Student Technopreneurship in Alberta

What is technopreneurship? I’m guessing that it’s technology entrepreneurship. The Government of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology has a program for “young entrepreneurs” (crap, I guess by the Alberta definition I’m now old). The program is a business plan competition run by post secondary education institutions and non-profit community groups. It’s a pretty cool deal to support the existing institutions.

The program essentially provides $20,000 to winners ($10,000 for high school students) plus “incubation services” and mentorship. I hope the “incubation services” and mentorship are provided without fees to the winners. Though with it looks like some of these services are financed through the Alberta Innovation Voucher Pilot Program, that offered vouchers of up to $10,000 or $50,000 to cover 75% of services by approved service providers. These programs are not directly related, but it does show a preference to a network of approved providers and funding redirection.

There’s a lot of great things going on in Alberta. How can you fault an organization that links to DemoCamp (BarCampEdmonton) as part of their networking advise for entrepreneurs?  They are venture programs like AVAC Ltd. that are actively investing $79M in Alberta. You can see deals being done like Tynt Multimedia that included Montreal-based iNovia Capital on their latest $5M round, and Calgary-based CoolIT Systems. There is a lot of work with the Alberta Deal Generator, and the Banff Venture Forum that are driving interest and attention. And there are deep entrepreneur led grassroots efforts with STIRR in Calgary and DemoCamp in Edmonton.