Here’s the latest on a wide range of innovation in the Edmonton region.

Innovation U offers free series to bring entrepreneurial ideas to life

Innovate Edmonton and the Edmonton Public Library are teaming up to offer a free four-part series that teaches the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Designed to help participants develop ideas into pitchable business plans, Innovation U will run from July 7 to Oct. 6, both online and in-person at the Stanley A. Milner library downtown.

Innovate Edmonton’s entrepreneurial educators will introduce design thinking, idea generation, business planning, and pitching in classes that build on each other over the next four months, though they can be taken as stand-alone units. There is no enrolment fee for participants, with the associated costs being split between EPL and Innovate Edmonton.

“We’ve been exploring this collaboration for some time,” Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren said. “We just thought, (the Milner) is a really great innovation and maker space right here in the heart of our city — what more can we do to contribute to the innovation, life, content, and substance of the library? How can we take that relationship into the work that we’re doing?”

Along with developing the course materials, Innovate Edmonton is co-curating a pop-up innovation resource library with EPL “with the latest and greatest innovation books and resources.” The pop-up library will be hosted in Innovate Edmonton’s downtown office and the office in the Milner library that Warren is occupying as the “innovator in residence” for the duration of this series.

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Funding & Support for Entrepreneurship

  • The Edmonton Regional Innovation Network (ERIN) held its first in-person annual general meeting on June 28. The organization received almost $4 million in funding for 2020-2022, and spent 81% of it on long-term support programs such as coaching, executive-in-residence programs at post-secondary institutions, and startup mentorship, indicates the annual report, which also indicated how ERIN will spend $4.8 million over the next three years.
  • Alberta Enterprise Corporation and its partners invested $1 billion in Alberta technology companies in 2021, the organization announced as it released its annual report. “Alberta Enterprise plays a critical role in attracting strategic capital to help Alberta’s most promising technology companies to scale and compete internationally,” said Mike Wilson, CEO of DrugBank, one of 65 startups that Alberta Enterprise has invested in.
  • Edmonton Global‘s Chris McLeod cited JobberAltaMLBioWare, and Granify as examples of the Edmonton region’s booming tech sector in a sponsored story published by Postmedia. “We’re (also) seeing huge tech advances in pharmaceuticals and life sciences, construction, education, logistics, manufacturing, video games — you name it,” McLeod added.


Climate Emergency & CleanTech

  • Chris Kallal of Wild + Pine spoke to Taproot’s Bloom podcast about his efforts to build a business around enabling small and medium-sized businesses to engage in nature-based carbon removal by planting trees in a transparent, verified, and measurable way.
  • Cleantech company Mineworx Technologies, which develops and commercializes processes for recovering precious metals, has announced it will move forward to the next phase of its Catalytic Converter project after completing testing that indicated a modular concept would be best for its commercial production facility.
  • Edmonton Global published a piece on Edmonton as a global epicenter for hydrogen. “Already a global competitor in the hydrogen marketplace, the Edmonton region is home to three of the world’s leading carbon capture projects related to hydrogen production,” wrote Jason Li, director of the agency’s hydrogen initiative. “These projects benefit from being connected to a vast network of pipeline infrastructure, including the world’s largest CO2 pipeline and a dedicated H2 pipeline.”
  • Imperial Oil has signed a deal with E3 Lithium to advance a pilot project that would extract the light metal from oilfield brines at the historic Leduc No. 1. Lithium is a key component in the batteries used in electric vehicles.

Digital Inclusion & Education

  • The University of Alberta presented its 2022 IT Awards to outstanding IT professionals on campus. “IT teams across the university have worked hard to not only keep our systems running, but provide innovative solutions to increased demands,” wrote The Quad. It noted the IT team had to deal with students using bots to try to get into courses, as well as the catastrophic failure of eClass in the fall, which the university managed to avoid repeating in the winter.

Food Security & AgTech

Public Health

  • Precision health diagnostics company Nanostics released positive data from a study of its ClarityDX Prostate test, which aims to improve the accuracy of detecting clinically significant prostate cancer in men who have elevated levels of PSA. Using ClarityDX Prostate as a reflex test rather than a PSA test alone “could have resulted in 37% fewer unnecessary biopsies,” says the release.

Arts & Culture

Bits & Pieces

Other Mentions

  • Jane Leadbeater, Manager of Placemaking and Activation at Innovate Edmonton, spoke with the City of Edmonton about its new zoning podcast called Making Space. “Knowledge is power and the podcast helps more people know more about zoning, and that’s exciting,” she said.

This Blast is brought to you by Innovate Edmonton in partnership with Taproot Publishing.