Women Helping Drive Alberta’s Tech Renaissance

Women Helping Drive Alberta’s Tech Renaissance

By Christiana Manzocco

OLIVIA CONDON, Calgary Herald

Alberta’s female entrepreneurs have doubled the national average in participation in technology according to the Alberta Enterprise Corporation’s 2018 Deal Flow study, which notes 70 per cent of the province’s tech companies are generating revenue with nearly a quarter bringing in more than $1 million annually.

The study found 432 new technology startups have been established in Alberta since 2016 for a total of 1,238 tech companies headquartered across the province.

Calgary leads the way with 767 companies operating in the city compared to Edmonton’s 394.

In a release, AEC president and CEO Kristina Williams said these new numbers show a promising future for the tech sector.

“The objective of this study is to provide stakeholders with a shared understanding of the strength and make-up of technology companies across sectors, stages and regions in Alberta,” she said.

“I think the takeaway is that creating a viable Alberta tech sector is a slow and steady process, but one that is paying dividends.”

As the industry grows, the makeup of tech in the province has seen an evolution towards modernity, with 34 per cent of Alberta firms integrating artificial intelligence into their offerings and products.

Software companies make up the majority of the industry at 40 per cent followed by life sciences at 13 per cent, clean sciences at 11 per cent, energy tech at 10 per cent and industrial hardware and materials at nine per cent.

Of the study’s 1,238 participants, AEC conducted a smaller survey with 208 respondents who said Alberta offers “significant early-stage opportunity for tech investors.” Around 70 per cent of companies surveyed are currently looking for funding and 58 per cent are hoping to raise more than US$500,000 this year.

“Our growing tech sector is creating a more sustainable, diversified technology industry in Alberta: one where home-grown innovation is encouraged, and technology entrepreneurs have greater access to capital,” Williams said.

“As a result, we’re seeing more and more Alberta tech firms ready to take on the world.”