Avenue’s 2021 Innovation Event Explores the Future of Food, Talent, Investment and Storytelling in Calgary

Hundreds of innovators, entrepreneurs, creatives, techies and food lovers across Alberta registered for the virtual event.

A screenshot of the investment access panel during Avenue's Innovation Event on June 16. Clockwise from left to right: Khalid Abdul Razak, Laura Kilcrease, Andrew Chau and Alice Reimer.

On June 16, hundreds of people across Alberta joined Avenue and Alberta Innovates for Innovation: Talent, the New Economy and the Future of Food. The one-day, free, virtual event, was led by Calgarians bolstering Calgary’s economic future within agri-tech, talent acquisition, investment access and digital storytelling.

“Albertans are innovative and creative, it’s in their DNA,” said Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates. 

“We seek out new paths to the future, applying new knowledge and technologies to traditional sectors like agriculture, health and energy. At the same time, we’re using data, digital technologies, artificial intelligence, cleantech and other emerging technologies to pivot to new opportunities across sectors… The next century will bring unbound opportunities with technologies and innovations we can only imagine today. We need to make sure that Albertans can grasp those opportunities. 

The first 75 participants who joined the panel discussion, Food of the Future, each won a digital experience box of products worth more than $300 from local, innovative food brands. That kickstarted the day’s events and the lively discussions amongst panellists and audience members throughout the day.  

Read about some more innovations in local food that we covered in Avenue‘s current issue here.

In a panel moderated by Avenue editor-in-chief Käthe Lemon, Kevin Dahl, advisor, Alberta Yield, Platform Calgary and Dawn Trautman, manager smart agriculture and food innovation, Alberta Innovates discussed the trends and challenges of the agri-tech sector in Alberta, touching on topics like aquaponics, the sustainability of urban farming to feed large populations, how Calgary’s downtown offices can be transformed by community gardens and more. 

In our People Powered panel, Jennifer Aubin, chief people & culture officer, Attabotics, Brad Perry, vice president marketing and communications, Calgary Economic Development and Irfhan Rawji, founder and CEO, MobSquad, dived into the nuts and bolts of attracting, retaining and growing our talent pool in Calgary. Mark Tewksbury, Olympic Champion and co-founder of Great Traits, moderated the discussion and delivered audience questions such as how to reskill for the tech industry, or how to prevent a brain-drain of young people.

Check out Avenue’s story on growing, attracting and retaining talent in our current issue here.

In the afternoon, our Investment Access panellists tackled the ups and downs of making access to investment easier for startups, or any company, to set up shop in Alberta. The panel, moderated by Khalid Abdul Razak, entrepreneur in residence at Mount Royal University, featured Andrew Chau, co-founder, Skip the Dishes and Neo Financial, Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates and Alice Reimer, CEO, Fillip and Site Lead, CDL-Rockies answering questions like what responsibilities industry, government and education all share in widening access to investment.

Read this Avenue story on local “unicorns” from our current issue.

To cap off the day, our keynote speaker, Peter Tertzakian, managing director of ARC Financial and best-selling author of A Thousand Barrels a Second and The End of Energy Obesity, introduced his new software platform Energyphile. In conversation with Avenue writer Shelley Arnusch, Tertzakian and audience members discussed how we can reimagine the ways that humans receive and understand information in a digital age.

Catch Peter Tertzakian on the cover of Avenue‘s current Innovation issue.

The recordings of all sessions will be available through the end of August here.

The Future of Calgary in the Next Economy was hosted with the generous support of our platinum sponsor, Alberta Innovates, our gold sponsor Calgary Economic Development and our bronze sponsors Chartered Professional Accountants Alberta, Mount Royal University and Platform Calgary.

Learn more about the people and organizations moving Calgary forward with Avenue's Innovation Newsletter.

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