To help local health companies grow globally, Edmonton Economic Development, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, and Health City are partnering to bring a custom “healthified” version of the nationally successful Trade Accelerator Program (TAP). Kicking off on October 31, our export and health sector experts will address the specific questions and challenges related to expanding abroad in this industry.
We chatted with Reg Joseph, CEO Health City, and Chris Carvalho, Co-Lead Health City Working Groups, about this opportunity.
For the unfamiliar, can you tell us what Health City is?
Reg - Health City is a non-profit, economic development initiative created to catalyze the new health economy leveraging Edmonton strengths for local, national and global impact. Health City works with innovators to scale solutions that drive health sector transformation with global relevance; adopting them for impact in Edmonton and scaling them for export to global markets.
For more information, visit www.edmontonhealthcity.ca.
Why is Health City partnering with EEDC and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce to bring a health-focused TAP cohort?
Chris – The original idea started when the Health City Working Groups were taking a look at local programs in the ecosystem that we could support. TAP was already being delivered by EEDC and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and had significant stakeholders at the table with knowledge in key areas like legal, finance, export and entrepreneurship, but it was missing some specific areas that are key to the health sector. The Working Group thought it would be good way to leverage this already established program and customize or “healthify” it to be more applicable to health companies and their success.
Reg – Rather than creating something new, the Working Group preferred to leverage a successful program with all the key components, with added health aspects to be meaningful local companies from the health sector. EEDC and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce have been great partners in their willingness to work with the Health City Working Groups. They recognized that health is a growth sector in this region and so this was a perfect collaboration which we were able to turn around in just a few weeks.
What can companies expect from TAP 194 Health?
Chris - Companies can expect the same general overview of the key areas they’d need to put together their export plan, but with more content specific to the health sector, for example: how to best partner with health industry companies in other countries and ensuring they understand the regulatory and reimbursement requirements to market in those jurisdictions. The program will also bring in experts from industry who have knowledge and experience specifically in the health sector. Companies will also be able to network and connect with 15 other local companies.
Reg – Most importantly, for any company to be successful, regardless of sector, all companies must be thinking globally from the beginning, and this program gets them developing business plans for global markets immediately.
How would you describe the health and life sciences innovation ecosystem in Edmonton?
Reg – Our region is built on strong foundation of research. The industry is very young and rapidly evolving and certain areas such as digital health are emerging with global recognition. The health sector is going through a transformation globally. We are seeing the emergence of technologies and platforms like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Internet of Things, that are becoming the next tools of innovation in the health sector. We have companies right here in Edmonton that specifically have those strengths, so it’s a great opportunity for our companies to be the disruptors and take locally developed and validated solutions to global markets.