EDMONTON, ALBERTA, January 25, 2022 – Innovate Edmonton has a bold vision to position Edmonton as a global innovation capital by supporting Edmonton-made solutions to global challenges. As part of this vision, and to accelerate homegrown innovation and attract strategic investment, Innovate Edmonton is announcing a new public space for operations, program delivery, co-working and events. Edmonton’s newest innovation destination is scheduled to open downtown in fall 2022 as the first home of Innovate Edmonton.

Innovate Edmonton is leasing the street-level, loft-style space located at 10107 Jasper Avenue, which will provide a highly visible and accessible home for Edmonton’s diverse and growing innovation communities. Once renovated, the 18,000+ square footprint will provide ample room for Innovate Edmonton’s operations and three program divisions, startup community members, world-class accelerators and the city’s innovation communities.

“Sustainable development, accessibility, downtown revitalization and innovation placemaking were all key considerations in selecting this new space,” said Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren. “Edmonton’s newest innovation destination aims to be an inclusive and welcoming environment for innovators in every sector, at all stages of growth, across every demographic and will reflect Edmonton’s innovation success and diversity.”

The city’s newest innovation destination will provide opportunities for innovative art installations and flexible spaces, including open collaboration workplaces, a 100-seat programming room, production studio and pitch gallery to invite the collision of ideas and collaborative partnerships. It will host events for international startups, innovative multinationals and enlightened investors interested in all that Edmonton has to offer.

“Innovate Edmonton was created by City council with a mandate of innovation and ecosystem building,” said Edmonton City Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “They play a key role in delivering on the City’s Economic Action Plan (EAP) and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The newest innovation destination will create a space for innovators to grow, create jobs, attract investment and strengthen Edmonton’s economy.” 

With its inviting street-level location, Innovate Edmonton also aims to put innovation in the public realm and create a flagship for Edmonton’s global innovation brand. Innovate Edmonton’s first home will be purpose-built to spotlight, support and convene home-grown innovators as they finance and market solutions for the world’s biggest challenges, including the climate emergency, food security, public health, digital divide, social justice and Reconciliation. 

Quotes

Melcor’s Executive Vice-President, also a Board member of Explore Edmonton, Naomi Stefura said, “Melcor is a member of the Corporate Climate Leader’s Program. We are committed to lowering our carbon footprint and to ensuring the most effective and energy-efficient operation of our buildings. We are excited to be working with Innovate Edmonton on this building renovation to create workspaces where collaboration and innovation can take place. This building will be a showcase of Edmonton’s ingenuity and innovative culture.” 

“Edmonton’s newest innovation destination will contribute to the innovation identity of our city and showcase Edmonton’s innovators as engines for solving global issues,” said Ashif Mawji, Chair of the Edmonton Police Foundation and Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator, funded in part by Innovate Edmonton. “We must demonstrate to the world the entrepreneurial power within Edmonton and how we can help deliver better social outcomes and make a difference.”

 “Startup communities thrive on the interactions among the participants,” said Zack Storms, Co-Founder, Startup TNT, an organization sponsored by Innovate Edmonton. “With this new inviting, visible gathering point, located between the venture backed scale-ups on 104th street and the world leading researchers at Amii, Innovate Edmonton will bring new life, new energy, and new innovators to our core.” 

“The vision for this new space and for Innovate Edmonton’s new home in the heart of our downtown will become an anchor for the ongoing revitalization of Jasper Ave, and we imagine it serving as a nucleus for all of the incredible innovation and economic diversification happening across our city,” said Puneeta McBryan, Executive Director, Edmonton Downtown Business Association. “We look forward to working closely with Innovate to activate the space in and around their new home and to create exciting new opportunities for new and existing businesses in Downtown Edmonton.” 

Background 

  • Since launching operations in December 2020, Innovate Edmonton has not had a physical location, with staff mainly working from home. This innovation destination is the first home of Innovate Edmonton and will play an important role in downtown revitalization and urban placemaking. 
  • With the launch of Innovate Edmonton, Startup Edmonton’s current lease expiring at the Mercer Building, the recent expansion of Scaleup Edmonton, and Accelerate Edmonton’s programs and fund, the timing was right to consider other spaces that would accommodate Edmonton’s diverse and growing innovation communities.  
  • This unanimous Board decision resulted from a thorough five-month process. Innovate Edmonton engaged CBRE to issue a formal Request for Proposal (RFP)and received proposals from three available downtown buildings.  
  • More than 200 stakeholders were invited to provide feedback and helped Innovate Edmonton to determine the type of space needed for sustainable and accessible innovation leadership. The Melcor-owned building was selected for its location, shared vision and potential.  
  • Occupancy is planned for fall 2022 and Innovate Edmonton’s team will continue mainly working from home as they have done since the organization’s inception in 2020. Startup Edmonton’s current lease at the Mercer is extended until October 2022 and will continue to offer co-working space to members and the startup community.  
  • Innovate Edmonton will work with the owners of the Mercer Building to support a smooth transition, including through referrals to prospective tenants and joint activations that lead to downtown vibrancy, entrepreneurship, and innovation placemaking. 
  • Innovate Edmonton looks forward to continuing to engage Edmontonians as final plans for the new space come together.