$50mm to build startup accelerators in Alberta – what’s all the hype about and does it matter?

Our team at Sprout.VC has been fielding a lot of calls in the last few days from our investors in Fund I and many new investors as we launch Fund II, calls about the recent flurry of technology accelerator investment announcements made by the City of Edmonton, the City of Calgary, and the province of Alberta. We’ve decided to summarize our thoughts as to why these are so incredibly valuable and are occurring at such an opportune time.  

What’s all the hype about?

Last week, the City of Edmonton announced major new funding of $5 million to attract world-class accelerators to the City. This funding will be managed by Innovate Edmonton, the City’s recently formed strategic innovation entity. We are excited by this news which follows similar announcements from the province to invest $25 million in attracting and building new world-class accelerators, and The City of Calgary committing up to another $20 million to the same effort. All told this equates to $50 million to build and/or attract technology accelerators in Alberta.

What will this investment of public dollars yield and why does it matter?

The intent is for these strategic investments to drive economic diversification in excess of $5 billion over the next few years, encourage the creation of thousands of new technology startups, tens of thousands of high-paying jobs for our children, and marshal in a new decade of explosive growth for the province. The timing of these investments comes at a time when the global shift away from fossil fuels is accelerating and in the midst of the worst pandemic the world has experienced in decades. These investments provide new hope for one of the most entrepreneurial provinces in the country. Alberta has long served as the economic engine for Canada and these new investments will be, in effect, building the infrastructure necessary to overhaul our economy so we can continue to be the economic powerhouse of Canada. This is infrastructure akin to building a superhighway across the province that speeds up the movement of people and trade but, more valuable because it will encourage our startups to be better, be global, grow faster, and create more wealth that will then be reinvested into the economy. Hopefully, these initial infrastructure investments are just the beginning.

The opportunity for Albertans 

We should all be excited about this, inspired by it, and be more hopeful than ever about our future. We should all be finding ways to support and encourage it. We should be thinking about starting new businesses or helping fellow Albertans start new businesses in this new economy. With this renewed sense of hope, direction and participation will come exciting investment opportunities, such as angel investing directly into Alberta’s future unicorns or through professional venture funds like Sprout.VC. With greater public investment into infrastructure like this, we will see more great jobs for Albertans, a stronger and broader tax base to support a growing population which will, in turn, mean more funding for healthcare, education, social supports, and cultural development. And of course, a thriving economy has major positive effects on traditional industries such as real estate, energy, agriculture, hospitality, and entertainment. 

Congratulations Alberta – our next boom is around the corner and our future has never looked brighter. 

– Shaheel Hooda on behalf of The Sprout.VC partnership team.

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