Message to the Community

Help fight COVID-19: What can you or your company do?

Start Up 2018 04 15013
Cheryll 2020 9
Cheryll Watson
March 23, 2020

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The days and weeks ahead are uncertain, but we’re here to support you through this time. Our team is working hard to keep you informed, as you focus on solving the important problems for your customers, colleagues and employees.

The Innovate Edmonton team has compiled a list of resources available to support startup and scaleup companies (which we will continue to update), and we have waived program fees and increased the delivery of Startup Edmonton programming, including Business Model 101 and Preflight, which will now be delivered virtually. These vital changes to our programming are powered in part by Alberta Innovates.

We believe now more than ever that support and nurturing of entrepreneurs and job creators is vital to ensuring our economy can bounce back when we emerge from this.

As we practice social distancing and monitor the news for the latest updates on COVID-19, many of us may begin to feel isolated and helpless. Please remember that the most important thing you can do at this time is to keep yourself, your loved ones, your employees, and your coworkers safe and healthy.

Practicing social distancing is an important baseline, but for those who are looking for additional ways to support their local, provincial, and national communities, here are a few ways you or your company can help.

Government of Canada programs and challenges

The federal government has put out a call for suppliers that can provide products and services to support Canada’s response to COVID-19, including IT support services. Visit Public Works and Government Services Canada for more information.

The federal government announced on March 20 that it would be launching specific challenges through the Innovative Solutions Canada program to meet the immediate needs of the health system.

The federal government has also launched two COVID-19-related challenges through Innovative Solutions Canada and the National Researcy Council of Canada (NRC):

  • The COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program: This program is focused on near-to-market solutions from small- to medium-sized businesses to solve specific Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada challenges, which will be released in the coming weeks.
  • The Pandemic Response Challenge Program: This program will build teams to address challenges requiring further research and development for solutions to meet COVID-19-related needs. Academic and industry researchers can register here indicating their interest and related areas of expertise and capabilities. The challenge is currently structured around three main research areas:
    • Rapid detection and diagnosis
    • Therapeutics and vaccine development
    • Digital health

Alberta Emergency Response Database

The Government of Alberta is gathering a database of products and services that could be useful during times of disaster. If you are interested in registering please fill out this survey.

Global innovation challenges

A number of global innovation challenges have been launched to support everything from ventilator manufacturing to digital health. Here are some challenges you may be interested in:

CODEVID-19 hackathon

Members of the Dev Edmonton Society have organized a virtual hackathon called CODEVID-19, dedicated to creating apps that will help citizens, businesses and service providers through the COVID-19 outbreak.

In teams of five or less, try to solve the most pressing problems in areas such as health care, retail, education and emergency management. Need help finding teammates? Use this tool.

Innovate Edmonton is excited to support this grassroots initiative by providing graphic design assistance and promoting the virtual hackathon online.

Several other virtual hackathons have been organized across the world.


Several tech companies and their employees have committed to donating an hour of their monthly salaries to the Edmonton Food Bank for the next three months. Some companies have also agreed to match the employees’ contributions.

After contacting your salaried employees about the initiative, make your donation here and fill out this form so the organizers can keep track of the collective impact.

AB Innovation Corridor survey

Help us gauge the impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on Alberta businesses by filling out our impact assessment. This feedback will inform the AB Innovation Corridor’s recommendations to the municipal, provincial and federal governments on how to support Alberta startup and scaleup companies during this time.

We have already submitted 7 recommendations to the Government of Alberta based on your initial feedback. Please read our recommendations here.

Local business leaders have created a go-to website for organizations working through challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak. You are invited to share resources on best practices, crisis communications, working from home, and more.

Our lives have changed dramatically in the past week, but one thing has remained steadfast: the tech and innovation community’s commitment to each other. We are inspired and encouraged by the initiatives and offers to help put forward by local companies, individuals and service providers. Together we will get through this stressful time.

Do you know of an initiative that isn’t listed here? Send an email to our content specialist at

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