SDTC provides $3M in partnership funding with SIIT to create Indigenous Innovation Accelerator

May 5, 2021

Canada has experienced a transformed economy, built on the foundations of innovation and new technology. This new reality presents a variety of challenges for Canada’s Indigenous communities. The Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) with the support of Sustainability Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is tackling this challenge by developing the first Saskatchewan innovation Incubator dedicated to empowering grassroots Indigenous entrepreneurship.  

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) helps Canadian companies develop and deploy clean technology solutions by providing entrepreneurs with the right support at the right time to advance their transformative ideas to enable a sustainable future.  

As Canada’s largest funder of cleantech SMEs, our funding gives companies the boost they need in the challenging stages of development, demonstration, and early commercialization. 

“We support entrepreneurs attempting to do extraordinary things,” said Leah Lawrence, SDTC President & CEO. “In partnering with SIIT, we look forward to working together to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to create businesses that will lead to sustainable development in every community. 

Recognizing SIIT’s leadership and experience in establishing non-traditional approaches to innovation and their foundation of relationships, SDTC is proud to partner in creation of this new initiative – The SIIT Centre for Innovation. Through an investment of $3 million for this first-of-kind pilot, the two organizations will collaborate on ways to grow indigenous entrepreneurship in Canada.   

Partnership is at the heart of what SIIT does” said Riel Bellegarde, President and CEO of SIIT. “Partnering with SDTC to create our Centre for Innovation puts Indigenous entrepreneurs at the centre of empowering our communities’ and sharing their gifts and teaching with the world.” 

In the 2021/2022 academic year SIIT will accept its first entrepreneurship students, with a focus on Sustainable land/ resource management, programs supporting community economic development, and social innovation. SIIT will engage innovation role models to gain access to experts and advisory supports in tech innovation, social enterprise, economic development and sector priorities.Through this partnership, SDTC and SIIT have a vision of the potential path for future entrepreneurs who will seek to address persistent sustainability challenges that exist within Indigenous communities today.  

“Clean technologies are important to Canada both for economic opportunities and solutions to improve sustainability. Indigenous innovators play a vital role in propelling Canada toward a cleaner, greener and more inclusive future,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “By championing clean technology through SDTC and partnering with Indigenous peoples in initiatives like this with SIIT, our government is building a clean growth future that draws on diverse approaches and talents.”