Calgary and Edmonton innovation groups join forces to boost Alberta as a tech powerhouse

EDMONTON, Alberta, Sept. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Platform Calgary and Innovate Edmonton are joining forces to boost promising tech startups in the early stages – as part of a broader vision to build on a pan-provincial innovation system and propel the province forward as a global tech powerhouse and proving ground for founders.

After a competitive and thorough review process, Alberta Innovates chose the Alberta pre-accelerator as one of four proposals that will receive provincial, federal and municipal investment under an unprecedented entrepreneurial initiative for Alberta: the Alberta Innovates Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP). This program is intended to fill a scaleup gap in the province’s innovation system by helping local tech companies grow, and to attract global firms and investment to the province.

Alberta’s pre-accelerator is a collaboration between Innovate Edmonton and Platform Calgary with support from organizations within all eight regional innovation networks across the Alberta Innovation Network. The program will be free to any qualified tech startup in Alberta.

Alberta’s pre-accelerator will complement the three other chosen accelerators by delivering business support and advice to qualified founders, entrepreneurs and startups in the early stages of their company’s development; getting them ready to advance to the scaleup/acceleration stage.

This provincewide initiative will offer in-person business development programming in Edmonton for startups in the northern part of the province and in Calgary for startups in the southern half. Online programming will be available for founders unable to travel to these two cities.

Special attention will be given to recruiting coaches and mentors who reflect the diversity of Alberta’s population. Governance of Alberta’s pre-accelerator will include member organizations that advocate for underserved tech founder communities.
  
Alberta’s pre-accelerator is fueled by a funding consortium led by Alberta Innovates. All three orders of government are investing about $35 million for the overall accelerator program, which includes global accelerators also establishing in Alberta. Alberta Innovates received funding from the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation to lead and manage the overall Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program. The Government of Canada, through Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), has invested in the Alberta Innovates program to expand funds available to not-for-profit business accelerators. At the municipal level, funding is coming from Innovate Edmonton.

QUOTES

“The Alberta pre-accelerator is an exceptional opportunity for startups in the early stages of their client journey, and a huge step forward in fostering a pan-Alberta innovation system for the benefit of all Albertans. We are so pleased the Regional Innovation Networks are further strengthening their collaborations as well as the Alberta Innovation Corridor, by providing unified accelerator programming that encompasses Edmonton, Calgary and all parts of the province. Alberta Innovates has championed the accelerator program to create a critical mass of entrepreneurial activity that will put Alberta on the global stage as a technology leader.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“Through the Alberta pre-accelerator, we can extend the startup-focused resources and programming of Platform Calgary and our partners to the whole of southern Alberta. The Alberta pre-accelerator is a powerful tool to help us diversify our economy, create new and meaningful jobs of the future, and increase prosperity for all Albertans. Part of our mandate is to throw open the doors of the innovation ecosystem to welcome everyone–especially traditionally underrepresented communities–into Alberta’s tech economy, and the Alberta Pre-Accelerator allows us to do that for even more startup founders in this province.”

Dr. Terry Rock, CEO, Platform Calgary

“Innovation is a team game and our partnership with Platform Calgary to build Alberta’s pre-accelerator is game changing. Together with the regions, we’ll ensure that Alberta-based tech entrepreneurs get the support they need to grow and prepare them for long-term success with sales, customers and strategic investors.”

Catherine Warren, CEO, Innovate Edmonton

BACKGROUND & FAQs:

Q: Who is eligible to participate?

A: This program is open to applicants from anywhere in Alberta, and may also attract global participants. Companies will be selected according to the criteria set by Alberta’s pre-accelerator.

Q: Why should we fund non-Alberta companies?

A: One of the goals is to highlight Alberta capability to the world and make Alberta a preferred technology destination for entrepreneurs and investment. We want to attract Alberta and eligible global companies to Alberta to strengthen the provincial innovation ecosystem, and provide access to global collaborations and capital.

Q: Is there a fee to apply?

A: There will be no fees to apply or participate.

Q: How will the Alberta pre-accelerator help startups?

A: It will harmonize the delivery of early stage and pre-acceleration activities across Alberta. It will help startups with activities that get them to first sale and qualify them for downstream accelerators and scaleup. These include such activities as: developing prototypes and customer profiles, validating business models, developing an intellectual property strategy, and helping startups develop and polish their pitch.

Q: Who will deliver the programming?

A: Alberta pre-accelerator programming will be provided by Platform Calgary and Innovate Edmonton staff and select partners. The mix of delivery staff and partners will vary over the 3 year duration of the program to ensure the best possible support to startups accepted into it.

About Alberta Innovates
Alberta Innovates is the province’s largest and Canada’s first provincial research and innovation agency. For a century we have worked closely with researchers, companies and entrepreneurs – trailblazers who built industries and strengthened communities. Today we are pivoting to the next frontier of opportunity in Alberta and worldwide by driving emerging technologies across sectors. We are a provincial corporation delivering seed funding, business advice, applied research and technical services, and avenues for partnership and collaboration. Learn how Alberta Innovates.

About Platform Calgary
Platform Calgary brings together the resources of Calgary’s tech ecosystem to help startups launch and grow at every step of their journey, from ideation through to scale. We focus on making all parts of Calgary’s startup ecosystem better resourced, connected, efficient, effective, and prominent.

Through collaboration and targeted programming within a purpose-built home for innovators—the Platform Innovation Centre—we are a hub for a community focused on inclusive tech-led economic diversification and job creation. Learn more about Platform Calgary at PlatformCalgary.com.

About Innovate Edmonton
Headquartered in Alberta’s capital city, Innovate Edmonton leverages, unites, and promotes home-grown innovation as a gateway to solving the world’s most pressing problems. We harness the power of the public and private sectors, ground-breaking academic research, and purpose-driven investment to build a shared prosperity and open international markets. From sustainable climate solutions to public health and digital education, Edmonton is a leading global centre for inspiration, ingenuity, and inclusion. Learn more about Innovate Edmonton and Startup Edmonton, a division of Innovate Edmonton.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/336ebb1a-966a-48fe-9159-f1b562e7428c


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