Edmonton’s Startup Scene Quietly Maturing, Locals Say

There isn’t often a lot of buzz surrounding Edmonton’s startup scene. But if you ask the locals, they’re just fine with that.

Ken Bautista, who is the CEO and cofounder of accelertator Startup Edmonton, insists the city isn’t trying to replicate Silicon Valley. “We want to embrace what we do here,” he told the Edmonton Journal, adding that he feels “Edmonton is the sleeper startup community of the country; we have the resources, the talent and the connections.”

This year, a study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business ranked Edmonton eighth in Canada for startup viability. You won’t see the city make top 20 global lists like Vancouver, Toronto, and Waterloo, but Edmonton radiates pride where others may have expected shame.

Cam Linke, also a cofounder of Startup Edmonton, is certainly not embarrassed to be an entrepreneur in the city. “We have entrepreneurial roots here in the province,” The University of Alberta graduate affirms. “There’s an acceptance of going out and striking it on your own and not get that oil-and-gas job. There’s also a generation of people who don’t want to design a flow valve for the next 60 years of their lives.”

Edmonton doesn’t feel any pressure to meet certain expectations, like major hubs Vancouver and Toronto undoubtedly feel. Which makes it an underdog—and everybody likes to root for the underdog.