SFU Mechatronics systems engineering student Kevin Young works on the Team Guardian unmanned aerial vehicle during a demonstration at the Surrey Campus Thursday. The plane will be equipped with cameras to help locate ground targets from the air.

SFU Mechatronics systems engineering student Kevin Young works on the Team Guardian unmanned aerial vehicle during a demonstration at the Surrey Campus Thursday. The plane will be equipped with cameras to help locate ground targets from the air.

SFU starts high-tech incubator

Project made possible by $210,000 donation from alumnus.

Simon Fraser University is kicking off a new high-tech entrepreneurship program, thanks to a $210,000 donation from university alumnus Ken Spencer and matching grants from the province and B.C. Innovation Council (BCIC).The new Ken Spencer Entrepreneur Incubator, a component of the initiative, is a competitive academic pathway for third- and fourth-year business and applied sciences students that provides the skills, mentorship and resources to build innovative ideas and develop successful new ventures.SFU will begin with a pilot initiative in 2012, accepting 20-25 students for each of the next seven years with the goal of producing six potential companies or products annually.SFU students have designed and developed numerous innovative products, such as diagnostic tools to aid in tumor detection, the use of new designs and smart materials to improve helmet safety, and the development of fuel-efficient “smart” tires, just to name a few.Students will take a variety of courses and have access to mentors, scholarships and a product design studio. They will also produce business plans, design and prototype their products or systems, complete steps to launch a successful business and secure lead customers.For many years, Ken Spencer, an SFU alumnus and honorary degree recipient, has promoted the entrepreneurial spirit at SFU: “I am pleased to continue to work with SFU and BCIC to engage students at an earlier stage in their education, to ensure they have the resources and mentorship needed to become entrepreneurial in their thinking and strong contributors to B.C.’s high technology sector.”