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

Edmonton Startup Week returns Oct. 17-22, 2022

Edmonton Startup Week will offer six days of workshops, panels, lunch & learns, socials, and other events to build momentum and celebrate Edmonton’s startup community and culture of innovation when it returns from Oct. 17-22. More than 4,500 people are expected to participate, including founders, students, investors, and other innovation champions.

Launch Party, the flagship event of Edmonton Startup Week, will take place on Oct. 20 at the Edmonton Convention Centre to showcase some of Edmonton’s brightest entrepreneurs and their innovative products and services. Applications for the 13th edition of Launch Party are due by Sept. 2.

More than 100 companies have launched products at Launch Party since 2010, including JobberDrivewyzePoppy Barley, and Showbie.

In past years, Edmonton Startup Week has featured more than 50 events, most of which are organized by the community. Applications for community events are now open and will be accepted until Oct. 10.

Edmonton Startup Week is produced by Innovate Edmonton, with funding support from Alberta Innovates through the Edmonton Regional Innovation Network.

Funding & Support for Entrepreneurship

  • James Keirstead and Olle Lagerquist, new co-chairs of the Edmonton Regional Innovation Network (ERIN), have written a letter to the innovation community introducing themselves and outlining what is needed to address the “rapid systemic and generational changes in front of us.”
  • Valhalla Private Capital is celebrating five years of business. The company said it has facilitated more than $75 million from its network of 120 investors into an estimated 270 early-stage entrepreneurs. “For too long venture capital has been the domain of large institutional investors,” said chairman Randy Thompson. “Valhalla is all about inviting all people who care about their local business climate into the VC realm, giving them the tools and opportunities to participate successfully in both investing or building some great companies.”
  • The Edmonton International Airport has been named the first host of the start.hub logistics, to be held during a major air cargo forum in Miami. Mammen Tharakan, director of EIA’s e-commerce, cargo, and aviation real estate, welcomed the opportunity to participate in an event that is “creating a new space for entrepreneurs committed to sustainable innovation to connect with logistics leaders from around the world.”
  • The federal government has announced that Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) will provide loans of up to $50,000 to women entrepreneurs and business owners through regional partners such as Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. “Women are smart, creative and driven, and they already know how to achieve success. What they need are opportunities, open doors and a hand up,” said Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development. “By removing systemic barriers in accessing financing, we are again moving the dial in empowering women entrepreneurs to reach their full potential, create local jobs and drive economic growth.”
  • Edmonton Global‘s Economic Development Matters podcast spoke to Janet Lane of the Canada West Foundation about her policy brief, What Now? Oh, the places youth could go!, which outlines strategies and tactics for retaining youth talent. Edmonton Global also blogged about the policy brief, noting that young adults’ migration patterns indicate that many are unaware of the economic opportunities available here.


Climate Emergency & CleanTech

  • Over the past 20 years, land surface temperatures in Edmonton have jumped between six and 12 degrees Celsius compared to surrounding rural areas, according to new research from the University of Alberta which analyzed satellite images taken year-round between 1999 and 2021. Increasing vegetation coverage by up to 20% across the city could reduce the intensity of urban heat islands by one-third, predicts Sandeep Agrawal, Director of the U of A’s School of Urban and Regional Planning and lead of the Urban Environment Observatory lab.
  • Innovative Fuel Systems announced a collaboration with several major trucking fleets to support and advance hydrogen fuel use in 90% of existing heavy-duty engines using its retrofit dual-fuel technology, Multi-Fuel Technology Platform.
  • The Edmonton EXPO Centre will soon have Canada’s largest rooftop solar array at 5,754 panels covering 193,735.5 square feet. The $5.03-million project is expected to yield operational savings of $290,000 to $460,000 annually, breaking even after 10 to 17 years. The solar array is a reminder that Edmonton is “working hard to support a transition to a lower-carbon economy,” Sustainability Director Melissa Radu of Explore Edmonton said in a release. Phase 1 of the installation is scheduled to be done in November.
  • Germany’s Henkel Adhesive Technologies has invested in Edmonton-based Direct-C, which has developed sensor technology to detect hydrocarbon leaks. The company’s $3.9 million Series A round will help it start scaling its oil leak detection technology beyond oil and gas.
  • Mineworx Technologies announced it is now able to successfully recover the highly valued commodity of Rhodium from used catalytic converters. This is in addition to the recovery of Platinum and Palladium the company is currently able to recover.

Public Health

  • Nanostics has received the CE-IVD Mark for its ClarityDX Prostate test that will allow the company to begin marketing and selling in Europe as well as other countries that require the CE Mark for market access.
  • Recent federal funding of nearly $20 million to support the Metabolomics Innovation Centre and GlycoNet Integrated Services will help advance research at the University of Alberta that could lead to increased precision in terms of diagnosing, detecting, and predicting many diseases and disorders. “There’s this coming revolution in glycomics, and Canada and the U of A are going to be front and centre in that,” said Warren Wakarchuk, Scientific Director of GlycoNet.

Social Impact

  • Vanessa Marshall, the Founder of Jack59, turned her hobby of creating hair products into a “unique, sustainable, and Indigenous-owned and woman-led beauty brand.” The company enables its users to reduce their carbon footprint by creating products that do not require plastic bottles and ensuring its production process is 100% plastic-free and uses 100% recyclable packaging. The company says it has prevented more than 500,000 plastic bottles from ending up in the landfill since it began.
  • Sagesse has created a resource that uses research from the University of Alberta to help those experiencing domestic abuse and violence find the necessary resources. The Domestic Abuse Resource Hub was created after health policy researcher Stephanie Montesanti discovered how difficult and overwhelming the barriers and challenges could be for victims seeking resources.

Arts & Culture

Bits & Pieces

Other Mentions

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