media release

SFU joins India incubator initiative

January 22, 2014
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Contact:
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017, 604.209.5770; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca (to arrange interviews with SFU President Andrew Petter, who is in India until Jan. 25)

Simon Fraser University has joined with Ryerson University to develop a groundbreaking incubator and associated accelerator program in India in collaboration with the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute (BSEI).

The BSEI-Ryerson Digital Media Zone was established in July 2013 and this week SFU signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Ryerson and BSEI to collaborate on its further development.

The incubator will enable entrepreneurs to fast track their startups and connect with mentors, customers and investors. It lays the groundwork to help young entrepreneurs expand in both the Indian and Canadian markets and provides support and resources for entrepreneurship and professional development education.

The BSEI­–Ryerson­–SFU Accelerator Program India, a five-year agreement between Ryerson, Ryerson Futures Inc., SFU and SF Univentures calls for collaboration on a number of fronts, including accelerating the development and commercialization of innovative research and new technologies in India and Canada and providing opportunities for entrepreneurship education, training and development.

The partnership is an example of how SFU is advancing its activities in India with university and industry partners, says SFU President Andrew Petter.

“We are excited to partner in this ground-breaking initiative which will benefit young entrepreneurs and their innovations in both Canada and India,” said Petter. “Supporting student entrepreneurship is an important part of our commitment to being Canada’s ’engaged university.’ This unique partnership with the BSEI and Ryerson University will help us extend that commitment both nationally and internationally.”

For Ryerson, the arrangement will enhance opportunities for young entrepreneurs. "Ryerson looks forward to working with Simon Fraser University and continuing to generate opportunities for young Indian and Canadian entrepreneurs," said Mohamed Lachemi, Provost and Vice President Academic of Ryerson. "We are bringing a successful model to India, and with this collaboration with Simon Fraser University, we can provide even more resources to fast track innovative research and help train and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs."

SFU’s involvement will also spawn new global opportunities for SF Univentures Corporation and other initiatives, through the support of student mobility initiatives and program delivery as well as accelerator and angel funding projects, adds SFU V-P Research Mario Pinto.

"The signing of this LOI exemplifies SFU's innovation strategy, in which community partners are engaged with our students and faculty entrepreneurs at the outset, to provide an informed view of the requirements of the real world," said Pinto.

B.C. Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk said: “Partnerships between industry, employers and post-secondary institutions are important in today’s global marketplace. Strengthening ties between British Columbia and India with this agreement supports skills and competencies in entrepreneurship that are critical for social and economic success.”

SFU has developed a wide range of student incubation and innovation programs that encourage and support its student entrepreneurs. Its Venture Connection program, in partnership with Coast Capital Savings, is one of the first university early-stage incubator programs in B.C. The program offers SFU students and recent alumni support for their ventures through an early-stage business incubator, mentorship, co-op and other avenues and since 2008 has engaged over 3,100 students, contributing to more than 120 early-stage startups.

Among additional sources of support for the program are Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), the BC Innovation Council, the Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), Discovery Foundation and the John Dobson Foundation.

With a suite of existing and new entrepreneurial programs, including the Beedie School of Business RADIUS Social Innovation Lab, SFU is positioned to substantially contribute to the program.

Backgrounder:
Student entrepreneurs at Simon Fraser University will gain global support through the unique partnership between SFU, Ryerson University and the India’s Bombay Stock Exchange Institute (BSEI).

The international incubator program will provide internships, co-op opportunities and support for student entrepreneurs and their startup and spinout companies.

The partnership is expected to benefit India and Canada through increased collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer and commercialization, as well as job creation and economic growth.

The program further extends the BSEI-Ryerson Digital Media Zone, created after an MOU signing between the BSEI, a private training institute and arm of the BSE, Ryerson University and Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI).

Select startups will also have the opportunity to locate their businesses in the incubator facility located in the Bombay Stock Exchange Building, with access to business development education, training, programming and networking events as well as access to highly experienced mentors, entrepreneurs and staff.

Petter participated in the LOI signing in Mumbai on Jan. 21 with Ryerson University Provost Mohamed Lachemi, and the BSE’s Managing Director and CEO Ashishkumar Chauhan.

The signing took place during a week-long mission to India by Petter, Pinto and V-P External Relations Philip Steenkamp to advance existing relationships and to forge new partnerships with academia, industry and government.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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