What is the CIC?

The Calgary Innovation Coalition (CIC) was formed in 2016 in response to Alberta Innovates’ (AI) offer of grant dollars into the regional innovation networks (RIN) across the province for entrepreneurial support and development. Rather than flow the money into a single entity for distribution, a collective of 17 organizations came together and presented a single vision of the priorities for Calgary’s innovation community to the Government. Since then, the CIC has grown to 37 support organizations that are working together to grow a thriving tech and innovation ecosystem in Calgary and Alberta.

What is our North Star?

CIC’s north star is to support the creation and acceleration of 1,000 technology based startups in Calgary by 2031. Members refer to this as the 10X challenge. The presence of this many active startups in our ecosystem would mean the creation of 50,000 jobs and $50B in direct GDP contribution.

What is the CIC doing to achieve this?

The CIC is meeting this challenge by providing and supporting services offered by our members including:

  • Cohort based Programs
  • Short Courses
  • Funding
  • Industry advocacy
  • Policy insights and influence
  • Lab and prototyping space
  • Introductions to other industry experts, peers, funders, and customers

Last year, CIC members Calgary Economic Development, Platform Calgary, and comparable organizations in Edmonton partnered with Startup Genome to assess the current state of our ecosystem and where we should focus to accelerate our growth. Through this project, Startup Genome reported the following gaps needing response to achieve the 10X challenge: 

  • Need to increase the number of technology startups and their quality
  • Lack of early-stage funding
  • Limited pool of experienced tech talent.
  • Low Global Market Reach

Following this assessment, CIC members committed to focus its coordinated efforts on  Student Engagement, Angel Investment, and Global Reach. By addressing these issues, CIC aims to increase the success of Calgarian startups.

How is the CIC Funded and Governed?

The Government of Alberta, through Alberta Innovates, provides funding to Regional Innovation Networks across the province. RINs are entrepreneur-centric, community-based networks with the goal of providing programs and services to accelerate growth of technology and knowledge-based businesses in those jurisdictions. The Calgary Innovation Coalition acts as the Calgary-region RIN and is managed by a contracted Program Director who reports to a Board of Fellows who are elected by Members annually. Funding for the CIC is managed via a three-year grant agreement. Decisions on funding allocations are made by the CIC Fellows.