Edmonton Mayor Iveson encourages unification at economic development summit

Mayor Don Iveson speaks at the Mayor's Economic Development Summit, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Mayor Don Iveon's Office, Credit

Leaders from the capital region gathered at NAIT Tuesday for the Mayor’s Economic Development Summit to discuss strategies on how to grow Edmonton’s economy.

The discussions centred on sectors such as artificial intelligence, logistics, advanced manufacturing, health innovation, green building technologies, food and agricultural technology.

“Economic prosperity is an enabling priority…prosperity is essential to all our other city building goals,” Mayor Don Iveson told those in attendance.

READ MORE: Report suggests Calgary and Edmonton leading economic growth

Iveson said his priority during his first term as mayor was to unite the capital region.

Now he wants to unite Edmonton metro, which runs from NAIT to the University of Alberta, and includes everything in between. Iveson is calling it the “innovation corridor,” and he believes it will make the city more economically competitive on the world stage.

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“My topic priority is to unite business, research and government partners across Edmonton metro around a shared vision for innovation and for lasting prosperity,” the mayor said.

“This innovation corridor is a way of talking about all of those assets in one group because, as with many things in Edmonton, we’ve struggled to tell our story because we were too good at too many things to bundle it together.”

READ MORE: Alberta clears recession, though challenges remain, according to ATB Financial 2018 economic outlook

Iveson said Edmonton has missed opportunities because the capital region was fractured, but he said that’s changing.

“There are some board members who are part of the efforts at Edmonton Global (a regional economic development company for the Edmonton metro region) and that is going to represent our unified pitch to the world for trade and for investment and for growth.”

The purpose of the summit wasn’t just to improve the economy for the current generation but for future generations of Edmontonians, the mayor said.

“How will building an economy that provides the kind of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunity that will entice our kids and grand kids to want to stay?” Iveson said.

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Those in attendance participated in breakout sessions and panel chats where discussions were held about issues such as a new Edmonton economic development plan and how to better promote Edmonton and what the future will look like for the city.

The information gathered from the summit will be taken into account to refresh the city’s and region’s economic development plan.

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