Alberta Innovation Trending Upwards

Several bright spots emerged in the past week suggesting an upward trend for future innovation in Alberta. Indeed, recent major announcements from all three “pillars” of R&D in Canada (Private sector, Government, and Academia) bode well for innovation and technology advancement as mainstays in Alberta’s evolving economy.

1. Last week, Mayor Nenshi announced that a new Calgary Campus will be opened by Rocketspace, a prestigious accelerator from Silicon Valley. Occupying 75,000 sq ft of the former Encana Place, Rocketspace will help a selection of Canada’s top technology ventures scale rapidly. Combined with other local accelerator programs (e.g. Imaginea Energy’s accelerator, GE’s Customer Innovation Center), Rocketspace’s arrival in Calgary suggests there is ample opportunity for innovation and growth in Alberta. Indeed, industry pressures on cost competitiveness, efficiency and environmental performance are driving unprecedented technological innovation and opportunities for new business.

  1. 2. The Federal government opened applications on their business-led “Innovation Superclusters Initiative.” Industry-led consortia are invited to apply to “supercharge their regional innovation ecosystems.” The Federal government will provide dollar-for-dollar matching of private sector investment. Superclusters produce technology innovation stemming from a critical mass of diverse private sector organizations, academic and research institutions, and other innovation partners. The Supercluster Initiative will favour consortia which distribute access to the generated intellectual property (IP). Apply for the Supercluster program by July 21st, 2017.

    3. On May 31st, the Hunter family established the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking with an extraordinary $40M donation. In the words of Diana Hunter, “As one of Canada’s leading research institutions, the University of Calgary is a driver of the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in our community. It fuels our next generation of talented social and technological thinkers, who will in turn energize our city, our province and our world for the future.” Initiatives such as the new Hunter Hub strengthen academia and the private sector as drivers of continued Canadian R&D.

Of course, the companies that will benefit most from these initiatives are the same companies that will benefit from SR&ED, Canada’s largest source of financial support for R&D in a commercial setting.  These days, any company pursuing technology development needs to have a solid SR&ED strategy in place to remain competitive, and TSGI has successfully guided hundreds of companies in this regard over our 20+ year history. Contact Elliot.Cudmore@tsgi.ca for a complementary consultation for SR&ED eligibility.