While to the rest of the world, it is San Francisco and Chicago that are the global entrepreneurial cities, those who know Edmonton know about the entrepreneurial culture in this city. Though Edmonton may not be making a huge blip on the map, there is enough reason to consider it a big challenger to the global power horses. If anything, the start up culture has begun to move out from its infant stages and is fast reaching maturity in the city. Organizations like Startup Edmonton and TEC Edmonton are seeing their projects bearing fruit and helping out aspiring local entrepreneurs.
Edmonton has come a long way from the growth of once upon time start ups – BioWare, The Brick, The Katz Group, HeadCount Corp, Yardstick and more. When BioWare and the Katz Group started, all they had were the dreams of their creators. Today, Edmonton offers any aspiring entrepreneurs the support and advice to follow their dreams and create a successful start up.
Edmonton has often appeared in the ranks of being one of the best cities to start an entrepreneurial venture. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business ranked the city 8th when it came to its start up viability.
On the forefront of Edmonton’s entrepreneurial community are business incubators. Startup Edmonton, TEC Edmonton and Business Link are just some of the many business incubators in the city. Most of these organisations dole out free advice, organise networking events and get aspiring entrepreneurs in touch with mentors. They also offer plenty of programs to help lend financial support and even office space to start ups.
Also, the University of Alberta and MacEwan University are heavily involved in helping students jump start ideas into viable businesses.
The Political Environment
The city has evolved very much with the needs of the entrepreneurial community. In fact, reducing red tape for the business community was one of the foremost criteria of the 2013 Mayoral Elections. Reducing red tape would make things much easier for entrepreneurs. The winner of the election, Don Iveson, plans to cut paper work and make all applications for licences and such online.
With such an encouraging environment, there have been plenty of entrepreneurial successes in the city. Poppy & Barley is a store that offers custom made shoes and has been growing quite successfully with the help of Startup Edmonton’s Flightpath program.
There has even been a small migration of start ups from other parts to Edmonton. You’ve probably heard of Untamed Feast which appeared on the entrepreneurial show Dragon’s Den. Untamed Feast, until a few months ago, was located at Vancouver’s Island. Today, it has moved base to Edmonton. You’ll find plenty of similar success stories in the city.
The rise of crowdfunding has given entrepreneurs the ability to follow their ideas and this has given a boost to entrepreneurial community of Edmonton. Kickstarter has finally come to Canada. TEC Edmonton with its VenturePrize initiative has helped young and promising entrepreneurs by providing capital funding through the prize money of the competition. StartUp Edmonton has helped entrepreneurs attract investment through their Flightpath program.
The entrepreneurial community of Edmonton is silently growing and as every year goes by, there are more success stories added to the city. More and more residents are opting to follow their dreams than working in well established industries.Original Source