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  • Writer's pictureKamloops Innovation

Kamloops Innovation’s Transition to TRU Sets the Stage for Collaborative Excellence

In the Fall of 2023, Kamloops Innovation (KI) underwent a few major changes – from the appointment of our new Executive Director, Michael Andrews, succeeding Dr. Lincoln Smith’s decade-long tenure, to our move from the North Shore location to the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) campus. For any organization, a single change can mean a lot of transitionary hiccups, but for KI, the organization is only growing stronger.  

Talks of the transition to the new location began early last year when interim executive director John Zubak, who is also the Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), was at the helm of KI.  

“The KI Board of Directors is filled with visionaries, and they recognized the need for change after COVID disrupted our existing business model. What began with COVID restrictions limiting the use of co-working spaces then turned to making such spaces not as appealing post-pandemic in our experience,” said Zubak. KI’s space was still being rented out, but our model of supporting entrepreneurs to grow into the space was slowly fading.  

At the same time, the Board also realized that they needed to clarify the vision for KI. From supporting major tech entrepreneurs to supporting entrepreneurs who are tech-enabled, the board has focused on being in a space that fosters inspiration, innovation, and opportunities for collaboration and building partnerships. This has become the focus for KI.  

“For years, we've been working and growing our relationship with TRU, with not just mentoring students, but also with the relationship we have with TRU’s research department for companies that need to access additional resources. So, we started to get into some exploratory talks with the University to see where it might make sense to collaborate. Because we already have a relationship through the TRU Generator, where we run workshops and work with students, it seemed like a natural fit. Although at TRU, we want to be sure that we remain accessible to everyone, even those outside the University campus,” Zubak added.  

Some of the synergies and benefits of being headquartered at TRU include:  

  • Enhancing collaboration with TRU faculty, researchers and fostering innovation through interdisciplinary interactions. 

  • Bridging the gap between industry and academia, connecting external companies and organizations to TRU’s expertise and resources. 

  • Building deeper connections with TRU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to provide a hub for sustainable business practices and collaborative initiatives. 

  • Strengthening customized entrepreneurship training programming and mentorship supports for students, faculty, staff and alumni. 

So far, the response from entrepreneurs, both past and present, to the transition has been nothing short of uplifting—and a fresh start for many. Thriving in an environment of perpetual change, these visionaries have eagerly embraced the move with a forward-looking spirit. The idea of a fresh location has sparked curiosity, presenting an excellent opportunity for amplified services and support. 



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