Here’s the latest on a wide range of innovation in the Edmonton region. Feel free to share it and let us know how we can improve the Blast. Let’s begin!


Prime Minister Trudeau photographed with the Innovate Edmonton team. April 12, 2022.

Hydrogen key to fuelling the future, PM says on Edmonton stop

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is bullish on the role of hydrogen in Canada’s transition from conventional oil and gas. “When I got back from my trip to Europe a few weeks ago, we immediately started digging in even further and even more ambitiously … on hydrogen, because we know how key that is to fuelling the future in zero-emission ways,” he said at a news conference hosted by Innovate Edmonton on April 12. “That’s something that Edmonton, for example, is leading strongly on.”

Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren was equally enthusiastic about the opportunity. “Edmonton is advancing the renewable energy transition and welcoming billions in hydrogen investment,” she said. “We know that private capital wants green investment. We know that green growth is economic growth, that they’re two sides of the same coin.”

The federal budget that was tabled on April 7 includes $2.6 billion in tax incentives for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), over the objections of some who are skeptical about the technology’s potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Six projects in the metro Edmonton region have been approved to determine the viability of carbon sequestration, which can be combined with hydrogen production.

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association executive director Mark Plamondon said the budget announcement “positions our region very well from a perspective of enabling companies to reach both their economic and environmental objectives.”

Trudeau also used the opportunity to emphasize a new small business tax policy that enables businesses to continue benefitting from the lower rate even as they grow and scale up.


Funding & Support for Entrepreneurship


Tech

  • Bitcoin Well signed an agreement with Beck Antiques & Jewellery, a store with locations in Edmonton and Leduc, allowing the company to make bitcoin accessible to clients. “We are pleased to add Beck to our Partner Program, which efficiently expands our customer and revenue base without having to invest additional capital,” said Bitcoin Well CEO Adam O’Brien in a release.
  • Beamdog, an Edmonton-based video game developer created by Bioware Co-Founder Trent Oster, will be acquired by the American game company Aspyr Media, which will gain parts of Beamdog’s catalogue including its first original title, MythForce. Oster said the acquisition will allow the company to focus on “building the great games we want to play while properly looking after established fan-favorite RPGs.”
  • SkillsTrader is collaborating with Women Building Futures to boost the number of female tradespeople in traditionally male-dominated jobs as a labour shortage of skilled tradespeople looms across Canada.
  • Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) advisor Jared Smith wrote a blog post about the impact of artificial intelligence on diversification in Alberta. He also invites businesses to attend and sponsor AI Week, which is happening May 24 to 27. “This annual event will build the AI talent pool, enable global connections, and amplify this vital cornerstone of Alberta’s current and future economy.”

Climate Emergency & CleanTech


Public Health


Social Impact


Bits & Pieces

  • LinkedIn’s Workforce Report for Canada indicates a faster rate of workforce growth than in the U.S. The University of Alberta ranks sixth on the list of top schools in Canada for tech talent. Edmonton saw a 1.5% increase in tech talent growth over the past 12 months, on par with the San Francisco Bay Area but less than Calgary’s list-topping 2.2%.
  • Digital Alberta, which has had a group of volunteers running its programs for over 20 years, put out a call for a full-time Executive Director. “(We) are about to kick these efforts into overdrive!” the non-profit declared on LinkedIn.
  • The City of Edmonton has launched a new place brand digital platform why.edmonton.ca, which showcases Edmonton’s businesses, people, innovations and organizations through downloadable videos, photos, stories, and facts.

Other Mentions

  • Innovation Growth Council member and Unbelts founder Claire Theaker-Brown was featured by Postmedia after her company’s products were featured on the red carpet at the 2022 Oscars.
  • “As North America’s fastest-growing tech sector, Edmonton is ready to leverage these diverse, provincewide supports. Together, we are building a global innovation capital – an inclusive city of innovators tackling urgent global challenges, attracting enlightened investment and commanding international market share,” said Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren in the provincial news release announcing the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy.
  • While visiting Innovate Edmonton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shook hands and spoke with local entrepreneurs, including SketchDeck.AI Co-Founder & CEO Daniel Kamau and Cash2Crypto‘s Co-Founder Andre Diaz.

The Blast is curated by Taproot Publishing and published by Innovate Edmonton.