Edmonton grants $4.7M to 17 organizations through Edge Fund

Edmonton grants $4.7M to 17 organizations through Edge Fund

· The Pulse

Details of $4.7 million in Edmonton Edge Fund grants the city is awarding to 17 innovators and entrepreneurs to create economic or social benefits went live on May 7.

The city's biggest investment is $750,000 into DiveThru, an end-to-end mental health service provider, which will now construct and open two new locations to add to its existing location on Whyte Avenue. DiveThru is part of the Edge Fund's Scale & Grow Stream, which aims to support companies to grow to the next level, with grants of between $250,000 and $1 million (though no organization received the largest amount).

The other Scale & Grow investments are $530,000 for 48Hour Discovery to scale its early drug discovery service; $550,000 for Future Fields to open a 6,000-square-foot biomanufacturing facility; $289,000 for Kind Ice Cream to launch a new production facility, a spin-off company, and two new "modular" locations; $334,000 for MuslimKids.TV to create a video game development studio; $581,570 for Technology North to scale its digital services and create jobs for people with autism spectrum disorder; and $723,000 for Zero Point Cryogenics to scale its production of dilution refrigerators.

In August, the city said all Scale & Grow Stream recipients will require a 50% matching amount from other funding sources.

The Edge Fund's second grant bucket is the Start Stream and offers investments up to $100,000 for companies entering the Edmonton market. Canchuks Corrosion Inc. will receive $91,800 to validate its tech for testing pipelines. All other recipients will receive the $100,000 maximum.

Those recipients are Dark Matter Materials, which is developing a catalytic hydrogen generator; International Renewable Energy Systems, which is working on small-scale energy generation via vertical-axis wind turbine; Millennium Three Technologies Inc., which is working to improve industrial processes with a computer-vision-powered assembly system; NGT Energy, which is developing and testing a non-radioactive, multiphase flow meter prototype; OligomicsTx, which is working to treat facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy; Optimal Combustion, which is developing a mobile utility system for worksites; Swift Charge, which is working to test and manufacture a fast charger for electric vehicles; UpRow, which is integrating artificial intelligence for its newcomer services; and ZerOne, which is upgrading its digital infrastructure and collaborating with the University of Alberta.

Sohi, who campaigned in the 2021 election on a promise to create a city innovation fund, has supported the Edge Fund during the 2023-2026 budget deliberations.

The Edge Fund launched with an event in August. At the time, Sohi promised on LinkedIn that the fund would "transform our community."

Two Edge Fund recipients were also winners at the recent YEG Startup Community Awards. Future Fields won Most Edmonton Startup of the Year while UpRow made that category's finals. Oligomics Tx won the Startup TNT Life Sciences Summit finale in March.

The 2023 grants are part of Phase 1 of the Edge Fund, but the city has yet to say whether the fund will be renewed for further phases. When the fund was announced, program manager Nik George said recipients would have to adhere to a "milestone payment mechanism." Successfully funded companies aren't required to pay back the money.

Photo: Mental health service provider DiveThru received the biggest chunk of the Edmonton Edge Fund — $750,000 to construct and open two locations. (Supplied)