In a joint virtual media event, OCIF announced it will fund Calgary-based CDL-Rockies and Movement51 to accelerate the creation and growth of tech companies and inspire the economic empowerment of women in Calgary.
“It’s vital to Calgary’s economic future to accelerate the growth of promising local early-stage companies to position Calgary as Canada’s innovation hub with the expertise, global connections and funding to turn big ideas and transformative technology into successful companies,” said Nancy Laird, Vice-Chair, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund Board of Directors.
OCIF will contribute up to $3 million over five years to support CDL-Rockies’ unique program for startups commercializing transformational technologies across industries.
“CDL-Rockies launched with a bold plan to kick start innovation in the Calgary economy – and what a massive success it has been,” said Dr. Jim Dewald, Dean, Haskayne School of Business, and member Creative Destruction Lab's Strategic Advisory Board.
“To date, CDL alumni companies based in Alberta have raised well over $200 million in capital and created hundreds of jobs. From that seed investment of just over $4 million from Calgary philanthropists in 2017, CDL-Rockies has become a pillar of the innovation ecosystem enabling tech, agriculture and energy companies to thrive. That success will only grow thanks to this incredible support from OCIF and PrairiesCan.”
The Government of Canada, through Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), is also investing more than $1.8 million in CDL-Rockies.
“Our investment in Creative Destruction Lab (CDL)–Rockies is about providing these entrepreneurs and innovators with the supports, tools and resources needed to take their businesses to the next level and to seize opportunities from our unique prairie advantages,” said the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, who is responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
The51’s not-for-profit organization, Movement51, will receive up to $333,000 over two years from OCIF to support the graduation of 165 Calgary-based women-identifying individuals through its Financial Feminism Investing Lab (FFIL).
“As a company headquartered in Calgary, we know the incredible potential that exists to make this city a Financial Feminist Capital centre in Canada,” said Shelley Kuipers, Co-CEO, Chief Growth Officer, The51. “The51 is thrilled OCIF has chosen to invest in Movement51 to diversify the investment and entrepreneurial ecosystem, ensuring the 51 per cent are fully participating in building the financial feminist economy.”
Movement51’s six-week virtual FFIL program includes an introduction to the startup ecosystem with a focus on early-stage investor education and has an aim to provide participants with the terminology, capability and confidence to activate their capital to drive innovation and advance the economy through a gender-aware lens.
"The seeds of our future success lie with the wealth of experience in women-led enterprises,” said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, ex-officio OCIF Director. “Women comprise 51 per cent of our population but only receive 2.3 per cent of venture capital. Women’s economic empowerment is key to our economic success, and we must fund and create policies that unlock this potential. I'm excited to see this needed investment being announced today. It is sure to contribute to the rising tide of women leading our economic recovery."
Boosting innovation and inclusion
Funding for both organizations aligns with the vision of the community-created economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy: to be the destination of choice for the world’s best entrepreneurs who embrace innovation to solve global challenges and to create shared prosperity and opportunities for all.
Both recipient organizations work together with the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business to provide programming to expand the innovation ecosystem, which will help achieve the community’s goal to create 2,334 startups, with 1,000 core tech companies by 2030.
“These investments will help our city grow as an inclusive innovation hub and the destination of choice in Canada to solve the world’s greatest challenges,” said Brad Parry, Interim President & CEO, Calgary Economic Development.
OCIF was launched by The City of Calgary in April 2018 to support catalytic investments within the city to help diversify and transform the economy. CDL-Rockies and Movement51 are the 19th and 20th organizations to be approved for funding.
For more information, visit the OCIF website or the Calgary in the New Economy page.