MaRS seeking to bring hub model to Calgary to accelerate the innovation economy
MaRS expansion aims to increase the size and success of the growing tech and innovation ecosystem in Alberta.
Toronto, September 23, 2020 – MaRS today announced that it is in exploratory talks with the University of Calgary to create a new innovation hub in the region to support Alberta’s growing innovation economy. MaRS is looking to partner with regional stakeholders to launch a seed-stage venture capital fund, startup venture services as well as a convening space for entrepreneurs and programming.
There are no plans to build a new physical site. The process will involve working with local partners to bring MaRS programming and expertise to accelerate Alberta’s innovation economy.
“We are excited about the prospect of collaborating with the Calgary tech and innovation community, which already has a strong foundation in research and commercialization, and impressed with the Alberta government’s priority on innovation,” said Grace Lee Reynolds, chief ecosystem officer, MaRS.
Today, MaRS works with more than 30 Alberta-based high-growth ventures. These high-potential companies are part of the MaRS network of more than 1,300 ventures from across Canada that are providing jobs and growth today, as well as new ideas that will power the future economy.
“MaRS has been developing its innovation model for more than 15 years. Today, as one of the largest startup ecosystems in the world, we’re able to take this playbook and apply it to accelerate innovation across the country,” said Yung Wu CEO of MaRS. “Canada’s economic future will be led by our high-growth tech and innovation companies. By ensuring our ventures have the support, talent and tools they need to scale, we can fuel the development of Canadian solutions and emerge as a global leader in technology innovation.”
Tech and innovation sectors have grown dramatically over the past two years, outpacing traditional industries, creating economic advantages in such categories as artificial intelligence, life sciences, energy innovation and software development — the latter of which has grown six times faster than the overall economy since the 2008-2009 recession, four times the pace Canada-wide, according to a recent report by the Innovation Economy Council.
Emerging technology companies, fuelled by the tremendous talent base and entrepreneurial culture in the city and province, are vital to the growth of Alberta’s knowledge-based economy. Nurturing and growing these companies are key to supporting long-term economic growth, revenue diversification and social prosperity for all Albertans and Canadians. MaRS’ proven track record in addition to its recognition across the country and internationally will complement the already rapidly developing Calgary startup community.
Support is being sought for an initial five-year mandate that will include the launch of a seed-stage venture capital fund, startup venture services as well as a convening space for entrepreneurs and programming.
Expanding the MaRS footprint across the country is one of the organization’s strategic goals. In 2018, MaRS announced that it would partner with the University of Toronto to lease space in Toronto’s Waterfront Innovation Centre, creating a 55,000 square-foot innovation hub, opening in summer 2022.
MaRS is North America’s largest urban innovation hub. A registered non-profit, MaRS supports high-growth startups and scale-ups tackling key issues in health, cleantech, fintech and other sectors. In addition, MaRS convenes all members of the tech ecosystem to drive breakthrough discoveries, grow the economy and make an impact by solving real problems for real people — in Canada and around the world.