Partnership on national incubator project gains federal support

July 17, 2014

SFU, through its collaboration on a national research-driven incubator network, is among institutions chosen to advance in the selection process under the Canadian Accelerator and Incubator Fund (CAIP) program. 

Delivered by the National Research Council of Canada, CAIP is designed to help outstanding small- and medium-sized Canadian enterprises to “grow, prosper and create jobs,” by providing support over a five-year period in the form of non-repayable contributions to a limited number of “best-in-class” accelerator and incubators.

Ryerson University is leading the project in partnership with SFU and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The three institutions have created the Zones of Incubation and Innovation (ZI2), targeting sectors in digital technologies and gaming and creating an innovation network between western and eastern Canada.

"This initiative builds on SFU's vision to be Canada's most community-engaged research university," said SFU President Andrew Petter, "and in addition to advancing student and faculty innovation will help us realize our goal of providing students with a broad range of experiential learning opportunities." 

Says VP Research Mario Pinto: “The CAIP program is providing Canadian institutions such as Simon Fraser University, as a partner in this project, with the impetus to make an impact on Canada’s innovation ecosystem that will be felt globally.

“Getting all players to engage at the outset, in an informed way, is key to turning ideas into innovation. Through ZI2, SFU can expand what it already does so well—incubate student and faculty-led companies in a setting that co-locates small companies with academic, business, consumer and investment communities.”

SFU is recognized for its innovation and knowledge mobilization ethos and its vision to be Canada’s most engaged research-intensive university. In addition to its research strengths in digital media, SFU brings its proven innovation model to ZI2: its Venture Connection® student and alumni entrepreneurship program and VentureLabs®, a business accelerator sponsored in part by the BCIC Venture Acceleration Program.

ZI2 leverages existing relationships between the institutions, such as Canada’s GRAND Digital Media Network of Centres of Excellence; the SFU-led Centre for Digital Media; and SFU’s connections to local angel and venture capital investment sources. It also links to international soft landing sites such as the Ryerson/SFU/Bombay Stock Exchange Incubator in Mumbai, India.

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