Federal funding announced March 16 will support Simon Fraser University in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship nationally through its role in Zones of Incubation and Innovation (ZI2), Canada’s largest business incubator program.

SFU is partnering with Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology on the program, announced last June, which is targeting sectors in digital technologies and gaming and creating an innovation network that spans the country.

The universities will receive up to $10.7 million over five years, distributed under the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP). The funds will ensure that Canadian entrepreneurs in the sector have access to the resources and expertise they need to develop business plans, seek follow-on financing and explore new international markets for products and services.

The three institutions will provide university and community-based entrepreneurs in early-stage digital technology companies with critical access facilities, business development resources and world-class mentoring and programs to accelerate their success.

“SFU’s participation in this initiative reflects our vision to be Canada’s engaged university and our determination to be a leader in showing how universities can play a larger role in supporting economic development and job creation,” says SFU President Andrew Petter.

In addition to research strengths in digital media, SFU brings its proven innovation model to the ZI2 initiative through its Venture Connection® student and alumni entrepreneurship program and VentureLabs®, a technology business accelerator sponsored in part by the B.C. Innovation Council.

“The Zones of Incubation and Innovation Network will play an important role in SFU’s growing innovation agenda,” says SFU VP Research Joy Johnson.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology on this initiative and grateful for the financial support provided by the Government of Canada through the CAIP program.”

Through CAIP, another $2.7 million is being allocated to The Next 36, a national accelerator and incubator program for Canada’s most promising young entrepreneurs. SFU has been a partner of the program since 2013.

The National Research Council of Canada delivers the Industrial Research Assistance Program. It’s designed to help outstanding small- and mid-sized Canadian enterprises “grow, prosper and create jobs” by providing support via non-repayable contributions to a select number of “best-in class” accelerators and incubators.

Link to government news release: http://at.sfu.ca/jQiAiF
Link to SFU President’s blog post: http://i.sfu.ca/jGUOSP