With Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver excelling as tech hubs in Canada, other cities are looking to get in on the innovation.
Groundbreaking for the Platform Innovation Centre in Calgary has begun, bringing in Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), Calgary Parking Authority (CPA), Calgary Technologies Inc. (CTI), and Zinc Ventures as partners. In 2019, CTI will rebrand as Platform Calgary and begin their next phase of engaging with and globalizing Calgary’s startup ecosystem.
The Platform Innovation Centre is set to open in fall 2020 and will cost roughly $80 million, featuring 500+ stalls spread across five levels, all built to house Calgary innovators. In total, the project will comprise nearly 250,000 square feet.
“Platform is a key piece of the puzzle as we work towards transforming Calgary into a global innovation hub,” said Zinc Ventures president Brad Zumwalt, who co-founded Platform. Zumwalt also co-founded Rainforest Alberta, an organization created to work together to improve Calgary’s innovation ecosystem.
“By having both space and programming available to technology companies, especially in this new innovation corridor, we can be a catalyst for the ecosystem.”
While in the process of rebranding and building Platform, CTI will provide services out of the Alastair Ross Technology Centre. In addition, they have secured the Hillier Block to serve as an interim downtown facility, adding 5,300 square feet to their footprint.
The plan for Platform is to build an innovation ecosystem that offers continuing education, expert advice, access to resident corporate partners, and a state-of-the-art maker space. The hub is flanked by the new Calgary public library as well as the National Music Centre. There will be ground floor public areas as well as larger upstairs spots dedicated innovation spaces.
“Over the past year CTI has been repositioning itself to focus on the overall vitality of Calgary’s startup and innovation ecosystem,” said Evan Hu, chair of the board at CTI. “The renewed direction aligns with the 10-year Economic Strategy for Calgary, which aims to make Calgary a leading B2B innovation ecosystem. The establishment of a ‘Calgary Innovation Corridor’ is a key component of the 10-year strategy, and the Platform project immediately builds momentum towards that vision.”