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INNOVATE EDMONTON

ABOUT INNOVATE EDMONTON

Innovate Edmonton, formed in May 2020 by Edmonton’s City Council and led by an independent Board, is mandated to champion innovation in Edmonton.

With Edmonton one of the youngest and fastest-growing cities in Canada, innovation plays a crucial role in shaping a diverse, resilient, and creative economy.

The future of Edmonton’s economy will benefit from creative entrepreneurs and traditional industries engaged in digital, environmental and social transformation.

This new non-profit entity has an exceptional opportunity to support and guide the innovation community to build, prosper and make a difference here and internationally

Edmonton was founded on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people. Innovate Edmonton recognizes and acknowledges the ongoing contributions and impact of First Peoples, whose presence enriches our thriving community.

 

Latest News

Partner News: Global Edmonton launches "THIS IS THE EDMONTON REGION" video 

We are proud to be part of sharing the story of our region. Listen as local industry leaders share just a few of the things that make the Edmonton region a great place to live, work and do business. #yeg #YoungEducatedGrowing #Alberta #Canada #invest  Launch Video

 

Innovate Edmonton names Catherine Warren as new Chief Executive Officer

Entrepreneur and investment catalyst tapped to lead new venture
dedicated to innovation, community-building, funding, and global positioning

Innovate Edmonton’s Board of Directors has recruited media-tech, investment and entrepreneurial powerhouse Catherine Warren as its new CEO. Warren’s comprehensive understanding of digital and sustainable economies, long standing service to major Canadian innovation funds and leadership in top startup ecosystems will be powerful assets for Innovate Edmonton and its partners.

To champion innovation in Edmonton, Edmonton’s City Council approved Innovate Edmonton’s formation and confirmed $5M in annual funding, following an extensive community consultation.

“This pandemic has stressed that innovation and diversification will be essential to building a more resilient economy. I’m glad Innovate Edmonton has selected an entrepreneurial CEO with a global approach to join our community. Thanks to the Board’s efforts, we welcome Catherine as a convener and change-maker in this new role,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

Warren reports to the Chair of Innovate Edmonton’s independent Board of prominent business and investment stakeholders. Chosen in a competitive national search, she brings to the table an extensive international network and distinguished career contributions to Canada’s business, finance, academic and community-engagement ecosystems.

“Catherine will launch and lead our new organization with the right blend of start-up business, high-impact investment and city-building acumen,” said Board Chair Naseem Bashir. “Now is a critical time for Edmonton and the world as we tackle major challenges that need innovative solutions. Catherine’s inventiveness, risk-taking and collaborative vision unanimously impressed Innovate Edmonton’s Board as a great match for our city’s spirit, strengths and positioning.”

Moving ahead, Warren will build a team focused on supporting Edmonton’s entrepreneurs, impact businesses, universities, cultural organizations, First Nations and other groups, united in growing Edmonton’s innovation economy and positioning Edmonton on the global stage. To reinforce the city’s climate resilience goals, Innovate Edmonton will also help companies making significant advances in clean energy, decarbonization, and green buildings. Additionally, it will support many others engaged in the resource economy’s “just transition,” where no opportunities are left unchecked.

“I am incredibly honoured to join a community of experimentalists, thinkers and disruptors as we take on the world’s greatest innovation challenges — from health to sustainability to social equality — where Edmonton’s leadership and values shine, and are needed most,” said CEO Warren. “As a start-up and venture catalyst, Innovate Edmonton is embarking on an exciting trajectory at a pivotal time. I look forward to building collaborative relationships and making real gains together for innovation across all sectors and communities.”

Catherine Warren Biography
Living and working in Canada, the US, UK and Europe, Warren has served as a C-suite executive for publicly-traded companies, academic institutions and government-business enterprises.

Most recently, as Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver Economic Commission, she led the team in attracting $3B in foreign direct investment to the region, with a portfolio including the Vancouver Film Commission, the world’s largest animation and visual effects sector, smart cities technologies such as AI, 5G and quantum computing and the green and impact economies.

In more than two decades as a tech advisor, Warren’s track-record includes mergers and acquisitions for digital distribution and digital IP, raising capital and liquidity events for tech companies, consulting to national media funds, hedge funds, crowdfunds and coaching executives on strategic growth and monetization. Earlier in her career, she was the start-up COO of a broadcast software company that she and her partners took to the Nasdaq and grew to a $300M market cap.

Warren has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, with a focus on climate change, and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York, where she did her original thesis work onsite at MIT covering the launch of its digital Media Lab.

Connect with Catherine Warren

 

Recent News

Chair Appointment: July 2020

Board Appointments: August 2020

CEO Appointment: December 2020

Board Members

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Naseem Bashir, Board Chair

President and CEO of Williams Engineering Canada and Chairman of the Board for the Williams Group of Companies.

LinkedIn Profile

Naseem Bashir is the President and CEO of Williams Engineering Canada and Chairman of the Board for the Williams Group of Companies. In his role as President, Naseem develops strategy and executes on a well-developed business plan. Naseem oversees the Senior Leadership team which is made up of the Vice President Finance as well as the Regional Directors from Alberta, and British Columbia, and Managers from Human Resources, Marketing, and IT. Naseem is an active member of WPO Alberta as well as a Director of the Edmonton International Airport and a Director of the Waste RE Solutions Edmonton.

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Ashlyn Bernier

COO, Social Asset Management at samdesk.

LinkedIn Profile

Ashlyn is Chief Operating Officer at samdesk, where they harness the power of artificial intelligence to provide real time intelligence on emergency and disruptive events globally. Having worked for and with technology startup companies for the past decade, she loves the challenge and speed of working with high-growth companies. Ashlyn has an MBA in Technology Commercialization from University of Alberta as well as a Doctorate of Philosophy in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology also from University of Alberta. She can be found dedicating her spare time to causes and initiatives such as the Rapid Fire Theatre Board of Directors, and the Edmonton Advisory Council on Startup’s.

What does innovation mean to you?

“Innovation is a mindset, a way of looking at the world around you. It's not something that can be strategized into - it's a part of an organization's culture more than its business plan.”

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Joanne Fedeyko

Founder and CEO at Connection Silicon Valley

LinkedIn Profile

As a founder and a CEO, Joanne helps companies collaborate, connect, innovate and partner with Silicon Valley's world-renowned technology ecosystem. Connection Silicon Valley is centered around bringing better innovation to Canada by helping startups and large corporations leverage the best of innovation from Silicon Valley. Joanne was a pioneer in supporting women in tech, forming the Canadian Women’s Network in the Valley to advise female founders and help women in technology roles gain deeper connections into Silicon Valley. Joanne

has served as the Executive Director of C100 Association, a non-profit dedicated to helping Canadian entrepreneurs connect into Silicon Valley. Joanne is a Certified Management Accountant.

What does innovation mean to you?

“Innovation for me starts with an open mindset. It means continually looking for new and improved ways to do things that makes people, processes and the planet better, more efficient, safe and more sustainable.”

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Aaryn Flynn

Studio Founder and General Manager, North America at Improbable

LinkedIn Profile

Aaryn Flynn is a games industry veteran associated with many of the most successful games and franchises produced by Bioware, which he joined after leaving university and where he worked of 17 years. While at Bioware, he oversaw Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Anthem, and more. Flynn then took his considerable talents to Improbable, leading the development of tools and showcasing demonstrative content for SpatialOS with some world-class developers. Aaryn has an MBA from Cornell University.

What does innovation mean to you?

“The solving of problems in a new way. It doesn't need to be costly, or long-term, or "big". Just a fitting solution to a vexing challenge! The best innovations just seem to make so much sense once they arrive, we think, "Well of course!"

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Farza Haider Alvi

Assistant Professor of Innovation Finance at Athabasca University

Dr Haider Alvi is a former corporate financier turned academic and company director. Having grown up in North America, he has worked in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. He has also held academic appointments at EGADE Business School (Tec de Monterrey, Mexico City campus) and Schulich School of Business (York University, Toronto). Dr. Alvi’s research investigates innovation finance, examining the individual agency and entrepreneurial orientations exhibited in high-growth firms, and the adaptation of strategy to volatile contexts. Dr. Alvi holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School, an MBA from the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management, and a JD from Indiana University, Bloomington.

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Shaheel Hooda

Managing Partner at Sprout Fund

Executive in Residence, TEC Edmonton TELUS Accelerator

LinkedIn Profile

Shaheel is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. In addition to his current role as Executive in Residence and Program Director for TEC Edmonton’s TELUS Accelerator, Shaheel served as an early investor in and board member of Login Radius, a high-growth Software as a Service (SaaS) company. Shaheel has previously served as CEO of two high growth Canadian software startups, Director of Business Development at a U.S. enterprise software company, and former strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. He has been involved in starting or running more than 15 startup businesses to date, has actively advised hundreds of startups entrepreneurs and has been involved in raising over $100 million in capital. He holds an MBA (Entrepreneurial Finance) from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Commerce (Distinction) from the University of Alberta. In 2016 he was awarded the Entrepreneur Promotion award from the Startup Canada organization.

What does innovation mean to you?

“Looking at the world and seeing the future, then figuring out how to get there against all the odds.”

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Nicole Janssen

Co-Found and Co-CEO at Altaml Inc

LinkedIn Profile

Nicole Janssen is Co-Founder & Co-CEO at AltaML Inc. and Co-Founder & CEO of Janalta Interactive, both based out of Edmonton, Alberta. In two and a half years AltaML has grown rapidly from a handful of people to nearly 100 employees in three cities, prompting an expansion of its headquarters that reflects and support its evolution from startup to scaleup. Nicole considers herself to be a serial entrepreneur and is recognized for her plethora of ideas, seemingly at a moment’s notice. She is a valued mentor who also believes in giving back to the community, serving as the Chair on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta.

What does innovation mean to you?

“Innovation is hard. Full stop. The biggest risk though comes from not innovating.”

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Sheetal Mehta Walsh

Founder and Board Member at Shanti Life

LinkedIn Profile

Sheetal is an entrepreneur, angel investor and social entrepreneur. In 2009 she founded Shanti Life, a microfinance organization that helps the poor in India build sustainable businesses and access sanitation through microfinance. Since 2006, Sheetal has served as Deal Maker (by appointment) for the Global Entrepreneur Programme, Department for International Trade (UK Government) where she attracts entrepreneurs into the UK so that they can build global networks through Deal Maker networks. She serves on various boards including MetaCert a mobile security startup and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. In addition, Sheetal provides advisory services to socially conscious technology companies so that they can access smart venture capital, corporate partnering, global expansion and pr. She sits on several advisory boards in this capacity including MetaCert, which specialises in content classification to help protect children from unsuitable content on the web. She has a Master’s Degree in International Relations (Economics) at the London School of Economics and a BA (Honors) in International Politics at the University of Alberta, Canada.

What does innovation mean to you?

"Innovation presents solutions to problems but it also catapults users into the future to innovate further and think differently. Innovation is about impacting communities positively."