Make Change Studio

  • Certificate Course
  • Undergraduate
  • 3 Semesters
  • Fall Semester
  • Spring Semester
  • Summer Semester


Capstones are going ‘under construction’. Our goal is to re-evaluate and make the courses even better than they already were by updating the curriculum, introducing new mentors, and providing new opportunities! We have some truly fantastic Entrepreneurship and Innovation courses available for enrollment this fall. 

If you’re looking for a capstone course or a similar experiential entrepreneurship course, please check out Technology Entrepreneruship @ SFU and BUS 477 – Start-up Experience.

Make Change Studio

Make Change Studio is a highly collaborative, 4-course experience that can be taken as a series or individually. Design, business, engineering, marketing and other interdisciplinary students who are interested in entrepreneurship, social change and sustainability work collaboratively

The program will focuses on the wicked problems of fast fashion. You will gain a greater understanding for design thinking and the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and go on to launch your own venture, with a solution centered around tackling sustainability through a deep dive into the waste and lifecycles of textiles.

Along the way mentors and industry professionals, including Drummond Lawson (multidisciplinary masters degree from Cambridge examining the strategic responses to the major social and environmental challenges facing the business community and civil society), Chief of Staff and Director of Sustainability at Arc’teryx, and Alex Warburton pioneer pro snowboarder turned international design guru will guide you. You will work together to find sustainable solutions to real-world problems and implement them in real time.


The experience comprises four courses (although they can be taken as individual semesters):

(1) IAT330 (Fall) introduces you to the wicked problem of textile sustainability and touches on themes including design iteration and business essentials.

(2) BUS 339 (Spring) centers around the design process and the Minimum Viable Product.

(3 & 4) IAT430 and BUS476 (Summer) transforms spring projects from ideas into actual businesses. The course culminates in students launching their sustainably designed ventures.

Make Change Studios gave the the skills, resources and network to be able to feel confident leaving the class and launching my venture!

I think every student, regardless of major, should give give entrepreneurship and Make Change a try!

Jesika Kula

Apply to Make Change

Applications for Make Change are currently closed.


Naghmi Shireen

Instructor of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Semesters

Naghmi is an educator, a researcher, a designer, and an architect. Her research work involves studying the designers’ use of digital media in design exploration. For her doctoral research, she studied the search patterns of designers using a large number of design alternatives. Her research informed the framework for interface design of future creativity support tools. She is also passionate about research work in community-driven design concepts and has been involved in various workshops exploring the domain. You can read more on Naghmi’s research here.

Naghmi loves to teach, and share her knowledge and expertise with her students. She is a seasoned academician who has been teaching in various capacities at various institutes for the past 12 years. At SFU, she teaches IAT106 and Make Change Studio. 

Naghmi was also involved in various entrepreneurial ventures and start-ups. Her first foray into business started with a small boutique during her undergraduate time. She established the boutique from the bottom up into a profitable business, which was later acquired by another clothing franchise. Later she started a tutoring academy focusing on providing individualized educational services in STEM topics to high school students. The business while being a commercial success, also provided Naghmi the opportunity to understand the nuances of pedagogy and the importance of a mentor to shape a student’s life.

She graduated with a Gold Medal and won the Mehdi Ali Mirza Award (2007) for excellence in architectural education. During her higher education here in Canada, she co-founded two companies. Warp is a high-concept fashion brand that fuses modern technology with traditional leather craftsmanship to make handbags for women with a cutting-edge style. Naghmi worked with Warp for 3 years and left to complete her Ph.D. studies. Making HER Future was conceived during her Ph.D. education and is a not-for-profit. Its vision is to provide young girls in our community with equal opportunities and to spark a curiosity in a tech-focused learning experience that is immersive and engaging. She is also working on starting another design based startup “ParaXplor” focusing on fusing technology with industrial and architectural design concepts to daily life products. 

Naghmi volunteers for various community organizations with a vision for social change, including but not limited to TCF Canada and Canada Urdu Association.

Rob Woodbury

Instructor of 3rd Semester

Robert Woodbury BArch (Carleton, Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal), MSc and PhD (Carnegie Mellon) has served on the faculty at CMU (1982-1993), Adelaide University (1993-2001), Technical University of British Columbia (2001-2002) and is now at Simon Fraser. He was founding Graduate Program Chair in Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU. From 2005-2008 he was Scientific Director of the Canadian Design Research Network and is currently the Director, Art and Design Practice of the Graphics, Animation and New Media Network. His research is in computational design, visual analytics and sustainability. He has over 150 publications, including his 2010 book Elements of Parametric Design. In 2009 he chaired Team North, a Canadian entry to the 2009 Solar Decathlon. In 2008 he was awarded the Innovative Research Award from the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture and the Tee Sasada Award from the Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia. In 2000 he won the Stephen Cole the Elder Prize at Adelaide University.  He is a former Olympian in sailing.


Will this count for any credits towards a degree in SIAT or Business?

The two IAT courses can be applied to either the BSc, BA, or minor degree in SIAT. The two Business courses count towards a Business Major and Minor. All credits can be counted towards a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and can be used as upper-level breadth courses for most majors. 

What do I get out of the course?

This is a great question! The Make Change experience is not a certificate (which has a higher credit requirement than the entire Make Change course load), but Make Change is currently part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate.

Depending on your project and team, you very well might come out of this class with a new venture! Many student teams have continued their Make Change ideas on post-course and have gone on to receive eCOOP funding and mentorship from SFU’s Incubator – Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection. You can check out past student projects here.

How do I communicate the importance of this program for future employers?

The whole experience is structured to enable to you to communicate and gain recognition for your skills and abilities. That’s one of the key outcomes of the course. The other, of course, is that you will have conceptualized, designed, created, built, marketed, communicated and launched a business. You will put this on your resume, along with all the skills you developed and put into practice in the process.

This course centre’s around key values of the Entrepreneurial Mindset, all extremely valuable assets to you as a student and professional learning to navigate an changing world – regardless of your discipline.

What do I get out of the course?

This is a great question! The Make Change experience is not a certificate (which has a higher credit requirement than the entire Make Change course load), but Make Change is currently part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate.

Depending on your project and team, you very well might come out of this class with a new venture! Many student teams have continued their Make Change ideas on post-course and have gone on to receive eCOOP funding and mentorship from SFU’s Incubator – Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection. You can check out past student projects here.

Would I benefit from taking this course if I’m not a SIAT or Beedie student?

Short answer: absolutely! While this course will give you SIAT and Business credits, this course will benefit you regardless of your major.

Make Change teaches you about design thinking – which is a way of problem-solving proven to increase the understanding of a problem space. While it may have the word ‘design’ in it, there may or may not be any actual ‘design work’ in your project. Rather, you will be learning how to think like a designer and applying that mindset to traditional business ideology, through a lens of sustainability.

That is to say, you’ll learn how to determine a problem, then how to go about creating a business that centres around some aspect of sustainability to solve it!

What type of Business Knowledge will we learn?
  • Design and develop a responsible business model for organizations that offer current and future products that deliver customer and producer value.
  • Develop operating plans, marketing and communication strategies, pricing strategies, and distribution mechanisms through an iterative process of prototyping and analysis.
  • Develop an understanding of funding models and strategies for making products and ventures a reality.
  • Work in an interdisciplinary, team-based environment, responding to a design brief related to sustainability and textiles.
  • Create a real-world, design-led proposition that will encourage students to work collaboratively and think critically.

    Certain knowledge, such as financing, will be more of an overview, as other Certificate of Innovation and Entrepreneurship courses, such as BUS 314 cover the topic in great detail.

Past Projects

Wrong Side Studio

Created by Caleigh Smith in the Spring (2nd) Semester of Make Change 2021, Wrong Side Studio is a slow fashion studio, with an emphasis on reusing textiles and reducing textile waste going into the environment. It was also the 2021 category winner at Opportunity Fest.

Jordan and the Magic Cape

Created during the fall (1st) semester of Make Change 2020, this class chose to create a children’s book centred around textile sustainability. Jordan and the Magic cape has recently been published by the SFU library, has received funding from RADIUS’s Social Innovation Seedfund and is in the process of being printed!

Studio Kleio – eCOOP Team

Studio Kleio was started in the Summer (3rd) semester of Make Change 2020. Starting as something completely different, the student team in charge decided to carry forward with the project post-course and went on the receive funding from Venture Connection through their eCOOP program.


Interested in hearing from some of the experts brought into the class? Curious to learn about past projects from Make Change Alumni? All that and more over at the Make Change Podcast!


Alumni Stories

Yzobel Biron

In my 2018 cohort of Business of Design, I presented my final entrepreneurial venture, Truth Media, which I wanted to continue outside of class. After 3 years of personal growth, challenges, and many lessons, there have been so many changes! Stanley (my original co-founder) left to pursue photography on his own time in 2019. I continued running the business until later that year when I found my current business partner, Amneet Athwal, who is also a SFU Beedie graduate.

Together, we changed the business’ name to IN. Communications Inc , and started working with female owned lifestyle small businesses to scale their brands through design, social media, and events. I’m really proud to say that we’re both working on IN. Communications Inc. and serving our amazing clients full time! IN. is currently has a monthly revenue between 15 to 20 thousand dollars, and our next goal is to create more systems to scale even more to hire team members. 

It really feel like we’re just getting started, and it all began with Business of Design! Thank you so much again for your guidance, there is still so much to learn, and I’m so grateful. 

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