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Alberta Tech support asks for Urgent support from provincial Govt

A group in Alberta's technology ecosystem has given an open letter to the Alberta government stating that it calls for immediate action for a region that is at risk due to both the epidemic and the current oil crisis. "This is a crisis like no one is in front of us," the letter reads. "If immediate action does not take place at all levels of government, our ecosystem can be severely damaged and we can deny the progress we have made towards building the future Alberta economy."

The initiative was led by the Alberta Innovation Corridor (AIC), a joint effort between Calgary Economic Development, the platform Calgary and Innovate Edmonton. Over the past few weeks, the group, which focuses on promoting the province's innovation sector, gathered responses from 175 Alberta-based tech entrepreneurs who faced immediate challenges in view of the current global health crisis.

The letter has been sent and addressed to Alberta Chief Jason Kenney, Treasury Board President and Finance Minister Travis Touse, Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya FIR and Service Minister Alberta Nat Glubish. The group emphasized the tech sector's important role in the province's economy, noting that prior to the recent crisis, Alberta tech produced $ 15.6 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and employed about 68,500 people.

"Before the current global crisis, the technology startup ecosystem was a major source of global economic growth," the letter says. "Canada - and Alberta - were part of this. We cannot neglect one of the most promising means of ensuring future prosperity for our province and country. This crisis puts tech companies and ecosystems at risk. These federal measures will help immensely. ”In the letter, the provincial government has been requested to consider the recommendations of the Innovation Capital Working Group and act on it.

The group, a panel made up of experts from Alberta's trade, tech, educational and financial associations, was provided with recommendations from the Alberta government on how to attract capital to the province's tech sector. The panel was originally released in February.

A report was finally expected to be submitted, but the ministerial FIR extended the deadline. Gem, managing partner of Thin Air Labs, based in Calgary and co-founder of Wave Lo Lochy was one of those who provided feedback to the working group. The panel has reportedly submitted its recommendations to the government but has not yet made it public.

Lochrie said he was willing to share some of the work group's recommendations. And he told them that the Provincial Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit (SR & ED) program and the Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC) is involved bring back that Kenny United Conservative Party had ended. In October.

Many people in the province's technological ecosystem have praised those programs for promoting startups and called for their return.

Lochree said he also recommended tax-free zones to attract large corporations to the province, such as Microsoft, which he said could help seed the ecosystem and replenish real estate. He recommended the government to provide matching investments for the funds. The matching investment is also something that the AIC is asking that the Alberta government implement.

The letter "requests" specific policy interventions including encouraging the flow of capital through matching funds "that risk early-stage investment in uncertain environments." "We are in dire need of some type of matching program," said Lokri. “It is important for Alberta to have that matching program in place.

We have got such good companies who are trying to raise capital here and will probably be very successful in doing so in different seasons. "Lohri noted that the matching program for venture-backed companies, recently launched by the Business-Development Bank of Canada (BDC)," missed "due to the province's heavy reliance on Alberta's pre-phase angel investment; Something recently was said by Sandy Gilbert, managing partner of Intergene and board president at the National Angel Capital Organization.

The Alberta tech community in the AIC letter Has been praised, including recent measures by the federal government, including the National Research Council and Western Canada's Regional Development Agency (RDA), Western Economic Diversity's Increased Capital.

"These investments pay off Will, "the group says. Lochrie said stating that the new IRAP COVID-19 Innovation Assistance program to cover some gaps for Alberta startups Helps. The second request of the AIC letter to the Albert government is to use its purchasing power, as well as for municipalities to purchase "Alberta-built" technology.

"Companies have already served as global players Has established itself, pointing out that it is now experiencing slow growth or decline due to the crisis, ”however did not highlight specific companies. “More than 175 Alberta-based technology entrepreneurs came forward with the immediate challenges they face, the biggest loss of which is the devastating loss of customers and cash flow as well as access to supply chains.

Their existence is in danger, ”said AIC. "These are companies that will help Alberta's axis diversify its economy," the letter reads. "Unfortunately, the momentum we have gained is at risk as companies look to customers and the current economic crisis results in revenue evaporation." However, Lochi said the letter was likely "a waste of time." "All these letters have been written before," he told BetaKit.

He said, "Whatever is happening on the land of our entrepreneurs, the reality of it is on its own." They know this, and they are taking steps into their own hands to ensure their own survival because they know that the government does not give rat assurances about them. "The government believes that the technology sector is doing just fine, doing very well," Lohri said. "And it's okay, it's okay, it's managing itself. But by not investing in what we're doing, we're taking away the opportunity for the future. We're not paying attention to it and all of our Putting resources into the oil and gas sector. "The AIC letter highlighted the duel conflict facing Alberta companies.

The group said that with the economic impacts of COVID-19, Saudi Arabia and Russia Eagle The fall in oil prices has also had a major impact on Su's flooding. AIC said, "This is a crisis we've never faced before." "Alberta's technology ecosystem is deeply connected to Alberta's energy sector Has happened because we create clean technology and digital solutions that drive the core industry of our province to increase productivity, cost and its environment New footprints reduce both. "

The AIC stated that entrepreneurs and innovators will be a crucial component of this kind of movement, “making technology an essential part of Alberta’s economic growth and diversification story.”    “If there was ever a time to think about different opportunities in Alberta, now is it,” added Lochrie. “We just got a wake-up call this week around where energy is in the world and the lack of control that Alberta has over its own future.” 

This is the right time to support the tech sector, he added. “I’m Looking forward to the government stepping up like I know they can. It’s time to do it and they need to do it, otherwise, they’re just wasting this amazing opportunity to advance something they should have continued to advance when they got into power.”    The AIC echoed a similar statement in its letter. “This isn’t just about surviving a crisis,” it said. “This is about working together to ensure Alberta leads the way on the national stage during recovery. Now, more than ever is the time to support our innovators and entrepreneurs.”

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