PrairiesCan invests $3 million to kickstart Edmonton Unlimited’s new innovation space

people sit in edmonton unlimited's event space watching a female speaker. cool lighting fixtures that look like umbrellas are overhead. there's a steeply tiered seating area and about 60-70 people in attendance
The funding will provide “a space for all innovators to start and scale their companies,” mayor says.

The federal government, through Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), is investing $3 million CAD towards a physical space and programming for Edmonton Unlimited.

The new space, which officially opened in May, will host innovators, operations, program delivery, public events, flexible workspaces, and strategic partnerships.

Edmonton Unlimited says the space is inclusive and accessible for Edmonton’s diverse innovation communities.

In addition to capital, the investment will support the city’s innovation agency’s commitment to inclusive innovation, specifically providing Indigenous founders and startups with programming and mentorship as they work to create products and solutions for global markets.

Edmonton Unlimited is the rebranding of Innovate Edmonton, and its program divisions Startup Edmonton, Scaleup Edmonton, and Accelerate Edmonton.

“Edmonton Unlimited’s new home is already serving as a downtown hub for the important innovation and economic diversification efforts happening across our city,” said Mayor of Edmonton, Amarjeet Sohi. “Thanks to PrairiesCan funding, this new home provides a space for all innovators to start and scale their companies, ultimately creating more jobs and strengthening Edmonton’s economy.”

The federal funding is being directed towards two key initiatives. Two million dollars will go toward the design and construction of Edmonton Unlimited’s state-of-the-art space in downtown Edmonton.

Edmonton Unlimited says the space is inclusive and accessible for Edmonton’s diverse innovation communities. With loft-style ceilings, ample natural light, and various amenities, including flexible workspaces, a 100-seat program room, a community café, and a 100-seat retractable event space called the “Pitch Deck,” entrepreneurs now have a new innovation destination.

Another $1 million is being allocated to expand Edmonton Unlimited’s programs and services across diverse sectors. This investment aims to equip local entrepreneurs with the tools and resources necessary to succeed in the global market by bolstering the capacity of local startups and scaleups.

RELATED: Innovate Edmonton rebrands to Edmonton Unlimited

A portion of the funding received will support the recruitment and hiring of an indigenous entrepreneurship specialist to join the Edmonton Unlimited team. “This role will be instrumental in promoting entrepreneurship among Indigenous communities, fostering cultural appreciation, and facilitating meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and communities,” said Randy Boissonnault, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages.

PrairiesCan, the funder, is the federal department that supports economic growth in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Its mandate is to support economic growth and diversification in the Prairie provinces and advance the interests of the region in national economic policy, programs and projects.

Innovate Edmonton was first established under the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), a non-profit agency owned by the City of Edmonton that also operated Edmonton Tourism, the Edmonton Convention Centre, and the Edmonton EXPO Centre.

Last year, City Council approved $5 million in funding for what is now Edmonton Unlimited, which was in addition to the $5 million per year that has been promised to the agency following its creation.

The new fund aligns with Alberta’s provincewide push for more business acceleration. The province states that it is on a mission to create 900 new companies, 20,000 new jobs, and $5 billion in technology-firm revenue for the province by 2030.

Featured image courtesy of Edmonton Unlimited

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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