Alberta’s government is investing in networks that support startup businesses by helping them bring their products to market.

NEWS RELEASE

Alberta’s technology and innovation sector is an important part of the government’s efforts to diversify the economy. The Alberta Innovation Network plays a strategic role in helping to ensure that Alberta innovators and entrepreneurs have access to the supports they need to be able to bring their products and solutions to the market and grow their businesses. 

“Alberta has some of the most ambitious and industrious entrepreneurs anywhere. We want to ensure they can get connected with regional innovation networks where they can draw on world-renowned business and technical experts to accelerate the growth of their businesses, diversify the economy and create jobs.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

The Alberta Innovation Network was established in 2008 and includes eight regional innovation networks (RIN). These community-based organizations have helped 7,000 innovators, entrepreneurs and companies, leading to 354 new innovations to date.

Each RIN helps small and startup technology firms bring their products and solutions to market. They do this by creating a network of programs and services to accelerate the growth of technology-based and knowledge-based businesses. They provide small and medium-sized enterprises with coaching, business advice, technical expertise, connections and access to capital.

“Through the Regional Innovation Networks, Alberta Innovates has brought together the power of a network of strong regional supports across the province to create opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises, entrepreneurs and innovators to be successful.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

The province will invest $18.7 million over three years in the eight regional innovation networks to foster and support high-potential startups and entrepreneurs, help diversify the economy and create jobs.

“At Wash-Bots, we are designing new technologies for the operations and maintenance of servicing large-scale utility-grade solar installations. Through ERIN (Edmonton Regional Innovation Network), we have been able to access coaches to help us navigate managing our intellectual property and product development as we move from prototype to patent-pending, and now manufacturing and commercialization. We’re excited to see more funding coming into our community that provides entrepreneurs with local experts we can lean on to help us launch and scale businesses from Alberta.”

Carrie Nystrom, co-founder, Wash-Bots

Quick facts

  • Regional Innovation Networks started as part of the 2008 provincial Action Plan for Bringing Technology to Market.?
  • Regional innovation networks connect and provide supports to more than 1,600 technology entrepreneurs from around the province every year.
  • Originally, there were three such networks. Today, there are eight.
  • The $18.7 million will be distributed as follows:
    • Calgary Innovation Coalition, $6,946,000
    • Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network, $1,638,000
    • Edmonton Regional Innovation Network, $4,888,500
    • East Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network, $787,500
    • Wood Buffalo Regional Innovation Network. $735,000
    • Grande Prairie Regional Innovation Network, $778,500
    • APEX: Southeast Alberta Regional Innovation Network, $1,785,000
    • The Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta, $1,171,700
  • Each community has a governance committee that decides how the program funding will be used to best reach the outcomes. Members of the governance committees include local members from post-secondary institutions, Community Futures, local economic development offices, tourism, and entrepreneurs.