January 11, 2022 – Alberta Catalyzer, the new provincial pre-accelerator for tech-focused startups, is kicking off the new year with its official name and its inaugural cohort of 35 participating entrepreneurs from across the province. A collaboration between Platform Calgary and Innovate Edmonton, Alberta Catalyzer is providing education, mentorship, programming, and resources to help innovation-driven startup founders prepare for their next phase of growth.
“The name, Alberta Catalyzer, speaks to the power of this program to supercharge our innovation ecosystem throughout our province – it is a catalyst for the economic diversification and job creation that comes with strengthening our tech-focused economy,” said Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren. “Thanks go to the 150+ startup founders from across the province who submitted name suggestions and helped us select the winning name: Alberta Catalyzer.”
The name for the pre-accelerator was inspired by a submission from Nancy Mandaher, CFO and Co-founder of Sarcomere Dynamics, a robotics startup based in St. Albert. For seeding the chosen name, Mandaher received a $1,000 cash prize.
Over the course of the year, Alberta Catalyzer will support a target of 180 qualified founders with a program focus on prototyping, ideal customer profiling, creating a minimum viable product, and validating business models. The founders in the inaugural cohort represent food and beverage, solar energy, fintech and AI from urban and rural communities across the province and internationally looking to establish their business in Alberta.
“By combining our innovation ecosystem resources and networks, we are able to bring valuable programming, mentorship, and education to startup founders who we might not normally reach,” said Dr. Terry Rock, CEO of Platform Calgary. “Together, we are providing key building blocks for innovation-driven startup founders who are preparing for their next phase of growth. We’re helping to create Alberta’s future economy.”
Alberta Catalyzer is a free, merit-based program series dedicated to Alberta-based startup founders. Divided into three phases, and led by seasoned delivery teams in Edmonton and Calgary, it is a coordinated expansion of startup support in the province.
“The Alberta Catalyzer pre-accelerator is a huge step forward in fostering a pan-Alberta innovation system for the benefit of all Albertans,” said Alberta Innovates CEO Laura Kilcrease. “With accelerator programming encompassing Edmonton, Calgary and all parts of the province through the Regional Innovation Networks, early-stage startups now have an exceptional opportunity to advance. Alberta Innovates has championed the Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program to create a critical mass of entrepreneurial activity that will put Alberta on the global stage as a technology leader.”
“Alberta’s tech sector is growing exponentially and we’re seeing thousands of jobs created across our province,” said Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Doug Schweitzer. “Our investment in tech accelerators is off to a great start with the first cohort of startup founders in Alberta Catalyzer. The mentorship, education, and networking provided through Alberta Catalyzer will be instrumental to helping companies grow, attract investment, diversify our economy and create good jobs.”
Alberta Catalyzer is part of the Alberta Scalup and Growth Accelerator Program supported 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, allocated $35 million over three years to retain business accelerators.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support promising Alberta firms in accessing the supports and resources they need to grow, create jobs, and bring innovations to market,” said the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. “Today’s launch of Alberta Catalyzer will enable local technology entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses and reach new markets with their innovative products and services.”
Alberta Catalyzer aims to be accessible and welcoming and features coaches and mentors who reflect our diverse population.
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About the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator program
The Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP) is intended to attract Alberta and eligible global companies to strengthen the Alberta ecosystem with a global mindset and provide them access to international collaborations and capital. Scaleup GAP is run by a consortium led by Alberta Innovates. The partnership, which also includes the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Innovate Edmonton and Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), are allocating $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.
About Platform Calgary
Platform Calgary brings together the resources of Calgary’s tech ecosystem to help startups launch and grow at every step of their journey, from ideation through to scale. We focus on making all parts of Calgary’s startup ecosystem better resourced, connected, efficient, effective, and prominent.
Through collaboration and targeted programming within a purpose-built home for innovators—the Platform Innovation Centre—we are a hub for a community focused on inclusive tech-led economic diversification and job creation. Learn more about Platform Calgary at PlatformCalgary.com.
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 and inclusion, Edmonton is a leading global centre for inspiration, ingenuity, and inclusion. Learn more about Innovate Edmonton at InnovateEdmonton.com