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Calgary, Edmonton innovation groups join forces to boost Alberta as a global tech leader

Published: Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

CALGARY/EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA, Sept. 22, 2021 – Platform Calgary and Innovate Edmonton are joining forces to boost promising tech entrepreneurs in the early stages - as part of a broader vision to build on a pan-provincial innovation ecosystem and propel the province forward as a global tech powerhouse and proving ground for founders.     

After a competitive and thorough 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 pan-provincial 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; it will get them ready to advance to the scaleup/acceleration stage. 

This province-wide 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 as much as $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 comes from Innovate Edmonton.

Later this fall, Platform Calgary and Innovate Edmonton will hold a contest with the innovation community to select a permanent name for the new pre-accelerator to replace its current placeholder name.

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 Albert Pre-Accelerator allows us to do that for even more startup founders in this province.” - Dr. Terry Rock, CEO of 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, Innovate Edmonton CEO 

To be the first to hear when the naming contest launches and get updates on the program visit albertapreaccelerator.com.

To learn more about Alberta Innovates visit albertainnovates.ca.

To learn more about Innovate Edmonton visit innovateedmonton.com and startupedmonton.com.

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