Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President

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Innovation and entrepreneurship drive SFU’s change-making potential

January 16, 2020

What will drive Simon Fraser University’s change-making potential in this new decade?

Innovation and entrepreneurship may be oft-quoted buzzwords in today’s economy, but at SFU they are key components of our commitment to be Canada’s engaged university.

For starters, our university-wide innovation strategy – SFU Innovates – is all about increasing our economic and social impact through the mobilization of knowledge and ideas. It engages faculty members and students with community and industry partners to solve real-world problems.

The strategy has already yielded rich dividends for British Columbia by contributing more than $1.3 billion to the province’s economy. It has supported over 80 social innovation ventures, and helped launch 400 start-up ventures.

It has also gained us credit for being a national leader in innovation and entrepreneurship education.

For example, SFU’s interdisciplinary undergraduate Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship has gained recognition from The Expert Panel on Innovation Management Education and Training established by Council of Canadian Academies (CCA). The panel has also recognized SFU for creating specialized graduate programs to promote innovation.

CCA is an autonomous not-for-profit organization, whose independent, science-based and authoritative expert assessments inform public policy development in Canada.

The panels’ report commends how SFU’s interdisciplinary engagement has resulted in our students taking the lead in innovation and entrepreneurial thinking. (I hope that gets a further boost from the launch last week of our Media and Maker Commons.)

We have also been lauded for creating innovation models that can be replicated across Canada, and have been pegged in the same bracket as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Harvard Business School, The Wharton School and Stanford University for leading practices in innovation management education.

In sum, innovation and entrepreneurship have become important signatures of SFU’s commitment to be Canada’s most community-engaged research university, and are helping build our reputation far and wide.