NEWS RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2021 – Alberta’s drive to diversify the economy is getting a boost as four world-class business accelerators will help promising startups grow.

Business and technology accelerators provide education, mentorship, a network of large corporations and access to capital to help startups bring their products to market faster.

“Business and technology accelerators provide education, mentorship, a network of large corporations and access to capital to help startups bring their products to market faster.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

Creating jobs and increasing business revenue

The four accelerators, including 500 Global, Plug and Play, the Alberta Pre-Accelerator and the Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator powered by Alchemist, are part of the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program that is run by a consortium led by Alberta Innovates.

The consortium, which also includes Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Innovate Edmonton, the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund and Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), allocated $35 million over three years to retain business accelerators. It’s part of an overall government goal to help create 20,000 jobs and increase technology firm revenue to $5 billion by 2030.

“Having four world-class accelerators set up in Alberta bodes well for our up-and-coming entrepreneurs, who can now take their businesses to the next level. Having access to these business accelerators will help our tech sector grow rapidly.”

Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for Small Business and Tourism

“These accelerators bring together new sources of knowledge, capital and market connections to accelerate entrepreneurial business growth at scale, regardless of sector or stage of company.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“Innovation is a team game and accelerators bring people together to create global opportunities, open international sales channels, boost significant investment and position Alberta’s entrepreneurs on the world stage. High-potential companies will 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. Our partnership with Platform Calgary to build Alberta’s pre-accelerator is game-changing. Together with the regions, we’ll ensure the innovation ecosystem welcomes everyone – especially traditionally underrepresented communities – into Alberta’s tech economy.”

Catherine Warren, CEO, Innovate Edmonton

“The CSW Accelerator powered by Alchemist will leverage robust and rich community data and community service organizations as domain experts, pilot sites and first-paying customers. The Edmonton Police Foundation, with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), the University of Alberta, Telus, ATB Financial, Motorola and others, are excited to partner to make significant change in this space. Ultimately, the digital solutions generated by this program will create positive social impact, improve lives, and create and nurture a more livable and investable city and share our solutions, globally. It’s Alberta’s opportunity to showcase our ingenuity in ESG and help solve our community’s most challenging opportunities.”

Ashif Mawji, board chair, Edmonton Police Foundation, on behalf of the CSW Accelerator partnership

“We are committed to becoming a central pillar of Alberta’s economy through establishing and building a long-term presence and an integrated, collaborative system. This will not only attract top technology and investment to the region but will drive innovation and help Alberta entrepreneurs to scale and grow.”

Saeed Amidi, CEO and founder, Plug and Play

“We are excited to expand our footprint in Canada through this program, a first of its kind in the province. We are eager to bring our growth playbook and curriculum to the Alberta Innovation Corridor to support local startups during this important phase in their journey. We look forward to partnering with Alberta Innovates and the program’s contributing partners to build a leading epicentre for technology, innovation, entrepreneurship and investment.”

Bedy Yang, managing partner, 500 Global

“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, chair of the board of directors, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund

Quick facts

  • 500 Global is a venture-capital firm that invests in founders building fast-growing technology companies.
    • 500 Global has backed more than 6,000 founders representing more than 2,500 companies operating in 77 countries.
    • Its portfolio has delivered outsized performance, including 33 companies valued at more than $1 billion and 120 companies valued at more than $100 million.
    • 500 Global has 140-plus team members located in more than 15 countries who bring experience as entrepreneurs, investors and operators from some of the world’s leading technology companies.
  • The Alberta Pre-Accelerator is a collaboration between Platform Calgary and Innovate Edmonton, with support from organizations in the Alberta Innovation Network.
    • This provincewide initiative will deliver business support and advice to qualified founders, entrepreneurs and startups in the early stages of their company’s development.
    • Special attention will be given to recruiting coaches and mentors who reflect the diversity of Alberta’s population.
    • Governance of Alberta Pre-Accelerator will include member organizations that advocate for underserved tech founder communities.
  • Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator powered by Alchemist is a first-of-a-kind global accelerator to grow ventures in the community safety and wellness space, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Plug and Play Alberta brings together game-changing ideas from different industries and countries onto one platform to solve the world’s greatest energy and natural resource challenges.