Black Swan #9 – Calgary and Toronto look to stop the bleeding

BetaKit podcast

It’s been two weeks since our last episode, and there’s a reason for that.

Black Swan was launched shortly after the pandemic hit, as a rapid-response to the emergency Canadian tech found itself in. More than two months later, the emergency has evolved into reality.

“How do we not lose the last decade of investment into the ecosystem?”

Despite nascent attempts at ‘re-opening’ across Canada (and we’ll see how long they last), the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian tech and innovation won’t be subsiding any time soon. That requires a different approach to storytelling. One a little less reactive, and more proactive. Exploratory.

Like today’s episode, where we look at how different tech ecosystems across Canada are working to keep their ecosystem together.

Our first guest is Terry Rock, President and CEO of Platform Calgary, which is a member of the Alberta Innovation Corridor.

Like the rest of Canada, tech companies within the Corridor have been hit hard. But also at a weird time – Alberta was just beginning to set the roots of its ecosystem, culminating in the opening of its own Hub, the Platform Innovation Centre, in 2021. Other Corridor members like Innovate Edmonton have been rocked with executive departures while the city’s government decides it needs a different innovation entity.

We talk to Rock about all of this, and why he still believes Platform will be the hub Alberta tech needs a year from now.

The City of Toronto is hoping to sustain the investments it has made in the local tech ecosystem over the last decade. To do that, Toronto has tapped Chris Ricket, Director of Municipal and Stakeholder Relations at MPAC, but also the Director of COVID-19 Business Mitigation and Recovery, a role he was seconded to following his departure from the City last year.

In Toronto circles, Rickett is known as the guy tech companies go to if they want to work with the City. We ask him about exactly what role a municipal government can play in mitigating the economic bleeding, and the major recent departures of OneEleven and Sidewalk Labs.

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Hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Produced with support from TWG.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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