While Calgary’s always been known as an epicenter for the energy industry, the city is quickly gaining recognition as a leader in innovative technology. Calgary is home to the largest number of technology start-ups per capita in Canada, and it’s attracting more organizations every year. Most recently, San Francisco-based tech company RocketSpace opened its first Canadian office in downtown Calgary.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the local people of Calgary, The Calgary Economic Development group who saw us and told us what was going on there,” RocketSpace CEO Duncan Logan told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC). Logan was initially attracted to the city because of its skilled and diverse workforce. “Calgary already has a great tech ecosystem up and running. What we look to do is pool that into one location.”
Calgary is currently leading the world in new technological innovations, like high-end global positioning systems (GPS) and aerial remote sensing techniques. “Calgary has an excellent reputation as a global center of GPS technology and products,” explained the president and CEO of Hemisphere GPS, Steven Koles. Hemisphere is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has a product development facility in Calgary. “Along with Silicon Valley and Switzerland, Calgary ranks among the top three centers globally.”
When hosting an event in Calgary, meeting organizers have access to leading technology housed at some of the world’s best institutions, like Innovate Calgary, a valuable resource for tech companies in the city. Innovate Calgary has seen a boost in clientele over the past year from increasingly diverse fields, including agriculture, health and wellness, pharmaceuticals, and bioengineering. “Calgary has a 100-year history of being entrepreneurial—of having a can-do spirit,” said president of Innovate Calgary, Peter Garrett. “The words ‘can’t be done’ don’t exist in Calgary. As a result, when researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors approach new market opportunities, they come at it with a spirit of success.”
In addition to tapping into the city’s can-do spirit, attendees can stay well-connected during conferences at the recently refurbished Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC). “Exhibitors want to access their work networks, speakers want to present video from the Internet, and attendees want to stay connected without using roaming cellular services,” CTCC’s director of Information Technology, Lawrence Chang, said. “We are constantly looking to increase our coverage and speeds available.”
To celebrate Calgary’s technological renaissance, events have been cropping up throughout the city, like Beakerhead. The annual five-day festival highlights Calgary’s technology, science, and energy industries. Now in its fifth year, the September event attracts more than 100,000 people. “[Calgary] is a place where you can actually be a bit of a maverick,” director of creative experiences for Beakerhead, Hanan Chabib, said. “If you have a bit of a crazy idea people will say ‘Okay, let’s give that a try.’”
For more information: Calgary TELUS Convention Centre — [email protected]; (403) 261-8500; calgary-convention.com