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Driving the Canadian startup ecosystem, together: Platform Calgary and Ryerson University’s DMZ

Published: Monday, April 26th, 2021

Platform Calgary + DMZFrom coast-to coast-to-coast, Canada’s innovation economy is booming, and we have gained global recognition as a powerhouse on the global stage. Pan-Canadian collaboration and partnership is essential to driving the Canadian innovation ecosystem, and will allow Canada to not only maintain our position, but allow us to reach new heights. 

We are thrilled to announce Platform Calgary and the DMZ, Ryerson University’s tech incubator, have launched a new partnership to foster long-term collaboration between the two startup communities. With strong foundations in startup growth and entrepreneurial support, Platform Calgary and the DMZ share the same passion to support entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey.  


To gain a deeper understanding of what exactly this partnership represents, and how it will empower entrepreneurs from both cities we sat down with Director of Programs at Platform Calgary, David Yiptong, and Executive Director of the DMZ, Abdullah Snobar.

Let’s dive into it.


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What do you believe your respective community will bring to the table with this partnership? 

“Calgary is at a unique moment in its evolution to become a global tech and innovation hub. We have a large pool of highly skilled workers who are hungry to participate in, and grow, our tech economy. Matched with a government commitment to expand our innovation ecosystem gives us a powerful forward momentum.” - David Yiptong, Programs Director at Platform Calgary 

“When it comes to tech, Toronto packs a heavy punch – our city’s talent and startup growth has been recognized on the global stage. Our programming provides founders mentorship, access to capital, talent sourcing strategies, financial management, marketing and sales strategies, and more that allows them to build and scale their startup fast. Our growing community of founders, investors, industry experts and partners is what has allowed us to ensure our members can succeed.” - Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ


How will your community insights help the entrepreneurship community in Toronto/Calgary? 

“Much of Calgary’s skilled workforce is uniquely experienced in large capital projects and related project management skills. As these innovators and entrepreneurs shift into the startup realm, they are well-positioned to help ventures scale up and thrive in competitive global markets.” - David Yiptong, Programs Director at Platform Calgary 

“By sharing resources, I believe our community will be able to provide Calgarians strategic insights, valuable network connections and access to programming that will help them further progress their innovation ecosystem.” - Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ


What are you most excited for your community to gain from this partnership? How will this help your founders and community?

“We know that collaboration always yields the best results, and this partnership will be an excellent example of that. Through this partnership, we are growing our innovation ecosystem to create greater opportunity for every founder and company we serve. This means more connections between entrepreneurs and mentors with incredible experience building and growing startups. It also means creating opportunities for Calgary-based startups to participate in excellent DMZ programming such as the Black Innovation Programs and Women Founders Fast Track.” - David Yiptong, Programs Director at Platform Calgary 

“Being Canada’s corporate headquarters for energy, and oil and gas, the community is uniquely positioned to harness innovation and transform Canada’s industrial capacity. I believe the Platform Calgary community will be able to provide our founders with valuable knowledge on technological advancements in booming industries including: advanced manufacturing, energy and clean tech, and agricultural tech.” - Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ


What role does Pan-Canadian collaboration play in ensuring Canada is a global leader in startup ecosystems? 

“We will always be stronger together. Every region of this country has skills, talent, and perspective that can support the whole through collaboration. When it comes to the global innovation and tech marketplace, we are competing with other markets around the world--not across Canada. By working together, we make up for our relatively small population and become a significant global player. Collaboration strengthens Canada’s national tech and innovation ecosystem and creates a compelling brand story that benefits every Canadian tech company.”  - David Yiptong, Programs Director at Platform Calgary 

“There is not a single city or province in the country that could assure Canada’s position on the global stage. Through Pan-Canadian collaboration, we are able to bring together the best that our country has to offer. By sharing resources, thought leadership and experiences, we will be able to create shared prosperity that will benefit entrepreneurs from every corner of Canada.” - Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ


How do you envision this partnership evolving down the road?

“We are at the beginning of a partnership that will prove to be incredibly valuable for every founder and startup in our innovation ecosystem. This partnership ties together the Calgary and Toronto tech communities so that we can jointly benefit from each other’s unique strengths and perspectives. We’re thrilled to be able to provide the DMZ team with a western Canadian presence, and we look forward to bringing our startup communities closer and the results that will yield.”  - David Yiptong, Programs Director at Platform Calgary 

“Platform Calgary and the DMZ both operate with the same guiding morals; our mission is to empower entrepreneurs. With the same underlying foundations, the possibilities are truly endless. This partnership will be able to continuously progress to develop creative solutions and projects that can serve entrepreneurial communities in both Calgary and Toronto.” - Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ


Toronto and Calgary have unique startup landscapes, and have different experiences, resources and expertise. By sharing lessons learned, and providing collaborative programming, founders from both cities will be strategically positioned with a Canadian-wide lens to achieve long-term success.


Want to learn more about Platform Calagry’s programming? Click here

Want to learn more about the DMZ’s programming? Click here