Platform Calgary’s Terry Rock said the future of Calgary’s economy is being built right under people’s noses and they want people to be a part of that story.
That’s why they’re inviting Calgarians to get out to this week’s Innovation Week YYC showcase of events, with a super server filled with events perfect for would-be startups to savvy tech folks looking for their next venture. There’s even content for those folks just interested in learning more about Calgary’s tech scene.
“Those of us who work in this space every day know what stories are out there and all the great things that are happening,” said Rock, president and CEO of Platform Calgary.
“Also, my daily experience is that I run into people who just don’t understand that there is this other industry that’s burbling away and creating amazing stories every day. There are real people that are their neighbours that are building great companies who are changing the world.”
The Innovation Week calendar is chock full of panels, workshops, pitch competitions and even peer-to-peer meetups where people can connect, collide and create that next new idea. It goes from Nov. 15 to 23, with the final launch party with the Top 10 startups being announced going ahead on Nov. 23.
Rock said Calgary’s far further ahead in its own tech journey than it was even five years ago. One of the biggest changes is the amount of experience that people can tap into here, he said.
“(Companies) are growing faster, growing global faster, they’re employing more people and it’s starting to be noticed,” Rock said.
“We’re seeing more people realize that this opportunity was available in their community and so the rate of growth continues to grow.”
Plan for the maximum amount of benefit
Rock said that Innovation Week has evolved to the point where there are dozens of opportunities in a variety of sectors for people to participate in. He said people are literally mapping out their full Innovation Week schedule in advance. The full calendar of events online allows people to chart their course.
“It’s become a giant festival – a celebration in engagement in these kinds of things. What I think is most important for people to recognize is that there is no barrier to admission. This is for everyone,” he said.
That’s one area they want to continue to improve. They want to make sure all Calgarians know there’s potential for them in Calgary’s tech community.
“That’s the other part that I think is changed is we’ve just created more and more opportunities for people to get involved,” Rock said.
“That’s essential to the future growth of our city is that those opportunities are there.”
Rock said he’s highlighting the Indigitech events on his calendar. He said it’s the second year they’re hosting these events.
“Every culture, every community has innovation somewhere at its core,” he said.
“Opportunities for Indigenous communities to reconnect with each other and work together and innovate together, that’s an exciting one.”
Rock also noted the fireside chat with Skip the Dishes, Neo Financial and Orpyx – and Alberta Catalyzer Velocity showcase on Nov. 14 (early bird) as key events, along with the Startup TNT cohort that’s getting “cold hard cash” as an investment.
There’s also Plug and Play, 500 Global and Community Safety and Wellness that he said can round out one’s experience.
“You’re going to be able to see just how much great depth of resource is available to you, that is connecting you to the best resources from around the world. And that’s right here,” he said.