They’ve produced world-changing startups like Dell Software and National Instruments. They have 4 of the 11 largest cities in the USA and all of those cities are within driving distance of one another.
Texas has world class educational institutions, well known tech hubs and they’re recognized for their research and work in health innovation, and they have a flourishing innovation ecosystem … sound familiar?
Texas cities have traditionally been competitive, but they’ve shifted their outlook. Instead of arguing why Dallas might be better than Houston, they’re discussing how to work together to ensure the success of their tech startups between all of their major cities.
It’s a long way from Silicon Valley. It’s underfunded, they struggle to attract venture capital and they have no recognizable investor brands.
So let’s compare with Edmonton. We are one of Canada’s youngest cities with the highest discretionary income in the country. We are the most affordable major city to live in, we have some of the countries best educational institutions, we provide a healthy ecosystem for entrepreneurs to take a risk, and this city has been quietly leading the way in three key sectors: artificial intelligence and machine learning, health and life sciences and big data and analytics.
We have the potential to globally compete but to be honest with ourselves … truly, we are just a small fish in a very big ocean.
No city lives in isolation anymore. Our economies are connected. Our agriculture is connected. Our healthcare is connected. Cities are on the front lines of problem solving. And, as our Mayor often says, city building is nation building.
Alberta’s major cities have a long history of working together to advance innovation for our province. Working together is our best chance to make impact globally. Our largest cities are home to major research universities, national and multinational corporations, a high density of educated workforces and thriving ecosystems that support the emergence of innovation-driven enterprises.
We are competing in a global market for people and capital.
With more than 90% of tech companies located in Calgary and Edmonton our best chance at making an impact globally is together.
This is why, I’m proud to announce today that along with our counterparts in Calgary, we have committed to the creation of an innovation corridor strategy to connect our two cities.
This strategy will have two main pillars.
The first is based on a commitment to opening the tech entrepreneur supports and services between the two cities - to help talent, startups, mentors and opportunities flow freely. With only 3 hours between us, there is little point to duplicating all of our programs. We can’t be world-class innovation hubs independently. But we can be together.
The second pillar is joint marketing of our tech and innovation assets.
We’ve seen this done successfully in Toronto-Waterloo where they promote a corridor of talent, growth, innovation and discovery that’s 100KM in length, the second largest technology cluster in North America.