Charles Chang Innovation Centre is open for business in downtown Vancouver

Simon Fraser University has opened the Charles Chang Innovation Centre, a new graduate student residence and innovation facility at 308 W. Hastings St. in downtown Vancouver.

“This exciting new building expands SFU’s presence in downtown Vancouver, and strengthens our commitment to be Canada’s engaged university,” says SFU president Andrew Petter.

“It enables SFU to further benefit the community by fostering social innovation and entrepreneurship, and by contributing to the development of a diverse and talented workforce in the region.”

The building is named after SFU Beedie School of Business alumnus Charles Chang, who earlier this year donated $10 million to SFU to establish the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, which will support innovation and accelerate entrepreneurship throughout the University.

“I am excited to be able to partner with my alma mater, SFU, to do something that will meaningfully impact people's lives for the better,” says Chang, founder of plant-based nutrition company Vega.

“I look forward to seeing how this new downtown space supports the creation of new ventures and innovations in our community.”

The new residence has 52 fully furnished rooms with space for up to 68 graduate students from across Canada and internationally.

“Thanks to Charles’ generosity, students from across Canada and beyond will have the opportunity to live within the downtown core and study at SFU,” says Ali Dastmalchian, dean of SFU’s Beedie School of Business.

“Furthermore, the centre will develop leading-edge technology and social ventures to tackle some of society’s and the technology industry’s most pressing challenges.”

The second floor of the building is a social innovation and technology hub that will educate, accelerate and connect students and community members working to build innovative and entrepreneurial solutions that address social challenges.

The innovation floor is the new home of RADIUS, the Beedie School of Business’ social innovation lab and venture incubator.

The innovation floor will also host Innovation to Invention: Beedie’s Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology Commercialization. This new program empowers scientists and engineers from SFU and UBC with the management skills to make their inventions a commercial success.

The certificate program's first class  graduates this fall, with ventures such as clean tech, mobility aids, and eye-testing devices already benefitting from the program. The second class started in September.

Interdisciplinary undergraduate innovation courses will be offered in the new space. These include the Charles Chang Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and ChangeLab, an in-depth experiential course run in conjunction with other SFU faculties such as Environment and Health.  

The ground floor of the Charles Chang Innovation Centre will be occupied by a café, creating an opportunity to bring communities together over coffee. The café, to be operated by a third party, will open later this year.