Edmonton mayor says recent San Francisco trip spawned strategic business initiatives

Click to play video 'EEDC on Alberta and Edmonton partnership with Silicon Valley' EEDC on Alberta and Edmonton partnership with Silicon Valley
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton tech firms can now take advantage of a free co-working space in San Francisco set up by the Alberta government. A trade specialist will also be based in the Silicon Valley area to help companies connect with business partners. Stephanie Coombs with Edmonton Economic Development Corporation shares details – May 10, 2018

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is back from his trip to San Francisco last week and is reporting a couple of good outcomes.

The province has announced its intention to set up a trade office in the Bay Area and a venture capital office will be created in Edmonton to bring U.S. money to Alberta’s capital in order to back ideas created in Edmonton.

“Prominent Edmonton entrepreneur Ashif Mawji is going to be one of their partners here in the city,” Iveson said about the creation of the Rising Tide Fund office in Edmonton.

Mawji is a NAIT grad and the former president and CEO of Upside Software.

“So we now have, officially, venture capital from the Bay Area on the ground in Edmonton. I’m hopeful that that’s going to attract more… interest in what our innovators are coming up with at NAIT, and the U of A and Startup Edmonton and other places.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Iveson to pitch Asia air travel on China trip

Edmonton opened a shared workspace in San Francisco as well, giving area entrepreneurs an opportunity to get work done when they’re down there.

“We had really encouraging meetings with people in the technology sector and those who finance technology businesses, who are really interested in what’s going on here with artificial intelligence, and with health tech, and there was just a ton of buzz and it was really positive and some good followups for our economic development folks.”

The opening of a trade office by the province was unveiled while Iveson and others were on the trip.

“Business leaders and investors in the Bay Area recognize Alberta’s world leading innovators and entrepreneurs in a variety of sectors – especially our high-tech industry,” Economic Trade and Development Minister Deron Bilous said in a news release.

“As our government works to expand our market access, this position will help create new jobs and investment opportunities at home, and will support the work that we’re doing to diversify our economy and build a recovery that lasts.”

“I think it’s fantastic,” Iveson said. “We worked very closely with the consulate. We had good meetings with officials there and they talk about how municipalities are ultimately their clients.

Story continues below advertisement

“They want to help us, help our businesses get access to capital and to markets and to partners down there, and vice versa, get businesses from there connected to things that are happening at home.”

READ MORE: Air Canada to launch daily flight from Edmonton to San Francisco

He’s hopeful these announcements will lead to more developments to help fund “innovative things that are happening at the Research Park and at the airport. It became clear that [there’s] so much pent-up technology here that’s looking for markets and looking for capital but ready to explode and create lots of new jobs.”

The developments in the Bay Area come on the heels of Air Canada launching its new, direct flight route between Edmonton and San Francisco.