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Setting Alberta’s path for tech sector growth

Press Release

Apr 12, 2022

Alberta’s government has released its strategy to strengthen the technology and innovation sector, create jobs and diversify the economy.

Technology is a major economic driver and job creator in Alberta, and technology and innovation are essential for growth and success in all industries – from energy, cleantech and agriculture to health, advanced manufacturing and more.

The Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy charts the path forward to ensure Alberta is positioned as an internationally recognized technology and innovation hub that attracts talent, business and job-creating investment from across Canada and around the world.

“Alberta’s technology sector is already seeing record growth, and now is the time to build on that momentum. We’re taking action to establish Alberta as a global leader, taking bold steps that will transform industries, develop new opportunities for our province and set Alberta above the rest.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

The strategy is a key part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan and seeks to create 20,000 new jobs and see Alberta’s technology companies generate $5 billion more in annual revenue by 2030.

While Alberta is still a relatively young market for technology and innovation, it is seeing exponential growth with both Edmonton and Calgary making the list of top 50 tech cities in North America. The rapid growth the sector is seeing is thanks to the quality of the province’s talent, and our entrepreneurial spirit means that we are competing nationally with larger, more established technology and innovation centres in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

“Albertans have always been focused on innovation and technology as a path to growth and opportunity. The Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy reflects a pan-Alberta view of existing advantages and strengths as well as new opportunities on the horizon.”

Laura Kilcrease, chief executive officer, Alberta Innovates

The strategy complements and builds on several technology and innovation supports already rolled out as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, including the Innovation Employment Grant, the $175-million recapitalization of the Alberta Enterprise Corporation, the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program Accelerated Tech Pathway and the launch of the Scale-up and Growth Accelerator Program by Alberta Innovates.

Actions and initiatives identified in the strategy align with five key goals:

  • Build a strong future-ready workforce and enhance Alberta’s pool of tech talent.
  • Attract the capital and investment our technology businesses need to get off the ground and grow.
  • Ensure the right supports are in place to help turn Alberta’s innovative research and technology solutions into products and services that address a global need.
  • Optimize Alberta’s technology and innovation ecosystem so that Alberta’s groundbreaking companies can push the limits of what the future can be.
  • Let the world know Alberta is open for business and has what it takes for technology and innovation to thrive.

“As North America’s fastest-growing tech sector, Edmonton is ready to leverage these diverse, provincewide supports. Together, we are building a global innovation capital – an inclusive city of innovators tackling urgent global challenges, attracting enlightened investment and commanding international market share.”

Catherine Warren, chief executive officer, Innovate Edmonton

“As a global tech leader proudly headquartered in Alberta, Benevity has long been bullish on the transformational potential of a thriving tech ecosystem in the province. We welcome today’s announcement and its stated commitments around two of the key ingredients for realizing on that great potential: greater access to growth capital for startups and scaleups, and the attraction/retention of key talent.”

Kelly Schmitt, chief executive officer, Benevity

Budget 2022 allocates $73 million in new funding over three years for the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy. This funding will support actions under the strategy by helping to attract, retain and develop talent as well as provide significant investments in areas like artificial intelligence and quantum science.

More information on how this funding will be allocated will be shared in the coming months as initiatives are finalized.

The government engaged with a broad range of people and organizations, including industry and post-secondary institutions, to inform the strategy. Alberta’s government will work with other orders of government, as well as those working in the tech sector, to carry out the actions in the strategy.

“The Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy provides a framework for developing and building our tech sector for our economic future. Albertans know how to take risks and build companies, and are collectively focused on diversifying our economy. We look forward to working with tech, government and business communities to ensure Alberta’s position as a global leader in cutting-edge innovation.”

Deborah Yedlin, president and chief executive officer, Calgary Chamber of Commerce

Learn more about the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy.

Quick facts

  • Budget 2022 also includes funding for other initiatives that will support growth in Alberta’s technology and innovation sector, including:
    • an additional $15 million to enhance the Investment and Growth Fund
    • a historic commitment of $320 million over three years for new high-speed internet infrastructure in rural, remote and Indigenous communities across Alberta
    • $171 million over three years to expand student enrolment in areas such as computer science, information technology and data modelling, finance and financial technology (fintech), engineering, health care and aviation
  • The Alberta Enterprise Corporation’s 2021 Alberta Technology Deal Flow Study shows that the number of technology companies in the province has more than doubled since 2012.
    • There are currently 3,083 tech companies in Alberta, most of which operate in our two largest cities –Calgary and Edmonton.
  • According to the Venture Capital Association of Alberta (VCAA) and the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA), Alberta posted another record year for venture capital investment.
    • In terms of the number of deals, Alberta saw a 64.2 per cent increase in deal count in 2021 compared with 2020.

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