Start-up culture has changed the way Canadians look at businesses to solve challenges. Companies are operating with more transparency and are more open to collaboration in an effort to make advances. Alberta’s technology sector is fully embracing this new direction. Applied research is becoming more common as part of post-secondary education, unique collaborations to complex problems are becoming more frequent, and a growing network of support is available to commercialize proven technology.
The efforts are paying off. A 2016 Deal Flow Study from Alberta Enterprise Corporation revealed that the number of technology companies headquartered in Alberta grew by 48 per cent from 927 to 1,373 between 2012 and 2016. Revenues have also followed with one in five Alberta technology companies in the study reporting over $1 million in annual revenue.
With government support, this trend has high potential to continue. The Alberta government’s research and development expenditures are among the highest in Canada, on a per capita basis, partially thanks to annual draws on two research endowment funds valued at over $2 billion. The province also has an established competitive funding program for Alberta’s post-secondary institutions that supports the acquisition of research equipment to build research capacity. Since 2001, the program’s investment of $287 million has leveraged $926 million more in other funding.
Here we look at just a few initiatives helping Alberta plug into the international technology scene through education, collaboration and commercialization.