Startup Week kicks off during high growth year for Edmonton's tech industry

For the first time Edmonton ranked in the top 50 in growing tech markets, according to CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent report.

CBRE report released in July placed Edmonton in top-50 growing tech markets for the first time

Startup Edmonton kicked off virtually on Monday. (David Bajer/CBC)

The annual Startup Week is seeing new momentum in Edmonton as the city experiences a boom in tech jobs.  

Edmonton Startup Week kicked off Monday. The big events will be virtual this year, but tech companies are optimistic because the city is ranked North America's fastest-growing market, according to the annual Scoring Tech Talent report issued by CBRE — a Canadian commercial real estate firm.

"The city itself has re-examined how it's supporting the startup community," Zack Storms, founder of Startup TNT, a non-profit that supports startup, said while on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM Monday.

Storms listed restructuring and Innovate Edmonton as positive changes. Tec Edmonton has shut down, but it has allowed an opportunity for entrepreneurs to take a new approach, he said.

Startup Week is a conference organized by Startup Edmonton, where local startups and startup activators put together different events to share knowledge. They include short and long workshops, and events that look at marketing strategies, attracting talent and networking.

LISTEN | What's planned for this year's startup week in Edmonton:

Edmonton has seen a boom in tech jobs meaning there is greater interest. We speak to the founder of Startup TNT to learn more. 5:42

Storms is hosting a webinar focused on organizing when raising investments. 

He pointed to Edmonton companies such as Jobber and Drivewyze that have become local success stories, raising millions in equity financing, hiring over 100 people and becoming the fastest-growing players in the market.

A decade ago, these companies were just starting out and coming to events like Startup Week with just a handful of people working together, he said. 

Edmonton cracked the CBRE report's top 50 growing tech markets for the first time when the report was released in July. The city was ranked No. 38 and dubbed a "brain gain," as more people are coming to Edmonton to work in the tech industry than leaving.

Edmonton increased its tech workforce by 53.3 per cent from 2015 to 2020, with 12,000 jobs added during the same period, according to the report.

Labour quality in Edmonton is quite high for employers, but the cost to employers is the lowest in the market. Tech workers in Edmonton are getting paid the lowest wages at $55,000, compared to U.S companies with $95,000, the report says.

Calgary and Ottawa also pay more than $65,000 to people in the tech industry, it adds.