Simon Fraser University (SFU) is bringing Hanhai Zihye Investment Management Group (Hanhai) and their corporate partners to British Columbia, creating the first relationship in Western Canada with the Chinese high-tech conglomerate.

SFU President Andrew Petter and Hanhai Chairman Hanguang Wang signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Beijing this week that will lead to the launch of a Hanhai – SFU China-Canada Commercialization & Acceleration Network (C2-CAN).

C2-CAN’s mission is to support commercialization of advanced technologies originating from China and Canada. The network will connect technology innovators and entrepreneurial leaders with the people, programs and resources needed to accelerate venture growth in both countries.

“C2-CAN will enable Canadian entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to reach across international borders,” said Petter. “The accelerator program will facilitate the development of sustainable, high-growth businesses, while expanding opportunities for collaborative research and commercialization of technology.”

Innovators and start-ups participating in the program will be eligible for international soft landing assistance, including access to incubator facilities, business training, angel investors and venture capital. Semi-annual business development exchanges between Canada and China are planned starting in 2016. Participating Canadian startups will be able to access incubator facilities, services and programs at Hanhai locations in California and Germany as well as throughout China.

“We are excited to partner with SFU in this new international accelerator network,” said Wang. “The relationship will generate value and benefits for both partners by connecting entrepreneurs and innovation opportunities with investors and bigger markets in both the short and long term.”

The network is the latest initiative of SFU Innovates, Simon Fraser’s recently launched innovation and entrepreneurship strategy. It will have a presence in SFU’s new VentureLabs┬« facility in downtown Vancouver.

VentureLabs® is now the largest business accelerator in British Columbia. It serves as the west coast hub of a new pan-Canadian business accelerator network operated by SFU, Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and links internationally to Zone Startups India, a Canadian-led incubator/accelerator in Mumbai.

“International linkages like these help us take our talent, technology and transformative ideas further, faster,” says Joy Johnson, vice president, research at SFU. “They strengthen SFU’s ability to actively and meaningfully engage with the global network for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Hanhai is a high-tech conglomerate established in 2003 by science and technology experts, scholars, overseas graduates, and elites of Tsinghua University, Peking University, Renmin University, Stanford University, and others. Hanhai has established five technology incubators in China and, with 300,000 square meters of technological parks, Hanhai has linked global innovation resources to achieve cross-border acceleration. In China, C2-CAN will be based at Hanhai’s global headquarters in the famous Galaxy Soho building located in Beijing’s Dongchen District.

As part of the multi-sector C2-CAN initiative, Hanhai has also partnered with Tsinghua Holdings Co. Ltd., Jilin Ruite Environmental Protection Group and Henan New Future Investment Inc. in forming a dedicated joint venture. The China-Canada Cleantech Innovation Center will assist and invest in clean technology and other broad innovations and startups participating in the C2-CAN.

In addition to linking the network to SFU’s new VentureLabs┬« facility in Vancouver, SFU and Hanhai will explore opportunities to develop new specialized research and development facilities at SFU’s Burnaby and Surrey campuses, supporting innovation and commercialization in the clean technology and life science sectors.

The SFU Innovates strategy embeds entrepreneurship and innovation across the University. It fuels SFU’s vision to be Canada’s ‘leading engaged university’ and its goals of engaging students, engaging research and engaging communities. The C2-CAN deepens SFU’s many existing relationships in China.