Edmonton: Providing the Building Blocks for a Burgeoning Tech Hub

Edmonton by the Numbers

• Incorporated as a City: October 8, 1904
• Current Mayor: Don Iveson
• Population (2018): 932,546
• Population change: 2011-2016: 14.8%
• Land Area: 685 sq. km
• Increase in Passengers at Edmonton International Airport (2018): 5.8%
• Median Family Income: $98,900

Sources: Statistics Canada, Edmonton Development Corp., Alberta Municipal Affairs

Back in 2011, Two Edmonton-based software developers decided to help a local painter with his business problem. They developed a program to streamline the entrepreneur’s invoicing, client records and scheduling. The result was a product that could easily be used by small business owners in multiple sectors and a company of their very own – Jobber.

Today, Jobber is used by more than 70,000 businesses in 43 countries and serves as a symbol of the collaborative spirit that is a hallmark of Edmonton’s tech community.

“At Innovate Edmonton, we want to see our city recognized as one of the top cities for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Cheryll Watson, vice-president of Innovate Edmonton. “That’s why we collaborate to create the best possible environment for tech-enabled start-up and scale-up company growth.”

demo camp
innovate edmontonInnovate Edmonton’s Dream Big event at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Photos courtesy of Innovate Edmonton.

Innovate Edmonton – a division of the Edmonton Economic Development Corp. – has established several partnerships and relationships within the local tech community. The organization has made huge strides in opening doors for tech-preneurs across the province’s capital city to bring ground-breaking ideas to market and improving the synergies of these efforts through mutual collaboration.

“Whether that be a startup or a high-potential scaleup, we bring the right people, resources and funding together to support an endeavour,” says Watson. “Technology-enabled companies grow quickly and create wealth at higher rates than traditional sectors. They also accelerate our economy’s diversification, and when these companies excel, all Edmontonians benefit.”

And there could be plenty of benefits on the horizon. According to a recent report from the non-profit Information and Communications Technology Council, Alberta can expect to gain more than 77,000 digitally-focused jobs by 2023 – and Watson is hoping that most of those will make Edmonton home.

“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,” notes Watson. “Our evolution into a major tech hub fits this personality of a young, growing, risk-taking city.”