Earlier this year, a report from national law firm Osler found Canada’s tech sector and financial markets in a tumultuous state, churning between post-pandemic recovery and an uncertain economy amid a backdrop of rising interest rates.
But Osler also uncovered “impressive signs of growth, renewal, and resilience in the ecosystem” in Alberta, who saw the highest growth for venture capital deals in Canada since 2020.
This was reinforced by data from the Canadian Venture Capital Association, which found that “Alberta, for the fifth year in a row, attracted a record amount of investments in 2022.” The province saw startups raise more than $700 million across nearly 90 deals in 2022.
More recently, CBRE’s 2023 Scoring Tech Talent report found that Calgary experienced a 61% growth in tech talent over five years—the second-highest rate in Canada next to Vancouver. In Calgary, there are now more than 50,000 tech occupations, accounting for nearly one-third of all employment opportunities in the region.
Other signals of strength in the region include major investments, both public snd private. In particular, Alberta Innovates is driving major economic change for the area through an array of impactful initiatives.
The Alberta Hydrogen Centre of Excellence, for example, was recently launched in order to accelerate technology and innovation across the hydrogen value chain, closing gaps to strengthen Alberta’s hydrogen economy and provide support across the entire hydrogen system, from production to end use. In its first round of funding, the Centre of Excellence announced $20 million across 18 successful projects.
There is also the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program. Conceived by a consortium led by Alberta Innovates, the program represents a coalition of stakeholders including Prairies Economic Development Canada, the City of Edmonton via Edmonton Unlimited, and the City of Calgary’s Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund.
In two years, the program has delivered accelerator services to budding entrepreneurs and innovators across 169 Alberta-based companies. These firms have raised investments worth $147 million, created 118 new jobs, and grew company revenues. The program also attracted more than 100 non-Alberta companies to the province, with six of those companies registering their businesses in Alberta upon completing an accelerator program.
And whether accelerated or not, Alberta’s portfolio of startups to watch is a sterling example of a healthy and diverse innovation ecosystem.
Other examples of health in the region include federal investments valued at $160 million for nine Alberta-based solar power projects, a move expected to create more than 1,000 jobs, and the nationwide expansion of the Digital Commerce Bank Calgary Fintech Award.
All in all, there has “never been a more exciting time to be in tech in Alberta than today,” believes Nate Glubish, the Minister of Technology and Innovation for Alberta.
To back up his position, he cites a simple fact: “Alberta has more tech companies today than ever before.” He points to how “more and more early-stage companies are growing, maturing, and successfully commercializing their technologies in Alberta.”
The energy is electric in Alberta as Calgary and Edmonton advance their regional ecosystem of technology and innovation.