Our Story


The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) was made possible by the vision of two prominent Canadian leaders: Sheldon Levy and Jack Cockwell.

As a former President of Ryerson University, Sheldon had overseen an explosion of innovation and entrepreneurial talent within the university. He saw the need to continue to translate these successes to a larger, national stage. Inspired by best-in-class examples like Nesta in the United Kingdom and the Kauffman Foundation in the United States, he recognized the potential for a policy-focused institute with a mandate to support innovation and entrepreneurship across Canada.

As a long-time collaborator of Sheldon and a strong supporter of Ryerson, Jack Cockwell, along with the Brookfield Partners Foundation, helped turn this vision into reality by providing a generous $16 million donation to seed the institute.

The new Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship was announced in early 2015 and quickly started the process of building its team, taking on projects and topics and gearing up for a public launch in June 2016.

Finally, both Sheldon and Jack share a special commitment to helping young people succeed, spurred by a belief that this is the most effective way we can shape our future for the better. While the institute focuses on all aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship, it endeavours to provide special attention to youth-focused problems, educational partnerships, programs and initiatives.

From left to right: Sean Mullin (BII+E Executive Director), Jack Cockwell (Honorary Governor, Ryerson University), Sachin Shah (BII+E Advisory Board Member), Mohamed Lachemi (Ryerson University President), Janice Fukakusa (BII+E Advisory Board Member), Sheldon Levy (BII+E Honorary Chair), Nadir Mohamed (BII+E Advisory Board Member)

Innovation + Entrepreneurship, Together

The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship has been established with a dual focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. We believe these two forces are inextricably linked and only by understanding how these forces work in concert can we unlock their true potential.

Innovation represents an improvement in the status quo: a new piece of knowledge, an enhancement in a process, a new product or a solution to an existing problem.

is the activity of pushing for this change in the status quo: by starting a new business, tackling a social challenge or pursuing new ventures within an existing organization.

In short, entrepreneurship is the conduit by which innovation produces tangible benefits for society.

Thus, only by trying to understand how innovation and entrepreneurship interact and combine to produce outcomes can we truly unlock the largest economic and social benefits for Canadians.

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