tecconnect celebrates five years!
June 23, 2016
Lethbridge - Economic Development Lethbridge, together with many partners and stakeholders, marked the fifth anniversary of tecconnect with a brief ceremony and open house. The tecconnect centre for entrepreneurship and innovation officially opened its doors in June 2011 with the intention of supporting expansion of the provincial Information Communications Technology sector, diversifying the area economy and providing entrepreneurial and employment opportunities in southern Alberta.
Led by interest in anchoring high-tech companies and entrepreneurs in Lethbridge, Economic Development Lethbridge (EDL) built this centre with lead investment from the City of Lethbridge ($1.16 million) and contribution from the Government of Canada’s Community Adjustment Fund managed by Western Economic Diversification Canada ($4.39 million).
“The federal government is committed to building Canada as a centre of global innovation, renowned for its science, technology, creative, entrepreneurial and globally competitive companies offering high-quality products and services,” says Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “Organizations like tecconnect are playing an important role in assisting small and medium-sized businesses to improve Canadian competitiveness and create jobs.”
“It takes vision to build a vibrant community, and I am pleased that the City demonstrated its belief in supporting business diversity by taking a lead role in this project,” says City of Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman. “It is important for Lethbridge to continue working collaboratively to provide opportunities for young talent to innovate, grow and stay in our community.”
Currently there are nine start-up companies in the centre, and five alumni, bringing the space to 85 per cent capacity. “We have innovators working in geospatial imaging, cloud-based accounting and storage solutions, automotive industry software, biotechnologies and the health industries along with new media and virtual reality,” says EDL CEO Trevor Lewington. “I think the breadth of innovation and expertise in our current client group is reflective of the type of environment that was always envisioned for the centre.”
Since opening, 95 jobs have been created through tecconnect, 52 per cent of which are local post-secondary graduates. Between the two post-secondary institutions, partnerships like the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta and the AGILITY program at the University of Lethbridge, this region continues its history of collaboration that benefits the entire community.
“The aspiration of our Board in backing this initiative is to drive forward with new business development and expansion, ensuring balanced growth and a healthy future for our city and region,” says EDL Board Chair Paula Burns. “We continue to see a strong spirit of partnerships and collaboration that help us collectively move in a visionary direction.”
tecconnect offers services and supports to entrepreneurs in the community. If you are interested in training opportunities, space availability or ways in which to support the centre, contact Renae Barlow, VP tecconnect and Business Development at 403-332-6021 or firstname.lastname@example.org