Message to the Community

Innovate Edmonton: 2019 Year in Review

Innovate Holiday
Cheryll 2020 9
Cheryll Watson
December 20, 2019

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2019 has been a pivotal year in the technology and innovation space; one filled with challenges and opportunities, setbacks and progress. As I reflect upon our collective efforts, it’s important that we all recognize that the conversion from potential to prosperity is not an automatic process. As we head into a new year, filled with opportunities for collaboration and prosperity, I want to take a moment to reflect on the work we’ve accomplished as Innovate Edmonton, and as a contributor in the larger, ever-evolving ecosystem.

In order to provide clarity on our mandate, Innovate Edmonton issued the Innovate Edmonton Business Plan. We believe now is our time to not only showcase Edmonton as an innovative city, but to sharpen our focus on delivering programs and services that produce the highest value and results for our clients and shareholders.

Innovation does not happen in isolation and this year Innovate Edmonton leaned into fostering ecosystem development and cultivating partnerships. We were proud to partner alongside Calgary Economic Development and Platform Calgary to spearhead the creation of the Alberta Innovation Corridor, a joint pursuit in Alberta’s big-city innovation ecosystems to build a powerhouse innovation hub and drive the economic prosperity of the province. We also supported extensive public consultation work of the YEG Innovation Compass. Guided by the fourteen recommendations from the YEG Compass, Innovate Edmonton looks forward to continued collaboration with the Edmonton Advisory Council on Startups (EACOS) in the creation and implementation of the YEG Innovation Compass Action Plan in 2020. Convening the community remains important to us and we will continue to demonstrate commitment to ecosystem development through our partnerships with EACOS, the Edmonton Regional Innovation Network (ERIN), and the Edmonton Innovation Ecosystem Community (EIEC).

Edmonton is at a tipping point in tech and innovation and this year we amplified our city’s tech strengths and shared it with the world in many ways. At Collision in Toronto we put our ecosystem and startup companies in front of 25,000 global attendees. Inventure$ in Calgary was an example of the Alberta Innovation Corridor project in action with six Edmonton companies participating in an international pitch competition. Startup Edmonton was also a proud organizing partner of DemoCamp Alberta, a showcase of the best up-and-coming tech products in the province and a gathering place for Alberta founders and our Calgary counterpart, Startup Calgary.

Locally, we shared Edmonton’s tech story with a dedicated innovation issue of Avenue Magazine. The issue was celebrated at NAIT’s Productivity and Innovation Centre bringing together many of the stakeholders in the innovation community proving how invested our community is in Edmonton’s own tech and innovation space. Our 2019 Edmonton Startup Week was truly remarkable. We more than doubled the number of attendees this year with over 4500 participating, and what’s even more exciting is that 48% of those attendees were brand new to the startup community. Aside from record-breaking attendance, Edmonton Startup Week demonstrates a collaborative approach to programming to meet the needs of the ecosystem, with 50 community partners hosting 74 events around key themes such as investment, talent retention, and technology trends. 

To say the innovation ecosystem moves fast is an understatement but this just shows how quickly the future economy is growing and how capable we are to adapt. I encourage you to stay updated on the latest tech news with Taproot’s tech roundup and as a holiday gift from Innovate Edmonton, I invite you to use promocode INNOVATEYEG to receive 10% off a Taproot newsletter subscription.

As for the holidays, I wish you all the best of the season and lots of quality time with family and friends. It has been an honour to work alongside my team, our clients, and this burgeoning community this past year. Whether we actively debated, collectively agreed—or both, together we are driving our economy forward. Now more than ever, the spotlight is on the innovation and tech community and our hard work will continue well into the new year—it’s an exciting place to be and I can’t wait to be helping to create more prosperity for our community in 2020, together.

Looking forward to a new year of collaborations, projects, and infinite possibilities.

Yours in Partnership,

~ Cheryll

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