Edmonton Global Monthly Briefing

Welcome to Edmonton Global’s monthly briefing. Each month we update you on what’s new and noteworthy in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. subscribe

Polykar plans to build new manufacturing facility in Edmonton

Polykar, a Montreal-based manufacturer of flexible packaging, is planning to build a $20 million manufacturing facility in the Discovery Business Park on the south side of Edmonton. The facility will add 30 million pounds of production capacity to all of Polykar’s product lines and will create 40 jobs.

“Polykar will be a strong addition to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region’s manufacturing sector. This investment highlights the wealth of opportunity that exists here for companies looking to access talent and reach global markets,” said Edmonton mayor Don Iveson. “Our region is home to the entire advanced materials and plastics value chain. On behalf of the City of Edmonton, we welcome Polykar and look forward to helping them grow.”

The facility is expected to start operations in early 2021.

Young. Educated. Growing

Western Economic Diversification Canada investing $27 million in local innovation projects

Western Economic Diversification Canada has announced over $27 million in new investments for 23 projects across the Edmonton region. “A diversified economy is important to our ability to seize opportunities in the rapidly changing global economy,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science, and economic development. “These investments will help position Edmonton and surrounding areas to prosper from their unique advantages.” Organizations receiving investment include Willowglen Systems Ltd., which makes industrial automation technology, and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), which aims to “establish viable uses for artificial intelligence and machine learning in health and data analytics.”

Jobber named 2nd fastest growing software company in Canada

Jobber has been named the 2nd fastest growing software company in Canada on the 30th annual Growth 500 ranking published by Canadian Business and Maclean’s. The company ranked 7th overall, the highest of the sixteen local companies to make the list. Jobber qualified for the list with 10,290% growth since 2015 and 2018 revenue in the $20-50 million range. The company was also named to the 2019 Best Workplaces list in the technology sector. Earlier this month, Jobber introduced a large product update bringing new growth-focused features and automation capabilities to its offerings.

Edmonton’s official population rises to 972,223

Edmonton’s official city population is 972,223 as of April 1, 2019, an increase of 72,776 over the last municipal census in 2016. The City of Edmonton said that represents an average growth rate of 2.6% annually. “This is a great sign for Edmonton,” said mayor Don Iveson as he announced the results of the 2019 Municipal Census at City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 5. “One of the highlights of our census is that we continue to have one of the youngest populations in Canada.”

Amii Innovates launches, guides AI adoption in Alberta businesses

The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) has announced the first cohort of Innovation Affiliates participating in the newly launched Amii Innovates program. Nearly two dozen businesses were selected “based on their readiness for machine intelligence adoption and potential for commercial success,” including 2S Water, DrugBank, Frettable, MEDO.ai, SAM, and Testfire Labs. Through the program, Amii works with Alberta-based businesses to grow their internal machine intelligence capabilities.

Growing cargo business ‘doing very well’ at Edmonton International Airport

Cargo volumes at the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) are up nearly 5% year-over-year “in a world economy that has about a 6% decline in cargo,” says Myron Keehn, vice-president of air service and commercial development at EIA. Cargo traffic at EIA has grown 18% over the past decade and the airport is in the process of being the only Canadian airport with the International Air Transport Association’s certificate for Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV), “otherwise known as the international gold standard for pharmaceutical air shipping.”

Aurora Cannabis sales volume nearly doubles as net revenue jumps 52%

“Aurora Cannabis Inc. sold almost double the amount of cannabis and reported a 52% increase in net revenue in its latest fiscal quarter, results that were mostly in line with what the Edmonton-based licensed producer had forecast a month ago. The company attributed the substantial increase in cannabis production and sales to its Aurora Sky facility near Edmonton International Airport, which received full licensing from Health Canada in late February this year.”

More Edmonton Metro Region Headlines

  • According to new figures on export growth from Statistics Canada, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is leading Canada – at more than double the national average.
  • TELUS has announced it will invest $16 billion in Alberta over the next five years, creating 5,000 jobs directly and spurring the creation of 20,000 more. The investment will provide better access to healthcare technology, will expand fibre optic connectivity, and will prepare Alberta for the introduction of 5G wireless services.
  • MEDO.ai, which makes an AI-augmented 3D ultrasound platform, won the Falling Walls Venture competition at the University of Alberta and will now represent Alberta at the Falling Walls event in Germany on Nov. 8/9. “Berlin be ready, we are coming!” the company tweeted.
  • BioWare has officially opened its new 75,000-square-foot offices inside Epcor Tower, the new home for the company’s 300 local employees. “Everything is just a wonderful upgrade and it is really to bring out the best quality in our workplace for our staff and in turn, the best quality in the games we make,” says studio general manager Casey Hudson.
  • Edmonton-based Yardly, a platform for recurring seasonal yard services, has closed a $1 million seed investment round to help it expand into new Canadian markets next year, including Vancouver, Ottawa, and Hamilton.
  • Edmonton City Council has approved a new 60-storey high-rise tower to be built north of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald along Jasper Avenue downtown. “It’s going to fill in the skyline a little bit and it’s positive to bring some commercial activity … to that really important corner,” said Mayor Don Iveson of the tower.
  • Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) helped to organize a trade mission of approximately 20 women business owners from the German Business Women’s Association (VdU). During their visit, VdU representatives toured Startup Edmonton, met with the Alberta Economic Development and Trade Office, and attended a networking event at the ATB Entrepreneur Centre.
  • Western Economic Diversification Canada announced $11 million for 65 tourism projects across Western Canada. Edmonton-based Alberta’s Food Incubation Hub Ltd. (The Public) will receive $99,999 to develop a “facility to showcase local farm-to-table products, chefs, and businesses.” Other funding recipients include Sturgeon County’s Anderseed Farms Ltd., Leduc County’s Old Red Barn Ltd., and the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority.
  • Edmonton-based TappCar is expanding into B.C., pending approval by the BC Passenger Transportation Board. It would be the first ride-hailing company to operate outside of the Lower Mainland.
  • Alberta Enterprise Corporation has invested in McRock Capital’s second venture capital fund focused on the industrial internet of things. “We see this as a strategic investment for AEC that will facilitate the growth of successful Industrial IoT companies in the province of Alberta, both to strengthen our foundational industries of agriculture, oil and gas, and also taking advantage of Alberta’s strength in machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Kristina Williams, CEO of Alberta Enterprise Corporation.
  • Edmonton’s Triple Five Group opens its American Dream retail and amusement complex west of Manhattan Oct. 25. The owners of West Edmonton Mall and Mall of America took over the stalled New Jersey project in 2011, now expected to attract 40 million visitors annually with a WEM-sized 3 million square feet that “Triple Five calls the Western Hemisphere’s biggest indoor theme park.”

Happenings

This briefing was brought to you by Taproot Publishing on behalf of Edmonton Global. This edition was compiled by Mack Male.

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