Cisco invests $15 million in Calgary and Vancouver tech sectors

Cisco Canada has announced a $15 million investment for Calgary and Vancouver, going towards developing skills in the technology sector and creating high-skilled tech jobs.

With the investment, Cisco plans to expand its team in Calgary and Vancouver with a focus on the creation of jobs in artificial intelligence.

“The commitments announced today build on our strong track record of creating successful partnerships in Western Canada.”

Part of the money will also go towards YYC Net Lab, a not-for-profit organization in Alberta that provides computer networking education to immigrant and Indigenous women. YYC Net Lab will use the funds to offer more courses, including cybersecurity operations. NPower Canada, a charity founded in New York, that offers workshops and training to prepare youth for the workplace will also receive part of the $15 million. With the funds, NPower, which currently operates in Toronto, plans to expand its reach into Calgary.

“Cisco Canada was a founding partner helping to establish NPower in Toronto in 2014,” Julia Blackburn, CEO of NPower Canada, said. “We are delighted that they will extend their support to bring our high- impact program to Calgary.”

Cisco also plans to increase its presence in the two cities, with plans to hire new senior artificial intelligence jobs to support its operations in the region. Cisco noted that it has grown its AI and cybersecurity sector in the past few years, and since 2016 the company has doubled its cybersecurity R&D headcount in Vancouver and Calgary, and invested $7 million in a new Calgary cybersecurity office.

Cisco did not specify how the $15 million will be divided between each initiative, versus its own business operations.

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The computing networking company called the $15 million investment the first wave of its Country Digitization Acceleration (CDA) program, an initiative to support job creation, skills development, and technological innovation in Canada. As a part of CDA, Cisco will fund and test “smart and connected community” innovations in the oil and gas, healthtech, and cleantech sectors.

“Getting the most out of the digital world of tomorrow means investing and preparing for it today,” said Rola Dagher, president of Cisco Canada. “The commitments announced today build on our strong track record of creating successful partnerships in Western Canada that have empowered individuals to grow their careers, strengthened the country’s technology ecosystem, and laid the foundations for a prosperous future for all Canadians.”

The company currently has 537 full-time jobs based in Calgary and Vancouver, including Cisco’s global Security Business Group (SBG). According to Cisco, the company has contributed $28 million towards the education and career mentorship of 47,000 students in western Canada who have completed Cisco’s Networking Academy Program, an initiative to teach people technical skills for the workplace. Additionally, Cisco noted it has dedicated a total of $8 million for university research chairs and innovation centres at various Universities in Alberta.

Cisco, based in San Francisco, develops hardware, software, and telecommunications equipment. In 2016, Cisco revealed its Toronto Innovation Centre, one of ten other centres in the world dedicated to provide a co-working space for startups and larger institutions. In the same year, Cisco announced the Women Entrepreneurs’ Circle program, which supplies female entrepreneurs with resources to help kickstart their business.

Image courtesy Cisco Twitter


Sera Wong

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