Calgary has long been known for two major industries: energy and agriculture.
But other sectors are thriving here, including life sciences and creative industries. New tech is being quickly adopted – with local businesses creating innovative technologies that are helping solve some of the world’s biggest issues in energy, health, transportation and food.
Still a lot of people, both locally and nationally, have no idea just how much innovation is happening here.
Koleya Karringten, executive director of the Alberta Blockchain Consortium and CEO of Absolute Combustion International, shares some of the hurdles when it comes to putting Alberta on the map as a tech hub. Here are her top two solutions on how to overcome them:
Give innovators the support they need to thrive locally
One way to spur innovation is to provide a supportive environment for innovators. This includes offering resources, networking opportunities and funding for startups and creators.
Karringten says while funding opportunities exist for businesses looking to expand, there also needs to be emphasis on those who want to sell their goods right here at home.
“We need to get local companies local clients. We need to give them the resources to help them generate enough revenue at home. This gives them the ability to grow their business locally and hire more people locally, which helps all of us.”
Karringten adds, in order to attract world-class developers, innovators and inventors, we need to give them access to the things they need most – funding and customers.
Tell our story, together
There are numerous reasons why Calgary is a great place to make a living and a life. Karringten says while we’ve done a great job sharing with the world how beautiful and livable our city is, we need to focus on what Calgarians are doing that makes the city stand out. Doing so will help retain talent, attract new talent and increase investments.
“If we highlight that we have a booming, thriving, innovative tech sector, all of a sudden, students who are being technically trained here are more aware of local opportunities, and they’ll want to stay,” says Karringten. “Funding sources also become available. Overall, showcasing that Calgary has more to offer than land resources brings money back in, helps technology get commercialized, helps things kind of move forward.”
This includes telling more home-grown success stories, like those of Attabotics and ShareWorks by Morgan Stanley (formerly Solium).
It’s not just about telling the story – it’s about sharing it. And that’s something Karringten thinks everyone should be doing. “Everyone from post-secondary institutions and private companies to residents should be sharing our innovative story with the world.”