An annual event celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship in Edmonton is adding new wrinkles in its 10th year.
Edmonton Startup Week runs from Oct. 10 to 14, a week earlier than in previous years. This change comes from organizer Edmonton Unlimited's desire to avoid overlapping with Small Business Week, during which the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce hosts several events.
"We actually made the joint decision this year to shift the dates of Startup Week to accommodate both organizations," Shamelle Pless, Edmonton Unlimited's head of marketing and PR, told Taproot. "It was important for both organizations to make sure that individuals in the community could participate in both weeks without any conflict."
Another update is the addition of a cash prize to Launch Party 14, the signature event of Startup Week.
"It's an exciting milestone," Pless said. "It's been 10 consecutive years of Startup Week bringing together the brightest minds. In celebration of that, we wanted to award one company with a $10,000, non-diluted prize to ensure that that company has early capital towards major growth."
Startup Week includes more than 70 events, including pitch competitions, social events, and panel sessions on topics such as women in tech and investing. Many take place at Edmonton Unlimited's new headquarters on Jasper Avenue.
"We are excited to welcome innovators into our space, as well as many other venues around the city," Pless said. "It's great to have a percentage of (the events) in our space, but also to have them community-led in different venues across the city."
One example of a community-led event — that is, organized by a third party — is a mountain-biking event on Oct. 13 at Emily Murphy Park organized by Jared Szuch, the founder of Good Day Optics. Another is The Importance of Play — Foam Flinging at Foam Fighters, also on Oct. 13. That one is led by Foam Fighters's owner Eugene Uhuad and entails an epic battle with NERF guns.
A new event this year is one for the comedy fans: StartUpRoast: A Comedy Pitch Off will feature founders pitching startups both real and improvised while experts heckle them. It takes place on Oct. 14 at Edmonton Unlimited.
"It's great to collide innovation and comedy, and the spirit of growth and camaraderie," Pless said. "But also provide these founders the opportunity to pitch their real startups, because they are real. It'll be hilarious, but they also get that constructive feedback."
More Startup Week events
It's a short week due to Thanksgiving, but the program is extensive. Here are a few more events:
- Kick-off Party & Startup Market, an opening celebration presented by Capital City Pilots at Edmonton Unlimited;
- Celebration of Urban Innovation Showcase, also presented by Capital City Pilots, a pitch competition for SMEs before an audience of city staff at Edmonton Unlimited;
- Startup Crawl, a chance to tour entrepreneurial spaces, presented by 321 Growth Academy. Note that RSVPs are full, but it's possible to join a waitlist.
- Transforming Alberta: Exploring the Impact of Health Innovation, a panel moderated by Edmonton Unlimited CEO Catherine Warren on health innovation at Edmonton Unlimited;
- AI Startup Panel, hosted by the Amii Startup Team at the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute;
- The 2023 Start Alberta Tech Awards, hosted by Start Alberta at the Citadel Theatre.
- Investing in the New IPO: The Ideas, Perspectives & Opinions of Women, a panel organized by Maggie on investing in women at Edmonton Unlimited;
- Top 20 Pitch Night for Startup TNT's Investment Summit VIII at Edmonton Unlimited;
- EXPLORE by CREATE: Facility tour around nanoFAB, ISAIC, and Elko Garage, a tour of the Alberta CREATE Centre at the University of Alberta.
- Five Ways to Attract Investors, a presentation by pitch coaches at Edmonton Unlimited;
- Brain Waves: An Introduction to Biosignal Processing, a demo of Muse headsets, hosted by NeurAlbertaTech at the University of Alberta;
- The Potent Potables Party, a chemistry-themed cocktail soirée from Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation and Above Average Drinks at Enterprise Square.
- The Misconceptions of Marketing For Startup Businesses, a panel discussion at the Twin Brooks Community League;
- Emotion importance when choosing experience, a virtual session exploring the intersection of emotion and business from JustVibe.