Simon Fraser University has joined with Ryerson University to develop a groundbreaking incubator and associated accelerator program in India in collaboration with the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute (BSEI).
The BSEI-Ryerson Digital Media Zone was established in July 2013 and this week SFU signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Ryerson and BSEI to collaborate on its further development.
The incubator will enable entrepreneurs to fast track their startups and connect with mentors, customers and investors. It lays the groundwork to help young entrepreneurs expand in both the Indian and Canadian markets and provides support and resources for entrepreneurship and professional development education.
The BSEI–Ryerson–SFU Accelerator Program India, a five-year agreement between Ryerson, Ryerson Futures Inc., SFU and SF Univentures calls for collaboration on a number of fronts, including accelerating the development and commercialization of innovative research and new technologies in India and Canada and providing opportunities for entrepreneurship education, training and development.
The partnership is an example of how SFU is advancing its activities in India with university and industry partners, says SFU President Andrew Petter.
“We are excited to partner in this ground-breaking initiative which will benefit young entrepreneurs and their innovations in both Canada and India,” said Petter. “Supporting student entrepreneurship is an important part of our commitment to being Canada’s ‘engaged university.’ This unique partnership with the BSEI and Ryerson University will help us extend that commitment both nationally and internationally.”
For Ryerson, the arrangement will enhance opportunities for young entrepreneurs. “Ryerson looks forward to working with Simon Fraser University and continuing to generate opportunities for young Indian and Canadian entrepreneurs,” said Mohamed Lachemi, Provost and Vice President Academic at Ryerson. “We are bringing a successful model to India, and with this collaboration with Simon Fraser University, we can provide even more resources to fast track innovative research and help train and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
SFU’s involvement will also spawn new global opportunities for SF Univentures Corporation and other initiatives, through the support of student mobility initiatives and program delivery as well as accelerator and angel funding projects, adds SFU V-P Research Mario Pinto.
“The signing of this LOI exemplifies SFU’s innovation strategy, in which community partners are engaged with our students and faculty entrepreneurs at the outset, to provide an informed view of the requirements of the real world,” said Pinto.
B.C. Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk said: “Partnerships between industry, employers and post-secondary institutions are important in today’s global marketplace. Strengthening ties between British Columbia and India with this agreement supports skills and competencies in entrepreneurship that are critical for social and economic success.”
SFU has developed a wide range of student incubation and innovation programs that encourage and support its student entrepreneurs. Its Venture Connection program, in partnership with Coast Capital Savings, is one of the first university early-stage incubator programs in B.C. The program offers SFU students and recent alumni support for their ventures through an early-stage business incubator, mentorship, co-op and other avenues and since 2008 has engaged over 3,100 students, contributing to more than 120 early-stage startups.
Among additional sources of support for the program are Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), the BC Innovation Council, the Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), Discovery Foundation and the John Dobson Foundation.
With a suite of existing and new entrepreneurial programs, including the Beedie School of BusinessRADIUS Social Innovation Lab, SFU is positioned to substantially contribute to the program.