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SFU remains Canada’s top university for innovation, rises to number one worldwide for entrepreneurial spirit in global ranking

Jun 17, 2022

SFU’s Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship

Simon Fraser University has ranked once more as Canada’s number one university for innovation and has moved up to number one in the world for entrepreneurial spirit, according to the World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) 2022 rankings.

The WURI rankings measure how universities contribute to society and highlight creative and innovative approaches to university research and education by evaluating university programs for innovativeness, implementability and impact.

“I am so proud of the creativity and ambition that our students, faculty and staff demonstrate each day, and excited that their groundbreaking innovations and entrepreneurial spirit have been recognized by WURI,” says SFU president Joy Johnson. “SFU is doing incredible work in the innovation space, from training students for jobs of the future to partnering with industry and communities to mobilize knowledge that makes a positive impact—it’s an exciting time to be here and watch it all happen.”

SFU’s Beedie School of Business supports innovation and entrepreneurship at every level of the university through a variety of programs and initiatives. SFU Beedie’s Invention to Innovation (i2I) program is a unique and rewarding entrepreneurship program that helps scientists and engineers commercialize their inventions and overcome marketplace challenges and provides start-up ventures with the essential frameworks, perspectives and techniques to contribute to new product development and commercialization in industry.

Through the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, SFU Beedie develops the entrepreneurial mindset through Canada’s most comprehensive continuum of interdisciplinary and experiential programming. This includes Coast Capital Venture Connection, SFU’s flagship start-up incubator and the longest running entrepreneurship program at SFU, open to students, staff, faculty, and alumni from all disciplines in the SFU community. SFU Beedie’s programs equip aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge and support needed to build solutions for the future.

Also based in the Charles Chang Innovation Centre, SFU RADIUS is a social innovation program co-founded by SFU Beedie alumni that supports individuals and organizations in social ventures by providing mentorship, consulting and training to maximize positive impact. RADIUS has supported over 176 social ventures to date and provided over $35,000 in social innovation funding for students.

Since 2016, SFU has also been advancing its innovation ecosystem through SFU Innovates, the university’s innovation strategy.

“While supporting our researchers’ desire to make a social impact, we are also playing a pivotal role in helping industry bolster its science innovation pipeline through SFU Innovates,” says Elicia Maine, W.J. VanDusen Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at SFU Beedie and Associate Vice-President of Knowledge Mobilization and Innovation at SFU.

One success story is SFU spinoff company Ionomr Innovations, a clean-tech and advanced materials company that had its first intellectual property (IP) protected through SFU, which recently closed a Series A funding round of more than $15 million. Ionomr was supported by nearly every component of the SFU Innovates ecosystem, including SFU Beedie’s Invention to Innovation (i2I) program, the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship and Coast Capital Venture Connection at SFU.

Another new venture in the cryptocurrency sphere, Utopia Labs, was co-founded by a former SFU Beedie student and alumnus of SFU’s Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship and Coast Capital Venture Connection. The start-up has closed a total of $25 million USD in seed and Series A funding to date.

Learn more about SFU’s university research rankings and performance.