Innovation Fund

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Anil Kumar Vinayak in front of a bank of batteries
Anil Kumar Vinayak in front of a bank of batteries
Anil Kumar Vinayak in front of a bank of batteries

Ready to Ignite?

Are you faculty, staff, a student or grad looking to fund your startup’s next big move? Connect with us today to explore how the Innovation Fund can accelerate your growth. For successful applicants, we offer:

  • a founder- and faculty-friendly approach;
  • access to initial and follow-on funding;
  • opportunities for shared learning as a cohort;
  • engagement in supportive programming essential for success;
  • scale-up and go-to-market supports through access to local and global networks.

Reach out today

About the Fund

The opportunities and challenges of today’s world are dynamic and fast-moving. Meanwhile, startups and other innovators face key hurdles in accessing crucial early capital and the supportive environment they need to thrive. Through the visionary support of donors, the University of Alberta Innovation Fund brings to bear new funding opportunities alongside a supportive community of educators, mentors and champions.

Returns are reinvested back into the Fund to promote an entrepreneurial mindset and culture, and to provide educational opportunities that further accelerate investment. The result is a self-growing fund that also advances commercialization through a collaborative cohort, go-to-market supports and other essential programming.

Together, we’re speeding the pace of innovation and launching Alberta ideas to the global stage.


Translate innovative research from the bench to the marketplace.


Advance society, create new jobs and diversify the economy.


Grow a collaborative culture with entrepreneurs, researchers and change-makers.


Enable students to become our next generation of entrepreneurial leaders.

World-changing discoveries are not new to the U of A, and we know that market-ready ideas need funding and supports to succeed. The U of A Innovation Fund ensures the world doesn't miss out on advancements that will power tomorrow's industries and improve our daily lives.

President Bill Flanagan

Bill Flanagan
Researcher Clover Bench works at computer in a barn with cows
Researcher Clover Bench works at computer in a barn with cows
Researcher Clover Bench works at computer in a barn with cows

Apply for Funding

We are now accepting expressions of interest; the full application is coming soon.

Criteria for funding:

  • open to undergraduates and graduate students, faculty, staff, and U of A alumni
  • addresses a challenge that will result in positive social impact, while leveraging our sector focus areas of excellence
  • unconstrained growth potential in a large market
  • diverse team and board

We are seeking early-stage technology ventures looking to embark on the next stage of their innovation journey. Are you ready to ignite?

Submit your expression of interest

Fuelled by Philanthropy

The University of Alberta Innovation Fund is fuelled through the generous support of our Founding Donors. Thank you to the donors whose passion for innovative, Alberta-made solutions has made launching the Innovation Fund possible.

  • Alfred Sorensen
  • Broadfoot Family Foundation
  • Cathy Allard Roozen
  • Darin Rayburn
  • Gregory E Abel
  • In Memory of Mac & Mattie McCullough
  • Jessie Klam
  • Paulette and Tony Lashuk
  • Reza Mostashari
  • Rohit Sharma
  • Verhesen Family
Linglong Kong, newly appointed Canada CIFAR Chair in AI, sitting at his desk

Champions and Change-Makers

The University of Alberta is one of the world’s top 100 universities and top five in Canada. Our reach goes far beyond our campuses — U of A grads have founded more than 70,000 organizations that collectively generate an estimated $348.5 billion in revenue annually and employ 1.5 million people worldwide.

An Alberta-wide network — including the U of A ecosystem and other community partners — provides the supportive backdrop needed to help founders grow their new ventures at all stages. Learn more about innovation at the University of Alberta.

Jane Yardley measuring patient's blood glucose levels

Get Involved

Are you a grad or community member who wants to support the fund as a donor or mentor?

Connect with us today and help us bridge the gap to enable innovative technology startups to ignite their next big idea.

Reach out to get involved

Board of Directors

The Innovation Fund is governed by an independent Board of Directors.

Darin Rayburn, Board ChairDoug Goss, SecretaryBill Flanagan, TreasurerPaul Verhesen, Board Member

About the Fund's CEO

Sheetal Mehta Walsh

Sheetal Mehta Walsh has extensive global executive leadership experience in investing, technology, and social enterprise. She is a founder, investor in several startups and serves on various boards. Highlights of her career include: serving as Chief Strategy Officer, Ministry for Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Gov’t of Alberta Canada; Deal Maker, UK Government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme where she facilitated 1 billion GBP in fundraising and mentored 900 global companies by presenting master classes in entrepreneurship in EMEA and the Americas; created and implemented the first Global VC Relations mission at Microsoft; President of Shanti Life a global microfinance not-for-profit assisting vulnerable people with financial literacy and entrepreneurial skill sets for sustainable living; Director, WestLB Investment Bank, UAE and Gulf Region.

She is a two-time TEDx speaker on entrepreneurship and has provided keynotes at the House of Lords (UK), Doha Forum, Berkeley Haas Business School, Stanford, University College Dublin and London School of Economics where she completed her Masters and University of Alberta, where she completed her undergraduate degree. In addition, she has attended MIT Management Sloan School and has received the ICD.D designation.

Sheetal has been recognized for social entrepreneurship by the Kind and Cherie Blair; Management Today Top 35 Under 35 UK; Women in Business by Her Majesty The Queen and Alumni Award of Excellence University of Alberta.

Student-Led Operations Team

The Innovation Fund is powered by a multidisciplinary team of students from the University of Alberta. Thank you to the following students who make the Fund’s operations possible.

  • Sara Moore – Head of Operations (Faculty of Science)
  • Alexandra Wilson – Deal Flow Specialist (Faculty of Science)
  • Nolan Zurek – Technology Lead (Faculty of Science)
  • Jenna Allarie – Marketing and Communications (Faculty of Business)
  • Mariia Valiieva – Marketing and Communications (Faculty of Business)
  • Jillian Seuss – Marketing and Communications (Faculty of Business)
  • Jude Barros – Ecosystem Analyst (Faculty of Arts)
  • Ryan Hiscock – Deal Flow Scout (Faculty of Science)
  • Mahek Seth – Financial Advisor (Faculty of Business)
  • Ishan Arora – Financial Advisor (Faculty of Business)