Uniting The Prairies conference kicks off this week


Uniting The Prairies, a tech conference looking to showcase the best of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan’s tech startup ecosystems, will be arriving in Saskatoon on May 2.

“UP is a moment where the top VCs, angels, prairie expats, and tech leaders come together…elevating our prairie tech community.”

The prairies are beginning to foster some budding startup ecosystems, in a region of the country where capital and attention tends to literally fly over the provinces, according to Sean O’Connor a Saskatchewan VC fund manager who created BetaKit’s 11 Prairie startups to watch in 2019 list.

This week’s conference is featuring fireside chats, breakout sessions, and networking. Uniting the Prairies noted that it aims to showcase the best of Western Canada’s prairie tech ecosystems.

“UP is a moment where the top VCs, angels, prairie expats, and tech leaders come together to share knowledge and experience with startups, elevating our prairie tech community,” the organizers stated on the conference website.

The event will feature speakers including founders and leaders from some of Canada’s largest tech companies, like SkipTheDishes, Shopify, Coconut Software, Bold Commerce, and Benevity, as well as VCs like Espresso Capital, Scaleup Ventures, Standup Ventures, and Information Venture Partners.

RELATED: 11 Prairie startups to watch in 2019

Jacqueline Cook, chief strategy officer of Vendasta, will be speaking at the event. Cook was recently named on BetaKit’s list of 80 women and non-binary people in Canadian tech worth following. Daniel Simair, co-founder of SkipTheDishes, one of Canada’s largest online food delivery marketplaces, will also be speaking. SkipTheDishes, which was founded in Saskatoon and headquartered in Winnipeg, was acquired by UK-based competitor Just Eat for $110 million in 2016. The full list of speakers can be found here.

Recent news coming out of the prairie provinces has shown promising signs of the region’s tech potential. In February, Regina-based Conexus Credit Union launched its new business incubator brand, Cultivator, and its beta programming, which engages a cohort of companies to test its GROW program. Earlier this year, Winnipeg-based e-commerce solution developer Bold Commerce also announced the close of a $22 million CAD Series A funding round.

“Saskatchewan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is flourishing and it’s an exciting time for entrepreneurs in our province,” said Conexus’ business incubator manager, Jordan McFarlen. “Cultivator will allow local startups to launch, grow and scale their company right here in Saskatchewan. No longer will entrepreneurs have to take their ideas elsewhere.”

Uniting The Prairies takes place on May 2 and 3 at Delta Hotels in Saskatoon.

Registration for the event can be found here.

Image courtesy Unsplash.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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