Photo Credit: Alberta Innovates

NEWS RELEASE

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – September 23, 2021 – Business accelerators with global reach are setting up shop in Alberta to power new growth and opportunities in the province’s burgeoning tech startup sector.

The accelerators are experienced in vaulting promising startups through scaleup and growth by providing intensive mentoring, networking, access to capital and other opportunities. They are key to positioning Alberta as a global technology and innovation hub to diversify the provincial economy, create growth, jobs and a knowledge workforce for the future.

The four successful candidates were chosen from 64 proposals submitted to Alberta Innovates’ request for proposals announced last March.

The selected accelerators:

  • Alberta Accelerator by 500 – 500 Global, one of the world’s most active venture capital firms, is launching a one-of-a-kind accelerator to nurture seed-stage tech companies in Alberta. The goal is to support Alberta Innovates in strengthening an Alberta innovation corridor which encompasses Edmonton, Calgary and rural Alberta. Alberta Accelerator by 500 will alternate their operations between the hubs of Edmonton and Calgary.
  • Plug and Play Alberta – Plug and Play connects startups with international corporations to bring technology to market faster. They will offer sector-agnostic and sector-based accelerator programs in digital health and sustainable clean resources across the province, with their main Alberta office in Calgary and a satellite office in Edmonton.
  • Community Safety and Wellness powered by Alchemist – A public/private consortium from Edmonton has partnered with Alchemist Accelerator to provide services to ventures using artificial intelligence in the social sector. This accelerator will be based in Edmonton and intends to export digital solutions globally.
  • Alberta Pre-Accelerator – To be launched later this year, the Alberta pre-accelerator is an unprecedented realignment, harmonization and expansion of startup supports for founders anywhere in Alberta, with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. In partnership with Alberta Innovates, this merit-based pre-accelerator is being developed and delivered by Platform Calgary and Innovate Edmonton, with support from partners and organizations across the Alberta Innovation Network.

500 Global, Plug and Play and Alchemist Accelerator are all rooted in Silicon Valley with multinational operations, corporate and government customers, investments and alumni around the world.

Each accelerator brings a unique program to Alberta to support entrepreneurs and startups at different stages in the client journey, so they will complement each other in serving the Alberta innovation ecosystem. Together, these accelerators are intended to fill a scaleup gap that exists for local startups and capitalize on Alberta’s strengths. The programs are also intended to attract global firms, technologies and investments to the province.

All three orders of government – provincial, federal and municipal – have come together to support this unprecedented initiative developed and managed by Alberta Innovates through its Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP).

Governments are investing as much as $35 million in the initiative. This includes funding from the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation to Alberta Innovates 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, the initiative will also include Innovate Edmonton and the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF).

In addition, a separate accelerator was announced in June to scale high-potential startups in the agrifood sector. The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Olds College and Alberta Innovates are providing up to $2.5 million dollars to support the establishment of SVG Ventures | THRIVE’S Canadian subsidiary with its headquarters located in Calgary.

QUOTES:

“Accelerators will fill a gap in our province’s tech sector. They’ll create new companies that will generate investment and hundreds of jobs across Alberta, in sectors ranging from agriculture, energy, health care, finance and beyond.”

– Hon. Doug Schweitzer, Alberta Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“This level of accelerator scaleup and growth has never before been undertaken in Alberta with this quality and scope of global programming. It’s a momentous opportunity for entrepreneurs. In addition to helping Alberta-based tech companies scale and grow faster, we are highlighting Alberta’s capability to the world, attracting international firms and investment and create a global mindset in our provincial ecosystem. Bringing these top-of-class accelerators with their proven expertise, capital and connections will help Alberta become a choice destination for innovation, entrepreneurship and technology investment.

– Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“Accelerators bring people together to create global opportunities, open international sales channels, boost significant investment and position Alberta’s entrepreneurs on the world stage. Together, these accelerators ensure that our high-potential companies have the end-to-end supports that they need for growth – from concept to commercialization and from pitching to closing – as they prepare to collaborate and compete in today’s impact economy.”  

 – Catherine Warren, CEO, Innovate Edmonton

“As we work to develop a diverse economy driven by innovation in Calgary and Alberta, there is a critical role for leading business accelerators to collaborate with existing local stakeholders to support local entrepreneurs and emerging companies that are applying technology to solve global challenges. These accelerators will increase the pace of scaling and success for our next generation of companies that will drive both economic growth and diversification.”

– Mark Blackwell, Executive Chair, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund

BACKGROUND/FAQs:

Business accelerators are a tool to help companies scale and grow at a quicker rate. An accelerator provides an intensive learning experience for cohorts of selected businesses, where accomplished mentors compress years of experiential learning into a few months. They also often provide access to investment capital.

The overall objectives of the Alberta Innovates Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program are to:

  • Build Alberta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem capacity by recognizing technology and innovation scaleup potential in the province.
  • Increase the number of new Alberta scalable junior tech companies.
  • Improve business maturity.
  • Create Alberta jobs.
  • Increase new Alberta technology company revenue.
  • Increase follow-on investment (investment attraction).
  • Bring a global mindset to the Alberta ecosystem, and create opportunities for international linkages and collaboration.
  • Transform Alberta into a recognized tech innovation hub that attracts global firms and investment.

For more information, contact:

Dwayne Brunner
Senior Manager, Media & Strategic Community Relations
Alberta Innovates

587-572-4091
Dwayne.Brunner@albertainnovates.ca

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 Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan)

Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) is the federal department that supports economic growth in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Its programs and services help businesses, not-for-profits and communities grow stronger. Its mandate is to support economic growth and diversification in the Prairie provinces and advance the interests of the region in national economic policy, programs and projects.

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 program division of Innovate Edmonton.

About OCIF

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary in 2018 to support catalytic investments within the city to help diversify and transform the economy. The fund is administered by Calgary Economic Development and has a volunteer Board of Directors. For more information, visit our website.