SFU President’s Trip to India Sparks Entrepreneurship, Clean Energy Partnerships

Jan 24, 2014 by

SFU President’s Trip to India Sparks Entrepreneurship, Clean Energy Partnerships

Source: Simon Fraser University Media Release

Contact: Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017/604.209.5770; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca

Simon Fraser University (CIEC Academic Member) President Andrew Petter recently visited India to advance relationships and forge new partnerships with academia, industry and government, resulting in collaborations with the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute, Indian Oil Corporation and IIT Bombay.

SFU 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, who was in India Jan. 18-24 with SFU V-P Research Mario Pinto and V-P External Relations Philip Steenkamp.

“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.”

“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 of 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 Business RADIUS Social Innovation Lab, SFU is positioned to substantially contribute to the program.

Meanwhile, SFU and India’s flagship national oil company, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Ltd, have laid the groundwork to collaborate on hydrogen and fuel cell technology research.

SFU President Petter signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) with IOC’s Director of Research and Development, Dr. R.K. Malhotra in New Delhi, with B.C. government representatives in attendance.

“SFU researchers have much to contribute and gain through this relationship,” said Petter. “SFU is internationally recognized for its expertise in fuel cell technology. Collaborating on research with IOC will provide greater opportunities for our faculty members and students to advance the field globally.”

Dr. Malhotra said: “Indian Oil recognizes and values the global lead role which British Columbia is taking in the fuel cell developments and its commercialization. The collaboration with Simon Fraser University would help Indian Oil to get the benefit of their expertise in hydrogen and fuel cell research. The intended collaborative research will help further the development and optimization of fuel cell technology and cut down the cost.”

The relationship developed as a result of Dr. Malhotra’s visit to B.C. last June as a keynote speaker at the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association conference. During his visit he expressed interest in developing research collaborations with B.C. focusing on hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

“We are deepening relationships in key sectors such as clean technology to increase trade and investment between British Columbia and India,” said Teresa Wat, B.C.’s Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism. “Connecting world-leading institutions such as SFU with a company such as Indian Oil will boost research and commercialization, attract new investment, and create and protect jobs for British Columbians.”

The collaboration will facilitate the sharing of expertise in hydrogen and fuel cell research and enable exchanges for SFU faculty and students to work in IOC’s world-class R&D facility, while providing IOC researchers access to SFU facilities.

It could also lead to the creation of a joint research centre in hydrogen and fuel cell technology at IOC’s Faridabad site.

The university also announced it has entered into an MOU with one of India’s premier institutions of science and engineering, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), which will foster research collaborations on clean energy projects as well as graduate student exchanges.


Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada’s top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.

Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.