Okanagan Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna. —Image: Contributed

University opens 2 new innovation hubs in B.C.

New hub located in the city’s Innovation Centre

From wearable technology that monitors physical activity to an online rental platform, UBC entrepreneurs showcased their ideas at the opening of the Innovation UBC Kelowna Hub on Thursday.

Located in Kelowna’s Innovation Centre, the downtown facility provides a space for the UBC community to interact with the region’s innovation network. It’s one of two hubs, with the other located in Vancouver.

“For more than a century, UBC’s discoveries and spin-off companies have played key roles in advancing technology, natural resources and life sciences sectors,” said Gail Murphy, UBC’s vice-president of research and innovation.

“The Innovation UBC network will further support entrepreneurial learning and collaboration with industry and the broader community to generate local, national and global impact.”

The goal of the Innovation UBC Hubs is to combine research findings and entrepreneurial spirit to develop innovative new products, policies and practices that will improve lives around the world, according to the university.

With the help of dedicated mentors, program partners and sponsors, the Innovation UBC Kelowna Hub will support research partnerships, commercialization, knowledge exchange and entrepreneurship activities, said Phil Barker, vice-principal of research and innovation at UBC Okanagan.

“The enthusiasm and support of the community has been incredibly strong,” said Barker. “We can already see how the bold thinking of our entrepreneurs, researchers and partners is having a positive social and economic impact.”

UBC’s partnership with Accelerate Okanagan provides entrepreneurial training and support to researchers and students to create new ventures and bring their innovations to market.

“UBC has been a long-time supporter of the Okanagan tech community and a partner of Accelerate Okanagan since the beginning. The new hub at the Innovation Centre is another great example of our community-building collaboration in action. We know that success stories like Happipad and Trellis are just the beginning and we are excited to see our partnership continue to grow and strengthen the innovation ecosystem and tech sector here,” said Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan.

“Our hope is that the hub will open up new pathways to innovation in the region and beyond,” adds Barker. “We are excited to contribute to the entrepreneurial landscape.”

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