada to establish a scale-up and soft-landing centre at its Vancouver business accelerator.

The funding was announced on Sept. 5 by the Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. The funds are part of a $3.7-mllion announcement to support initiatives that will help western Canadian entrepreneurs and companies access business tools that will help them thrive.

“I want to thank the Government of Canada for this investment of funds,” said SFU President Andrew Petter. “Helping innovators bring new solutions to market and to scale up their businesses is key to British Columbia’s and Canada's economic growth. As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is committed to driving innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Virginia Balcom, VentureLab’s acting executive director, says the funding will go a long way to support VentureLabs in extending and engaging its entrepreneurial community, including investors, executives-in-residence, and industry partners, to deliver intensive scale-up programming for high-growth-potential science- and technology-based SMEs.

VentureLabs’ scale-up program will support resident ventures as well as those in the broader community, and address knowledge gaps, share best practices, expand business networks, help companies drive revenue growth, facilitate talent recruitment, and prepare participating SMEs for growth financing.

“This significant investment is a vote of confidence in SFU VentureLabs’ business acceleration programs,” said Balcom. “This funding will help us to support the pipeline of companies, from creating ideas to developing business plans and building products, and scaling revenue and expanding to international markets. We look forward to collaborating with B.C.’s entrepreneurial community to help companies scale on every front.”

Adds Joy Johnson, SFU’s vice-president, research and international: "We applaud the Government of Canada for its forward-looking investment to help western Canadian entrepreneurs and companies scale-up and access the tools needed to succeed."

SFU VentureLabs is a world-class science and technology accelerator that helps technology companies by powering their ventures with talent, technologies, entrepreneurial expertise, research capacity, access to capital, government assistance programs and international market-expansion opportunities.

VentureLabs’ partners include leading universities, government, and international industry and investment sector partners that collaborate in supporting innovation, acceleration and the scale-up of world-class Canadian technology businesses. VentureLabs was recognized as the 2017/2018 Top Challenger in North America by UBI Global, the world's most extensive benchmark study of university-linked business incubators and accelerators.