Tech is on the radar of incoming city council


Edmonton's mayor-elect Amarjeet Sohi has promised to support the city's tech and innovation economy, a move that appears to have the majority of new councillors on board.

The support is welcome news to entrepreneurs like Jason Suriano, founder and CEO of TIQ Software and a member of Innovate Edmonton's Innovation Growth Council.

"I'm excited to see a diverse council that will help Edmonton move forward. Although it's a bit too early to say what the new council means specifically for the tech and innovation community, I'm optimistic based on what I heard from the candidates before the election," Suriano told Taproot.

"My hope is that council will engage early and often with Innovate Edmonton to help promote the mandate set out by the local innovation community — the startups, scaleups, and established companies who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to promote Edmonton as a global destination for innovative technology."

In addition to listening to entrepreneurs, Sohi also has his own ideas for the sector and local businesses — in his platform on the economy he referred to advocacy for Edmonton Global, saying he will look at how the city complements it and "the rest of the ecosystem, leveraging strengths in artificial intelligence, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing, among others."

He also talked about creating an innovation fund to attract jobs and investment from companies looking to get established in Edmonton, as well as facilitating the expansion of local businesses.

Jason Suriano, a bearded man in a blue shirt, smiles beside his reflection in a window

Jason Suriano is optimistic about the incoming council's interest in tech and innovation. (TIQ Software)

Incumbent Hamilton mentioned her involvement in the formation of Innovate Edmonton in her platform, and Andrew Knack spoke about making the city "one of the first customers for start-up businesses" and improving the licensing and permitting process.

Meanwhile, councillor-elect Keren Tang wants fresh strategies and direct support of entrepreneurs, including making the City of Edmonton an active partner for local innovators looking to trial new products; Anne Stevenson spoke about removing barriers and expanding grant programs; Jennifer Rice talked about determining how Edmonton can better embrace innovative technology; Michael Janz wants to see Edmonton grow its emerging sectors like artificial intelligence and agricultural tech; and Ashley Salvador aims to make the city the best place to launch a business or get a job.

Like her colleagues, Erin Rutherford said it will be crucial to "support local businesses to innovate, attract talent, and create good jobs by making it easier to do business." And Jo-Anne Wright wants to promote Edmonton as a place to do business.

You can see where the candidates stand on these and other issues raised by the Taproot Survey on the results dashboard.