SFU has partnered with Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to establishZones of Incubation and Innovation (ZI2), a national incubator designed to drive research innovation and job creation in the digital technology and gaming sectors.

The three partners will receive funding from the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) to build on their impressive track records and provide a core set of strategies, services and tools in the target sectors in Vancouver and Toronto.

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.” It provides support over a five-year period in the form of non-repayable contributions to a limited number of “best-in-class” accelerator and incubators.

“CAIP gives institutions such as SFU and its partners in this project the impetus to make an impact on Canada’s innovation ecosystem that will be felt globally,” says VP-Research Mario Pinto.

“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 colocates 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 digital media research strengths, 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 partner 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 sites such as the Ryerson/SFU/Bombay Stock Exchange Incubator in Mumbai, India.

Originally published in the Fall 2014 Research Matters Newsletter, published by the SFU’s Office of the Vice-President, Research