Lab to Market grants

Letter of intent assessment results

The following 20 applicants to the Lab to Market grants 2024 competition have been selected to advance to the full application stage.

Applicant Applicant institution Project title Project summary Co-applicant institutions
Jeff Larsen Dalhousie University Lab2Market: Canada’s National Network for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Skills Training of Students, Researchers and Highly Qualified Persons More details   Lab2Market is a national network for innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship skills training of students, researchers and highly qualified persons (HQP). With more than 30 universities across Canada, the network equips them with the essential tools, resources, and knowledge to transform academic research or innovative ideas into market opportunities and impact. These immersive, experiential, inclusive and nationally standardized training programs develop the mindset, skills and competencies of the participants who will go on to commercialize technologies, create and grow start-ups, and thrive in non-academic careers in industry. Lab2Market’s practice-based training is a rigorous, coordinated, and structured continuum of programs where students, researchers and HQP engage with industry and communities outside of the classroom or lab. Lab2Market’s Discover, Validate, Launch and Build programs are based on the proven methodologies and structure of the US NSF I-Corps and MIT delta V programs and ICURe in the United Kingdom. Through Lab2Market programs, participants discover innovation and entrepreneurship, experiencing how to validate their business idea, develop a business model, and build their product design. Recognizing the regional diversity and strengths within Canada, Lab2Market coordinates nationally and delivers programs regionally, connecting to local support networks. Lab2Market is open to participants at post-secondary institutions across Canada in both official languages, and since the fall of 2020, the network has piloted programs to 38 cohorts of 575 teams from 36 universities. Lab2Market has a proven track record of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and also strategy to expand EDI generally with a targeted focus on women, Indigenous and Black Canadians. With an established curriculum and growing network, the NSERC Lab to Market grant will allow Lab2Market to dedicate full time resources to building network infrastructure, facilitate collaboration with national partners, further deliver regional hubs, and expand network engagement with equity-seeking and Indigenous-focused groups. The proposed initiative plans to train thousands of students, researchers, and HQP over the next 5 years, dramatically changing the ability for Canada to capitalize on research excellence through a new generation of talent equipped with innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship skills, competencies and mindsets. McMaster University, University of Regina, University of Northern British Columbia, Université de Montréal, University of Prince Edward Island, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, University of Saskatchewan, Saint Mary's University, Toronto Metropolitan University, Queen's University, Laurentian University, University of Manitoba, Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Lethbridge, University of New Brunswick, York University, The University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo, University of Victoria, University of Alberta, Concordia University, Simon Fraser University, The University of Winnipeg, Brock University, University of Calgary, University of Toronto, Université Laval, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Brandon University
Elicia Maine Simon Fraser University National Invention to Innovation (i2I) Network More details   Unlocking Canada's innovation potential demands a diverse educational approach to develop: translational scientists at universities adapting to emerging needs, science innovation champions in industry with entrepreneurial acumen, and scientist-entrepreneurs envisioning solutions for scalable science-based ventures. Conventional science entrepreneurship models may exclude impactful projects, requiring pre-venture steps such as de-risking and fundraising, especially in fields with extended timelines like advanced materials, nanotechnology, and quantum computing. Since its establishment in 2015, Simon Fraser University’s award winning i2I program has prioritized skills and entrepreneurial mindset development for STEM graduate researchers, recognizing that over 80% will not become tenured professors. Addressing challenges in merging entrepreneurship with science, the proposed expansion of the i2I national network, backed by NSERC Lab to Market, aims to increase the translation of Canadian science into impactful innovation. With six universities in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador leading cohorts, and five more postsecondary institutions joining in 2024-25, the national i2I network has already impacted nearly 400 STEM researchers at over 25 universities. It offers national bilingual synchronous programming and regional (a)synchronous learning for cohorts of STEM graduates. Our Mentor Network, integrating tightly across the continuum from fundamental research to emerging industry sectors, contributes to sector-specific learning groups and will be expanding with a diversity focus. The 8-month, Mitacs i2I Skills Training program is the core curriculum for STEM researchers and feeds into the comprehensive Commercialization Post Doc, to unlock further value in science-based industries. Faculty workshops and adapted curricula for undergraduates and colleges broaden the network's impact. Shorter learning formats, webinars, and knowledge mobilization tools facilitate on-ramps and cultural change in Canadian universities. Anticipating transformative impact, over the 5-year funding period, the i2I Network will train 800 graduate researchers, 73 postdocs, 260 undergraduate and college students, and 75 faculty members, addressing critical innovation challenges in clean energy, health systems, environmental sustainability, and beyond, bridging the gap between lab research and impactful solutions. Université Laval, Queen's University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Fraser Health Authority, University of Waterloo, University of the Fraser Valley, University of Victoria, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, University of Alberta, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Dalhousie University
Vicki Mowat Sheridan College (Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning) Leveraging the Unique Strengths of College Research to Build Entrepreneurial and Commercialization Capacity More details   The thirteen member colleges of Polytechnics Canada seek to create a national network to develop and deliver comprehensive entrepreneurial and commercialization skills training for college researchers, leveraging the unique strengths and opportunities for applied research in the college sector. Polytechnics and colleges are deeply embedded in our surrounding regions and focus on applied research in collaboration with local partners to deliver meaningful solutions in response to industrial and societal needs. However, the connection between existing commercialization and entrepreneurial supports and the college applied research ecosystem is generally fragmented and ad hoc. Our vision is to target the large, talented and diverse pool of college HQP and employees engaged in applied research, who are underserved through current offerings but hold substantial potential as catalysts for commercialization and knowledge translation across a wide range of disciplines and technical, service and social innovations. Led by Sheridan College, the network will draw on the complementary entrepreneurship, commercialization and applied research expertise across the members and their many industry and ecosystem partners, to co- design and develop a suite of training targeted to the college applied research context that addresses the needs of a spectrum of HQP and researchers from different stages, sectors, geographies and demographic groups. We envision training to be provided in stages progressing from foundational knowledge and mindset, to more in-depth and targeted support. We anticipate multiple benefits from this training, including exposure of a large new group of HQP and researchers to the commercialization process, and fostering of an entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial mindset which they will take with them to the workplace to better identify and capitalize on new IP and innovations. Participants may use the skills they gain in the generation of new ventures, leading to associated economic and societal benefits. Industry and community partners will also benefit through improved support from HQP and researchers in developing and positioning their innovations developed in research projects for market and community uptake, and in the skillsets of new graduates that they seek to hire. Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Humber College, Red River College Polytechnic, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Algonquin College, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Fanshawe College, Seneca College, George Brown College
David Phipps York University Maximizing societal impact through training for knowledge mobilization and social innovation More details   The Government of Canada has articulated its science, technology, and innovation priorities, but half of these cannot be addressed through traditional commercialization and entrepreneurial means. These societal challenges require training in knowledge mobilization and social innovation. York University is submitting this LOI on behalf of Research Impact Canada-Réseau impact recherche Canada (RIC-RIRC) and co-applicants (total 31) and 20 collaborators from the broader social innovation ecosystem. Founded in 2006, RIC-RIRC has grown to a pan-Canadian bilingual network comprised of 26 Canadian universities, two research hospitals, one college, and three funders, plus four UK universities. Broader social innovation ecosystem partners include agencies and organizations representing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) expertise, work-integrated learning, social innovation, community and municipal engagement, and STEM equity. Beyond delivering robust skill-building in knowledge mobilization and social innovation, RIC-RIRC’s Lab to Market is focused on connecting trainees with each other, mentors, and with community partners. Our strong focus on mentoring and brokering includes Mitacs-partnered internships, scholarships, and work-integrated learning opportunities. As well, RIC-RIRC Lab to Market will network participants through monthly knowledge mobilization clinics, regional “impact mentors”, the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum, and a pan- Canadian, bilingual Community of Practice. Investments from Lab to Market will enable RIC-RIRC in English and French to: 1. Scale significantly the delivery of knowledge mobilization training directly to researchers and students in all disciplines. 2. Lower barriers to experiential training for individuals from traditionally marginalized groups and to organizations providing services to them. 3. Develop new training programs, tools and resources to meet the needs identified by regional engagement and a pan-Canadian needs assessment. 4. Identify needs and develop more practical tools and resources that help create impactful research and meaningful engagement, especially for non-academics. With an established network across Canada, RIC-RIRC training currently engages 640 participants each year. Lab to Market will grow this participation to at least 2,240 trainees per year (350%+ growth), resulting in 10,500 trainees after 5 years. Together, we can turn research and knowledge into action into impact. University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, Université de Montréal, University of Victoria, Thompson Rivers University, Mount Allison University, Laurentian University, Georgian College, University of Windsor, McMaster University, University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University, University of Ottawa, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Yukon University, Lakehead University, Carleton University, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, The University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo, Athabasca University, Université Laval, University of Guelph, The University of Winnipeg, Simon Fraser University, The Hospital for Sick Children, Saint Paul University, Université du Québec à Montréal
Dominique Bérubé Concordia University Réseau d’entrepreneuriat scientifique et innovant (RESI) More details   La mission quinquennale du Réseau d'entrepreneuriat scientifique et innovant (RESI) est d'étendre le soutien de la transformation des chercheur.e.s en leaders d'innovation et ce, sur toute la trajectoire d'entrepreneuriat scientifique. Globalement, le RESI formera 3,250 chercheur.e.s par an, pour un total de plus de 16,000 chercheurs.e.s pour la durée du programme. Parmi les résultats attendus figure la valorisation de l'entrepreneuriat et de l'intrapreneuriat en tant que parcours professionnel pour nos chercheur.e.s. Le RESI réunit 14 institutions académiques et plus de 25 organismes collaborateurs. Il s'appuie sur une expertise collective de création de programmes qui est solide et éprouvée, ce qui lui permettra de valoriser les bonnes pratiques et le développement de ses programmes en tenant compte des réalites culturelles de chacun des établissements de formation et de recherche. La participation et le maillage des partenaires seront essentiels dans la co-création de la programmation et la livraison des différents volets. Les organismes collaborateurs clés du RESI sont les Fonds de recherche du Quebec, V1 Studio, Axelys, l'Acfas, ainsi que le Mouvement des accélerateurs d'innovation du Québec, le Conseil de l'Innovation du Québec et Startup Montreal. Plusieurs autres organismes régionaux complètent l'étendue du réseau, tant au niveau local qu'au niveau national. Le plan d'action qui incluera les principes d'équité, diversité, inclusion et décolonisation devra porter sur la gouvernance, les programmes et les opérations du réseau. Le leadership du RESI sera assuré via la formalisation d'un conseil d'administration, établi en consultation avec les participant.e.s, et constitué de membres représentant les institutions ainsi que les collaborateurs clés, les représentants sectoriels, se voulant ainsi inclusif de !'ensemble des participants. L'administration globale du RESI sera sous la responsabilité de l'Université Concordia, qui apporte au réseau une connaissance approfondie de l'écosystème de recherche et d'innovation canadien. En effet, l'Université Concordia a déjà fait ses preuves en entrepreneuriat scientifique, notamment via son incubateur District 3, qui aura en 10 ans accompagné plus de 1,200 startups. Le RESI est voué à être parmi les écosystemes les plus competitifs au monde. McGill University, Université de Montréal, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Université de Sherbrooke, École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université Laval, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, École Polytechnique de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal
Dave Muir Western University (The University of Western Ontario) Empowering Higher Education: Collaborative Network for Commercialization Entrepreneurship and Knowledge Mobilization Training (CollabNet) More details   CollabNet’s vision is to create a dynamic network of Canadian educational organizations focused on empowering learners to translate ideas into new policies, products, services and ventures for the betterment of society. Across Canada, learners from high school all the way through to post-secondary school and beyond will be supported through training, experiential programming, and mentoring. The network will prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion in every aspect of the network from members of the advisory board, selection of participants, recruitment of mentors, format and delivery of training and communities served. As learners move through their educational journey, they will have multiple opportunities to, in turn, coach, guide and mentor learners at earlier stages. CollabNet will nurture an innovation and interdisciplinary mindset in participants who will have the opportunity to network with diverse learners across geographical locations, sectors and organizations. To support a consistent and standardized approach to training, educational organizations will have the opportunity to become certified for their innovation curriculum. Specific training will include topics such as ideation, market research, business planning, funding strategies, intellectual property, regulatory considerations, knowledge mobilization, commercialization, and entrepreneurship. Experiential programming will focus on addressing real world problems through an interdisciplinary approach. Opportunities will include pitch competitions, hackathons, fellowships, and internships. Collaborations from industry, not for profits, small to medium to large corporations, regulatory and intellectual property consultants, regional innovation centres, economic development centres and innovation parks will provide a diverse and vibrant partnership ecosystem for learners. Coaches, mentors, role models and entrepreneurs-in-residence will walk alongside learners as they traverse their innovation journey. CollabNet will collectively elevate the training of highly qualified personnel across Canada, leading to increased innovation, economic development and positive societal change. University of Toronto, Fanshawe College, Durham College, Lakehead University, Ontario Tech University, London Health Sciences Centre Research Inc., University of Guelph
Jolen Galaugher Red River College Polytechnic Prairie Polytechnic - University Network for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization More details   Research in Canadian universities is globally competitive, but Canada’s business innovation lags. Canada has low investment in Business Expenditure on Research and Development at less than 1% of GDP and falls behind OECD averages for productivity gains from innovation. Historically, university technology transfer models in Canada offered limited pathways to entrepreneurship and IP commercialization with limited spinoffs. Recently, Lab to Market programs have empowered researchers to explore entrepreneurship and commercialization in a framework similar to National Science Foundation’s iCorps program. Over the last two decades, Canada has invested in capacity building in colleges and polytechnics to support innovation and commercialization, particularly through investments in Technology Access Centers and HQP training in applied research. Colleges and polytechnics focus on de-risking innovation and advancing the technology readiness level (TRL) of new products for industry partners while training the workforce to support innovation. Led by Red River College Polytechnic, the Prairie Polytechnic - University Network for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization will offer Market to Lab (M2L) entrepreneurship and commercialization training and mentorship developed in collaboration with regional university partners and integrated with university-led programs. By leveraging the capabilities and expertise of colleges and polytechnics, we will bring the markets to the labs, drastically enhancing the translation of inventions from research labs into viable new products. M2L offerings will provide researcher-entrepreneurs with product development training targeting TRL 4- 8, incorporating end-user requirements at every stage; provide business and tech supports to new ventures; enable access to vast networks of industry partners and mentors across 14 prairie institutions; and support Indigenous-led entrepreneurship initiatives. Our Steering Committee contains robust knowledge of commercialization and IP and remarkable connectivity to our regional innovation ecosystem. A unique collaboration between colleges, polytechnics, and universities, the Prairie Polytechnic – University Network includes the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, MacEwan University, University of Lethbridge, and University of Alberta as well as 9 prairie colleges and polytechnics. Our Network is adaptable to a regional hub and spoke delivery model to support national programming. Red Deer Polytechnic, University of Regina, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, University of Lethbridge, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Northwestern Polytechnic, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, MacEwan University, Olds College, University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta, Lethbridge College, NorQuest College
Jessie Kubes Queen's University Business and Entrepreneurship for Regional Impact (BERI) Network More details   The Queen’s University-led Business and Entrepreneurship for Regional Impact (BERI) Network aims to catalyze innovation and deliver economic benefits to regional communities. Our discipline-agnostic, comprehensive training approach (four developmental streams) will ready thousands of highly qualified personnel (HQP) with a translational framework to move innovations from the research lab to the marketplace. Regional knowledge translation activities (e.g., the number of startups arising from research) lag behind those in larger metropolitan areas. Many smaller communities lack resources to support the creation of a knowledge mobilization pipeline – potentially leaving valuable innovations unexplored. Queen’s University and Kingston region have the foundational elements for establishing and expanding the BERI Network. Queen’s has well-established technology transfer experience (initiated in 1987 and supports ~290 startups per year), internationally recognized platforms for entrepreneurial training, governance models for large initiatives, and strong connections with regional stakeholders. The Kingston region has a significant and diverse talent pool with Queen’s, RMC, Loyalist College and St. Lawrence College. Our growing Network includes colleges/universities in Kingston, North Bay, Belleville, Sudbury, Halifax and Burnaby. Using an equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization lens, BERI partners will co-develop and offer four development streams to HQP: - Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training: building of knowledge translation foundational skills, open to all partners’ HQP - Partnerships, Commercialization and Data Reproducibility: training to provide a framework for researchers at/before the start of their projects - Mentorship and Networking: targeted longitudinal support/training for entrepreneurs and innovators who apply to build connections and translate their ideas into regional opportunities - Trailblazer Empowerment: creating a tailored pathway for individuals from equity-deserving groups. Investing in this pre-innovation and longitudinal training/support for talent will mobilize more knowledge and expand the number of innovation-focused HQPs in Canada. Ultimately, the BERI Network will catalyze the growth of regional innovation ecosystems to a scale that can compete with opportunities in metropolitan areas. Laurentian University, Simon Fraser University, Dalhousie University, Royal Military College of Canada, Loyalist College, Nipissing University, St. Lawrence College
Shanthi Johnson University of Windsor Cross-Border Entrepreneurship Network (CBEN) More details   The Cross-Border Entrepreneurship Network (CBEN) is led by the University of Windsor in partnership with St. Clair College (confirmed co-applicant), Brock University (confirmed co-applicant), Lambton College (confirmed co-applicant) and other post-secondary institutions in the Southwestern Ontario corridor that are situated in close proximity to the Canada-US international border crossings. The CBEN vision is to educate and train post-secondary students, researchers and HQP on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and commercialization, and to provide a robust mentorship and support system to help them bring their ideas and innovations to market, not only locally and regionally but into the US and international markets. It is recognized there is a significant underrepresentation of equity-deserving communities creating new ventures, which results in a significant economic loss to our region and country. With leveraging the existing entrepreneurial programming across all partner organizations and developing new and co-created training programs that will engage equity-deserving groups, we will look to further advance a more inclusive innovation ecosystem within our respective regions. In today’s rapidly changing global economy, entrepreneurship training should no longer be only taught at business schools. Students across all disciplines and equity deserving groups will benefit from entrepreneurship training through CBEN. The network will achieve its vision through a three-pronged approach: (i) Building entrepreneurial foundations – promote entrepreneurship and commercialization opportunities across all disciplines and develop and deliver foundations of entrepreneurship and commercialization training programs. (ii) Ideation to Launch – Develop and deliver cohort-based startup programs to train students and researchers with a focus on social entrepreneurship, the innovation economy, and service sectors. Training provided will leverage existing entrepreneurship programming including essential topics such as intellectual property (IP), marketing, business planning, and prototype development. (iii) Navigating the Borderless Economy – Develop programs and networks to train and mentor entrepreneurs in navigating the borderless economy. While opportunities are abundant, new ventures and SME’s may also face challenges unique to those operating in border cities. Lambton College, St. Clair College, Brock University
Lesley Jacobs Ontario Tech University (University of Ontario Institute of Technology) The Inclusive Entrepreneurship Network (IEN): Inspire, Elevate, Empower More details   Context: The Inclusive Entrepreneurship Network: Inspire, Elevate, Empower (IEN) will connect the national entrepreneurial ecosystem to drive broader access and foster a culture of innovation across Canada. The IEN is driven by the Earth District, a strategic alliance of five institutions (Ontario Tech University, Centennial College, University of Toronto Scarborough, Fleming College, Trent University) established in 2021. The IEN will establish a national training program by co-designing a blueprint to be tested regionally (phase 1, year 1-2) and expanded nationally (phase 2, year 3-5). To support the blueprint co-design and regional testing/validation, Western University, Lakehead University, Nipissing University, and numerous collaborators will initially expand the network. Objectives: The objectives of the IEN are: 1) Establish a Canadian entrepreneurship network that connects the provincial and national entrepreneurship ecosystems through enhanced technology solutions (e.g., AI-generated ecosystem ‘mapping’) to identify expertise, programming and mentorship for connecting post-secondary institutions, researchers and HQP 2) Reduce barriers to stimulate access to underrepresented groups through consultation and co-design of inclusive entrepreneurship training that can inform a blueprint model that can be readily utilized across Canada 3) Propel the uptake of entrepreneurship skills and mindsets for all researchers and HQP through three program streams to progressively increase entrepreneurship awareness, knowledge, and competencies Planned Activities: The IEN will have three core streams (Inspire, Elevate, Empower) designed for different levels of participant readiness and learning goals (increase awareness, knowledge, and competencies to commercialize research-based inventions, processes, services and social innovations). Capitalizing on our existing consortium, all streams will be piloted through Earth District’s areas of expertise spanning a broad spectrum of research domains (STEM, health sciences, humanities and social sciences). Anticipated Results: Through our network’s collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships, we are poised to significantly contribute to Canada's economic growth, technological advancement, sustainability and societal well-being, reinforcing the country's position as a leader in sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship on the global stage. Trent University, Western University, Lakehead University, Nipissing University, Centennial College, Fleming College, University of Toronto
Guy Levesque University of Ottawa EOCENE: the Eastern Ontario Collaborative Entrepreneurship Network More details   The Eastern Ontario Collaborative Entrepreneurship NEtwork (EOCENE) will inspire entrepreneurs across the region as they embark on their journey to transform nascent ideas into market ventures. Through an integrated suite of in-person and virtual programming in a "hands-on" philosophy, EOCENE will bring together the region’s key actors and enablers under one umbrella to accompany our diverse community of entrepreneurs in developing the skills and solutions mindset that will benefit the unique mix of private, public, academic and government sectors in Eastern Ontario. Building on our individual network of partners, as witnessed by the strong support expressed in the letters from the thirteen collaborating organizations with deep entrepreneurship expertise, EOCENE will leverage these connections to build an integrated and collaborative regional entrepreneurship web. EOCENE is designed to ignite a vibrant regional ecosystem by leveraging our proximity, our diversity and our track records of entrepreneurial training. EOCENE will address the “missing entrepreneur” phenomenon through its efforts to unleash the untapped potential of underserved and underrepresented entrepreneurs in the region. Laser-focused on providing the very best entrepreneurship experience for individuals, for groups and for our community, EOCENE will equip entrepreneurs with the tools, the know how and the networks required for their success. Through EOCENE, the region enters into a "new era of entrepreneurial training", capitalizing on our proximity, our connections, our assets, our ambition, our past and future collaboration, creating a high-performing and high-impact innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Eastern Ontario. Queen's University, La Cité collégiale, Algonquin College, Carleton University
Charmaine Dean University of Waterloo Unlocking our Collective Potential: Enabling Inclusive and Immersive Experiences for Canadian Innovation More details   Entrepreneurship, whether done through for-profit or social ventures, can bring out the best of technologies and human ingenuity to tackle the most challenging topics facing humanity. However, we do not believe that Canadian academia is engaging the full human potential of its institutions in entrepreneurship. This is why the University of Waterloo is leading the genesis of the Canadian Transformative Hub for Revolutionizing Innovation and Value creation through Entrepreneurship (THRIVE) Network. Co-developed by universities, colleges, hospitals, and other organizations across the country, the THRIVE Network will reduce barriers to full participation in entrepreneurship, research commercialization, and social impact activities, with a focus on members from under recognized groups. To us, inclusive innovation means recognizing that there are multiple pathways to impact creation and diverse perspectives are necessary to build a prosperous and productive future. The Network will bring together resources across the country to provide unprecedented access to people (advisors, experts, system navigators), places (co-working spaces, incubation hubs, facilities), and programs (training, co-ops at start-ups and seed funds, self-directed innovation co-ops, trips to tour entrepreneurial cities) to create accessible pathways through entrepreneurship and social impact support systems. These pathways will be open to students, staff, and faculty members currently (or recently) engaged in Canadian universities and colleges. Network members also receive access to the immersive learning experiences needed to gain insights into where innovative ideas come from, how break-through technologies are built, what early-stage funders are looking for, and how entrepreneurship and commercialization networks work together to activate opportunities for impact. In addition, the Network provides exclusive access to additional resources through its competitive Impact Creator funding program, which provides recipients with access to the market assessments, professional services, and resources necessary to further accelerate impact creation. We believe that together we can improve equitable access to opportunities, create inclusive environments in which Impact Creators can thrive, and build a future where Canada is full of resilient companies that cater to the needs of our diverse communities. By doing so we will support the sustainability, inclusivity and growth of all of Canada. McMaster University, McGill University, University Health Network, Université de Sherbrooke, Simon Fraser University, Western University, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, University of Waterloo, Toronto Metropolitan University, York University, Dalhousie University, University of Victoria, Lakehead University, University of Calgary, University of Toronto, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
Dena McMartin University of Lethbridge IDEA-Hub More details   Most small to medium-sized post-secondary institutions and organizations in non-urban areas in Western and Northwestern Canada lack capacity or resources to deliver the full spectrum of entrepreneurial support and training available at larger institutions. As a result, there is a tangible disparity in the availability of training and resources for prospective and existing entrepreneurs in these rural and remote areas. This creates inequity in the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, and obstacles to bringing ideas to market. We have identified a lack of resources available to build and maintain a pool of highly qualified personnel knowledgeable in regulatory readiness, commercialization strategies, intellectual property management, business and entrepreneurial development, and new ventures. Therefore, the IDEA (Innovation-Design-Entrepreneur-Access) Hub will bring together a network of post-secondary institutions and organizations, all with unique expertise, to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem to ensure support is offered throughout the entrepreneurial journey. The overarching vision of our network is to develop and deliver a highly accessible entrepreneurial training and mentoring program to a diverse range of clients within the Canadian post-secondary landscape. Our goal is to provide an equitable allocation of services to underrepresented institutions and groups, as well as rural and remote communities whose innovations remain untapped unless they have access to the types of resources that the IDEA-Hub would offer. Training and support will be sector-agnostic to ensure they are easily accessible to potential entrepreneurs and innovators from all disciplinary backgrounds. Using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning modules, mentoring and coaching strategies, our clients will gain access to the tools they need, when they need them, to navigate the complex entrepreneurial expedition. With access to network resources, innovators will be equipped to 'hit the ground running' and take their "latent" scientific, social, and service ideas to the market. With access to Network resources, the IDEA-Hub will drive economic development and social enterprise in Western and Northwestern Canada. The IDEA-Hub will contribute vital resources and services to the Canadian academic entrepreneurial landscape, foster talent development and entrepreneurial training among the partner institutions, and promote economic growth that benefits all Canadians. Royal Roads University, Vancouver Island University, Mount Royal University, Bow Valley College, MacEwan University, Yukon University, Olds College, Medicine Hat College, Lethbridge College, Concordia University of Edmonton, Athabasca University
Robert Thompson University of Calgary PRIME-C Lab to Market consortium More details   The PRIME-C (Partnership of Research-intensive Institutions for Mentorship, Entrepreneurial education, and Community-building) Lab to Market consortium is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at dramatically increasing Canada’s innovation output by doubling the number of startups emerging from academic research. Leveraging the expertise and infrastructure of leading U15 universities, which account for the majority of PSI research startups since 2017, PRIME-C is poised to democratize access to entrepreneurial education and resources across all disciplines and regions of Canada. Our strategy revolves around a flexible, adaptive framework that is sensitive to the varied needs across Canada's innovation landscapes, aiming for unparalleled inclusivity and impact. PRIME-C's structure is built upon four pillars: training, mentoring, community, and funding, each of which will be designed to effectively navigate participants through the commercialization journey. Centralized data tracking will allow us to closely monitor program effectiveness, refine our approach, and ensure wide-ranging participation. Participants will benefit from established training programs and state-of-the-art online courses and micro-credentials, alongside mentorship from industry and academic luminaries, modeled on proven frameworks such as the Academic Entrepreneurs in Residence (AEiR) program. This mentorship is vital, offering bespoke guidance to foster viable business ventures. Additionally, our focus on community-building through gatherings and digital outreach will cultivate a supportive innovation ecosystem, while funding initiatives will provide the necessary resources for early-stage development. This collaborative model leverages the collective strengths of Canada’s top universities, aiming to dismantle barriers that have historically marginalized equity-deserving groups in the innovation ecosystem. PRIME-C is not merely a program but a movement to empower researchers and students, embedding equity, diversity and inclusivity at the core of Canada’s innovation narrative. In conclusion, PRIME-C represents a strategic, comprehensive effort to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators, underpinned by equity, diversity and inclusivity. Our grant application seeks support to transform this vision into reality, establishing a robust, inclusive innovation ecosystem that drives Canada’s economic and societal progress forward. McGill University, Université de Sherbrooke, Dalhousie University, University of Waterloo, The University of British Columbia, University of Toronto
Leanne Rooney Emily Carr University of Art + Design Creative Horizons Network: Pathways to Entrepreneurship in Art and Design More details   Creative Horizons Network: Pathways to Entrepreneurship in Art and Design (CHN) is a pioneering national initiative anchored by Emily Carr University of Art and Design, OCAD University, Alberta University of the Arts, and NSCAD University working in concert with our ecosystem partners to deliver practice-led entrepreneurial education, mentorship, and skills-based programming to creative researchers, highly qualified personnel (HQPs), and art and design students to realize economic, social, and educational benefits on regional and national scales. CHN’s 3 primary objectives are to: 1. Develop new and timely networked online training focused on creative entrepreneurship and innovation-to-market pathways 2. Initiate access to multi-partner mentorships by working with existing incubator and accelerator programs based on eastern and western clusters and focused on EDI. 3. Foster capacity through new cross-network staffing resources including business development officers, technology transfer experts, researchers to support commercialization, knowledge mobilization, and accelerating market contact. The creative sector’s contribution to Canada’s real GDP is forecast to increase by over 15% between 2017 and 2026 (Conference Board of Canada, 2019), amounting to $12.5 billion in Q1 of 2023 alone (Hill, 2023). Beyond the creative sector itself, 70% of organizations value creative thinking as a crucial future skill (Wells, 2024), making it clear that industries and economic drivers increasingly rely on the creative skillsets at the core of art and design research including design thinking, creative problem solving, and strategic foresight. Yet, creative researchers, artists, and designers face difficulties in adapting their skills and research for effective integration into innovation value chains and converting their talents and innovations into tangible economic value. As a result, there is a need to create sustained and comprehensive innovation support structures that can provide novel training, resources, and opportunities to leverage the unique abilities of artists and designers in driving entrepreneurial innovation and economic growth. CHN will activate the national scope of our network and partners to develop a robust framework that catalyzes the integration of artistic and design talents into the broader economy, fostering a new wave of entrepreneurial success and innovation. Alberta University of the Arts, OCAD University, NSCAD University
Rene Van Acker University of Guelph Sustainable Food Systems for Canada Innovation Platform More details   “Sustainable Food Systems for Canada” (SF4C) is an innovation platform that will drive change towards a more sustainable and economically competitive food system. This is vital as Canada’s agriculture and food industry drives economic growth, providing 1 in 9 jobs and generating almost $150B in 2022. The sector also currently generates up to 10% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions; however, it holds enormous potential to sequester and mitigate emissions, protect water quality and biodiversity, and reduce food waste. To realize this opportunity and unlock up to >$50B in economic opportunity, entrepreneurs and innovators from across diverse sectors and disciplines need a platform that fosters collaboration with industry, government, and communities to drive solutions from university to corporate launch. SF4C will have three components: (1) A training platform, offering innovation boot camps, interdisciplinary virtual modules with training in foundational skills, pitch events, co-op training and micro credentials; (2) A concierge, connecting innovators with mentors and advice and providing early-stage funding to SMEs to test and scale innovations (with a special focus on providing opportunity for marginalized communities); and (3) A network of networks, providing a cross sectoral platform for agri-food and sustainability innovators, hosting events, workshops and other initiatives, connecting with policy-makers, and providing overall coordination and governance. This national network includes many of Canada’s top post-secondary institutions with expertise in the multi-disciplinary aspects of food and agriculture, as well as a network of funders, incubators and accelerators, and key private and not-for-profit organizations innovating and mobilizing knowledge in this space. This network connects actors across traditional silos, regions, and economic sectors that are all driven by the need for innovation in sustainable food systems. Ultimately, Sustainable Food Systems for Canada will drive innovative solutions, support workforce training and development, and connect the right players across the ecosystem to support innovation and collaboration. This crucial network will help Canada meet our climate change targets, support economic growth, and increase agri-food production – driving Canada’s reputation as a world leader in producing safe and sustainable food. University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, Niagara College Canada, University of the Fraser Valley, Concordia University, Dalhousie University
Gay Yuyitung McMaster University Canadian Network for Early Entrepreneurial Training More details   Canada excels in research, but falters in transforming innovation into economic growth. Too few Canadians become entrepreneurs and too many of the ones who do fail before they make an impact. The Canadian Network for Early Entrepreneurial Training, a collaboration led by McMaster University, the University of Guelph and the University of British Columbia, will deliver competency-based entrepreneurial training nationwide, using a distinct and proven delivery model to change the entrepreneurial paradigm from fail fast to succeed often. Built on an eight-year process of research, development, testing and iteration sparked by landmark philanthropic investments by Michael G. DeGroote and Marnix Heersink, the network helps potential entrepreneurs acquire and hone the tools, knowledge and networks that will put them on the path to sustainable success and societal impact. The network will build on the “staircase” approach to learning developed in the Marnix E. Heersink School of Biomedical Innovation & Entrepreneurship at McMaster with a suite of tested, refined and proven learning tools and programs collected from the network partner institutions. This will include strategies deployed through an existing network that crosses disciplinary boundaries and engages with universities, hospitals, businesses and social enterprise. The network program encourages and facilitates a range of engagement levels and strategies in order to be accessible to the greatest number and diversity of learners. These training options include UBC’s microcertificate in innovation management and McMaster’s online, on-demand Innovation Portal; the immersive, project-based Innovation Bootcamps; multi-mode opportunities focused in the physical venue of The Clinic; and both online and in- person versions of the Master of Biomedical Innovation, a program that is the first of its kind in Canada. By supporting learners at different entrepreneurial stages, from early to more advanced entrepreneurs, and conducting outreach designed to stimulate innovation across traditional disciplinary lines, the Canadian Network for Early Entrepreneurial Training will inspire more Canadians to pursue entrepreneurship and ensure that they are better prepared when they do. This approach means that the network will complement other more traditional entrepreneurship-development programs such as pitch competitions and go-to-market accelerators. Western University, The University of British Columbia, McMaster University, University of Guelph
François Bertrand École Polytechnique de Montréal RÉSULTATS : Recherche et Entrepreneuriat Synergiques des Universités: Levier de Transferts Académiques Transformateurs More details   Polytechnique Montréal (Polytechnique), HEC Montréal (HEC) et l’Université de Montréal (UdeM) propose un réseau national innovateur qui offre un accompagnement personnalisé aux équipes entrepreneuriales et vise à fonder plus d'entreprises dérivées viables basées sur des innovations issues de la recherche. L'objectif du Réseau est de former des entrepreneur.e.s en créant leurs entreprises dérivées viables. Cet objectif sera atteint 1) en constituant tôt des équipes entrepreneuriales associant les chercheur.e.s et des étudiant.e.s en administration des affaires ou un autre entrepreneur.e intéressé (le maillage avec un cofondateur.trice), et 2) en les soutenant de manière individualisée, avec une expertise spécifique au projet entrepreneurial, selon un calendrier adapté à leurs besoins et à ceux du projet, en collaboration avec l'écosystème local et national (la personnalisation). L’accompagnement, axé sur l’humain, se fera dans la continuité, tout au long du parcours entrepreneurial, de l’idée à la mise en marché, et permettra d’orienter, au bon moment, les entrepreneur.e.s vers les ressources existantes dans l’écosystème qui sont pertinentes à chaque projet d’entreprise et aux besoins spécifiques de l’équipe. Les besoins de chaque projet entrepreneurial seront déterminés par un groupe de soutien que nous rassemblerons autour de chaque équipe entrepreneuriale. Le Réseau s'adresse aux chercheur.e.s de toutes disciplines et à tous types d'innovations (technologiques, sociales, organisationnelles, produits, processus, service). Nous visons à aider tout chercheur.e ayant un projet susceptible d'avoir un impact significatif sur la société, que ce soit dans le domaine de la santé, de la société, de l'environnement ou du commercial, que l’entreprise dérivée soit à but lucratif ou non lucratif. Les chercheur.e.s et cofondateur.trice développeront des compétences entrepreneuriales clés, de manière individualisée et expérientielle, en bâtissant leur entreprise dérivée avec l’aide du Réseau, en interagissant avec des expert.e.s, des cofondateur.trice.s aux profils complémentaires et en bénéficiant de programmes existants de l’écosystème au moment opportun. Nous prévoyons créer ainsi d’avantages d’entreprises dérivée qui attireront des investissements au bénéfice du Canada et ces entreprises répondront aux problèmes de santé environnementaux et sociétaux affectant les Canadiens et Canadiennes. Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal
Leah Cowen University of Toronto Lab2Unicorn: Scaling Excellence in Canadian Innovation More details   Entrepreneurship is a skill. It involves making difficult choices under uncertainty, constrained by time and by capital. Yet, the intricacies of entrepreneurial decision-making extend far beyond the boundaries of traditional education. A world-class community that develops successful entrepreneurs requires high-quality mentorship to pass on entrepreneurial judgment from previous successes to new founders, and a network to capture the benefits of scale. In Silicon Valley, the world’s most successful entrepreneurial community, entrepreneurship education — whether through mentorship or network connections — is readily available. Elsewhere, a concerted effort is required to build robust entrepreneurship communities. Canada has historically struggled with bridging the gap between research and technology commercialization. According to a Universities Canada report, Canadian universities undertake $13 billion in research annually. As research institutions, Canadian universities compete with the best in the world. However, despite this excellence in research, Canada lags in commercialization with only a fraction of our research transitioning beyond the confines of academia. At the heart of a national strategy for strengthening technology commercialization lies the establishment of a central enabling organization that can, at scale, ignite and sustain high-growth entrepreneurship education throughout Canada and its universities. The University of Toronto (UofT) and the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) network is uniquely positioned to address this challenge via three foundational pillars: 1) world-class pedagogy that is already being used to train 1200+ students nationwide, 2) high-quality mentorship with a proven track record of commercializing Canadian research, and 3) an expansive network that encompasses leading research universities, investors, and startup alumni across industries. UofT and the existing CDL network together excel in entrepreneurship training and mentorship, both boasting diverse and expansive networks. By forging alliances with the network’s member institutions and scaling to additional universities across Canada, the UofT and CDL network will (1) scale CDL’s existing pedagogical programming to thousands of additional students and (2) expand mentorship opportunities to include hundreds of pre-commercial researchers, (3) integrate the existing community with new regional innovation hubs via CDL’s integrated technology infrastructure. McMaster University, University Health Network, Université de Sherbrooke, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University, Trillium Health Partners, University of Calgary, The University of British Columbia, The Hospital for Sick Children, HEC Montréal
Philip Barker The University of British Columbia Pacific Institutions Developing Entrepreneurs through Academia (IDEA) More details   The University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus is leading the submission of a Letter of Intent for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Lab to Market funding opportunity with Thompson River’s University (TRU), University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), Okanagan College, and Selkirk College. We see a strong value proposition in building capacity outside major urban centers, working as Universities and Colleges together, and recognizing the broader community impact by increasing the investment and resources, initially in BC’s Interior and Northern regions. These regions are at earlier stages of development with less resources and capacity than in larger centres yet the economic and social impact of entrepreneurship training in these smaller centres can be very substantial. Coordinating together to build capacity in delivering programs that will be successful in smaller institutions will be our initial goal. Once our approach is validated, our second objective will be to expand this approach to smaller regional centres across Canada. Leveraging the 6-year partnership established within the Interior University Research Coalition (TRU, UNBC, and UBCO) with our strong First Nation ties and our peers at Okanagan College and Selkirk College, we will work together to expand, support, and build programming targeted to BC’s Interior and Northern communities to deliver entrepreneurial skills training, with a strategic objective of Indigenizing and ensuring inclusivity across all offerings. We are actively working with this region’s accelerators, incubators, business supports and economic development agencies to ensure a deep and intentional regional approach to training and developing entrepreneurs within the post-secondary environment. Our collaborators include Innovate BC (Government of BC), WeBC (Women's Enterprise), Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI BC), Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations, Community Futures Thompson, Okanagan, Boundary, and Central Kootenay, Central Okanagan Economic Development Corporation, Venture Kamloops, Kamloops Innovation Centre, Accelerate Okanagan, Hubspace in Prince George, and Alacrity Canada. This proposal provides a new approach to building partnerships with outstanding academic institutions, First Nations, and non-profits while building entrepreneurship capacity outside of Canada's urban major centres. University of Northern British Columbia, Okanagan College, Selkirk College, Thompson Rivers University

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