Alberta tech startups will plug into global innovation system through new business accelerator

EDMONTON, Alberta, Sept. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alberta tech entrepreneurs and startups will soon have access to an accelerator with worldwide reach that will help them grow their businesses.

Alberta Innovates chose Plug and Play Alberta as one of four proposals to receive funding under an unprecedented entrepreneurial initiative for Alberta – the Alberta Innovates Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP). The program is intended to fill a scaleup gap in the province’s innovation system by helping local tech companies grow, and to attract global firms and investment to the province.

Plug and Play, headquartered in Silicon Valley, is a tech investor and accelerator firm with an international network of more than 30,000 startups and 500 corporations, and hundreds of venture capital firms, universities and government agencies across multiple industries. Plug and Play invests in more than 200 startups per year globally.

Plug and Play Alberta will deliver programs in Calgary and Edmonton and bring ventures from around the world to Alberta. They will offer sector-agnostic and sector-based accelerator programs in digital health and sustainable clean resources across the province, from their main Alberta office in Calgary and a satellite office in Edmonton.

In total, the four chosen accelerators, including Plug and Play, will provide services in Alberta with the support of a funding consortium led by Alberta Innovates. Three orders of government are investing about $35 million for the overall accelerator program in Alberta. This includes funding from the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation to Alberta Innovates to lead and manage the overall Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program. The Government of Canada, through Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), has invested to expand funds available to not-for-profit business accelerators. Additional funding is coming at the municipal level from Innovate Edmonton, and the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) also intends to invest.

“Plug and Play has a unique business model that will connect the best startups with international corporations to bring technology to market faster and is a key player in creating syndicated technology investment deals. We are happy to have the power of its networks working for Albertans and our innovation system. Thanks to funding from our government partners, the scope of the scaleup and growth accelerator program and the quality of the global programming is unparalleled for Alberta and a tremendous opportunity.”                           

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“We are committed to becoming a central pillar of Alberta’s economy through establishing and building a long-term presence and an integrated, collaborative system. This will not only attract top technology and investment to the region but will drive innovation and help Alberta entrepreneurs to scale and grow.”

Saeed Amidi, CEO and Founder, Plug and Play

"The startup community that exists in the Alberta region is innovative and resilient, presenting several opportunities for growth. We at Plug and Play, are dedicated to helping the community, bringing our values and vision to create an ecosystem that is vibrant and unique from other environments around the world.”

Michael Olmstead, Chief Revenue Officer at Plug and Play

“As part of our global innovation strategy, BASF has long partnered with Plug and Play in Stuttgart, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, and in June 2020, we announced our anchor partnership and shared Canadian office space in Canada (Ontario). Today, we congratulate Plug and Play on their announcement, where BASF has a significant presence and sees market, partnership and innovation potential. We look forward to continued collaboration and engagement with innovators within Plug and Play’s ecosystem.”

Irene Yang, Director, Business Development & Innovation, BASF Canada

“Attracting Plug and Play to Alberta is game changing for Edmonton and our province. They will connect Edmonton’s entrepreneurs with the support they need to scale, grow and to compete on the world-stage in today’s impact economy. Locally, Edmontonians will benefit from job growth, new investment and economic diversity.”

Catherine Warren, CEO, Innovate Edmonton

"As we work to develop a diverse economy driven by innovation in Calgary and Alberta, there is a critical role for leading business accelerators to collaborate with existing local stakeholders to support local entrepreneurs and emerging companies that are applying technology to solve global challenges These accelerators will increase the pace of scaling and success for our next generation of companies that will drive both economic growth and diversification."

Mark Blackwell, Executive Chair, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund


Q: Who is eligible to participate?

A: This program is open to ventures from anywhere in Alberta, Canada and around the world. Companies will be selected accordingly to criteria set by Plug and Play.

Q: Why should we fund non-Alberta companies?

A: One of the goals is to highlight Alberta capability to the world and make Alberta a preferred technology destination for entrepreneurs and investment. We want to attract international firms to Alberta and create a global mindset in our local innovation ecosystem.

Q: Is there a fee to apply?

A: There will be no fees to apply or participate.

For more information about this accelerator, contact:
Allison Romero
Director of Marketing
Plug and Play

About Alberta Innovates
Alberta Innovates is the province’s largest and Canada’s first provincial research and innovation agency. For a century we have worked closely with researchers, companies and entrepreneurs – trailblazers who built industries and strengthened communities. Today we are pivoting to the next frontier of opportunity in Alberta and worldwide by driving emerging technologies across sectors. We are a provincial corporation delivering seed funding, business advice, applied research and technical services, and avenues for partnership and collaboration. Learn how Alberta Innovates.

About Innovate Edmonton
Headquartered in Alberta’s capital city, Innovate Edmonton leverages, unites, and promotes home-grown innovation as a gateway to solving the world’s most pressing problems. We harness the power of the public and private sectors, ground-breaking academic research, and purpose-driven investment to build a shared prosperity and open international markets. From sustainable climate solutions to public health and digital education, Edmonton is a leading global centre for inspiration, ingenuity, and inclusion. Learn more about Innovate Edmonton and Startup Edmonton, a division of Innovate Edmonton.

About Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund
Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary in 2018 to support catalytic investments within the city to help diversify and transform the economy. The fund is administered by Calgary Economic Development and has a volunteer Board of Directors. For more information, visit our website.

About Plug and Play
Plug and Play is the leading innovation platform, connecting startups, corporations, venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, we're present in 35+ locations across five continents. We offer corporate innovation programs and help our corporate partners in every stage of their innovation journey, from education to execution. We also organize startup acceleration programs and have built an in-house VC to drive innovation across multiple industries where we've invested in hundreds of successful companies including Dropbox, Guardant Health, Honey, Lending Club, N26, PayPal, and Rappi. For more information, visit

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Plug and Play Alberta Partnership