On the top floor of the Mercer building on 104th Street and Stony Plain Road is the newly outfitted home of Startup Edmonton, an organization that hopes to turbocharge the city’s startup ecosystem. Within the next five years, CEO Ken Bautista hopes to invest in up to 500 entrepreneurs.
Startup Edmonton isn’t a new idea: it’s your typical accelerator, providing startups with office space, mentorship, and money. But it’s a new idea to Edmonton, a city that has entrepreneurial blood flowing through but that hasn’t yet realized its potential as a tech hub in Canada.
Ken wants to change Edmonton’s image. He wants to diversify Edmonton’s local economy. And if he’s lucky, his organization will foster the next Instagram, too.
Is his end goal transforming Edmonton into “Silicon Valley North,” though? Apparently not. Likening Alberta to Texas, Ken told the Edmonton Journal that he wants the city to become the “Austin of Canada: a centre for smart, creative, entrepreneurial people.”
Photo: Edmonton Journal