The Science Discovery Zone: Inspiring Entrepreneurship and Experiential Learning at TMU’s Science Incubator
Back in 2016, chemist Dr. Bryan Koivisto and fellow professors were seeing more and more students pitch innovative ideas, with no physical space to develop them. The university’s unique Zone Learning startup ecosystem was taking off at the time, and “learning by doing” has always been the TMU way. The Science Discovery Zone (SDZ) was soon born. Science and entrepreneurship began interfacing on campus, and Dr. Koivisto became the founding director.
Since then, the SDZ has opened its doors to students, alumni, professors, industry partners— and anyone else curious about the business of innovating. No experience required; not even a business idea. Just a spirit of exploration, readiness to embrace risk and the drive to build ideas from the ground up.
In 2018, the SDZ had a new home in the Centre for Urban Innovation and its next director. Dr. Camila Londoño — herself a bioengineering PhD and business development specialist. The community now had fresh, contemporary spaces to learn, network, brainstorm ideas and tinker in the lab and fabrication facilities.
Creativity has been diverse — from smart glasses that alert Alzheimer’s patient caregivers in an emergency to flexible, transparent solar cells that collect solar power in places other than flat rooftops. Hundreds of members have entered the startup world, pivoted into new directions, and gained transferable skills for life.