Posted tagged ‘Edmonton’

Triticale… a new source of bioproducts

April 8, 2009

Who needs oitriticalel from Saudi Arabia or Fort McMurray   when you can grow triticale in the back forty?

Triticale is a cereal grain hybridized from wheat and rye half a century ago. It never took off as a substitute for wheat flour. But in the 21st Century, the Alberta Research Council is betting triticale will make a dandy substitute for petroleum.

The Council has just received $15 million dollars from the federal Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program to show us how.

Richard Gibson is the business development manager for Industrial Bioproducts at ARC, and marketing manager with the Canadian Triticale Biorefinery Initiative. He says the main interest in triticale is its potential for chemical and material applications. “If you had crude oil coming out of the ground and you put it into a refinery, you’ve got crude oil turned into a whole range of products. And if we think about triticale as the crude oil for a biorefinery and put triticale in one end of the refinery, we’d get a whole range of products coming out the other side—anything from materials to chemicals and energy as well.

Gibson points out that triticale is a crop well suited for growing in marginal areas, and it is a good addition to a suite of industrial crops for biorefining, including hemp. √

~ Cheryl Croucher


Alberta’s Bioeconomy Potential

April 7, 2009

The current global economic meltdown could easily crush inventors looking for investment capital.

But according to Juan Enriquez, out of crisis comes opportunity. And Alberta companies focused on life sciences can profit from the emerging knowledge economy.

He is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the business of life sciences, a founding director of the Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project, and author of As the Future Catches You.

While in Edmonton recently for the Ingenuity in Our Community symposium, Enriquez offered his perspective. “The economic meltdown is in the financial and credit institutions, in the old economy. If you look at the top 10 performing stocks of last year, the ones that are doing very well, five or six of them are life science companies because people still get sick. People still need to be treated. People, if they have an additional dollar, probably want to spend it on a quality of life. So these are companies that have continued doing well, and that I expect will continue doing well despite the economic meltdown.

Enriquez says Alberta can build a life sciences industry based on its strong capacity in research, resources and entrepreneurship. √  

                                            ~ Cheryl Croucher

 Learn more about Juan Enriquez at

How do you feel about Edmonton?

December 2, 2008

Canadians are normally thought of as nice, reserved people. That’s fairly accurate, until you get us on our favourite subject: the weather.

Our second favorite subject is politics, though many won’t admit that. We get quite passionate about the topic, and it often involves a few curse words. Canada’s current “political crisis” certainly has tongues wagging all over the country. This crisis, which is probably fairly normal elsewhere, has aroused even more passion than usual among Canadians.

Politics is an especially hot topic on Twitter in the Edmonton tech community.

I’m not here to talk about politics though. I’m here to talk about passion. Canadians wouldn’t normally be thought of as passionate, but it’s something that’s just below the surface. One thing I have noticed is that many people are very passionate about the place they live.

Being a relatively new resident of Edmonton, I’m eager to learn more about it. I’ve been travelling to Edmonton for a long time, and I’ve always really enjoyed it. I’m quite happy to call myself an Edmontonian now too.

I’ve talked to many who are passionate about Edmonton. I also know many people who really enjoy visiting Edmonton and who would like to move here at some point.

So, I have a few questions:

  • What do you absolutely love about Edmonton?
  • What would you like everyone to know about Edmonton?
  • What do you see as Edmonton’s advantages?
  • How do you feel about Edmonton’s future?
  • What direction would you like the city to go? Pick any topic.

Please feel free to comment.

Good time to be an angel investor?

November 19, 2008

With the obviously weak economy, I wonder what angel investors are thinking right now. Is it really a great time to start a business and invest in speculative ventures?

You’d think that right now would be a great time to be an angel investor. Layoffs and a bad economy spur creativity in many ways, even just for survival. There’s a growing pool of creative people out there that now have some free time to be able to work on their ideas. That’s not necessarily a positive thing from one perspective, but opportunity grows from adversity.

From an angel investor perspective, you don’t want to be putting money in at the top of the economic cycle, if you can help it. It’s better to invest at the bottom to be able to maximize your returns.

Yes, it is a good time to be an angel investor

It’s a timely subject, as it’s Global Entrepreneurship Week and according to this article it would seem that being a startup right now is a good thing. There are more employees available and better quality candidates. Looking at the economic side of things, it’s better because there’s less emphasis on high wages, people are willing to work for equity and basic expenses like rent are more affordable too.

The credit crunch has tightened credit up to the point where even established businesses are having trouble getting the funding they need, as witnessed by Linens ‘n Things and Circuit City.

While that may be the case, if you’ve got a solid business model, good management and have the groundwork in place, you might be able to find the right angel investor to come along. By the time we’re out of the woods on this recession, you could be well placed to profit from the next upswing in the economy. It feels like the end of the world now, it always does, but it always rebounds.

Edmonton angel investment

Edmonton is a good place for angel investors to be looking for their next deal. Many of them already are, from what I’ve heard. The Edmonton tech community is active and creative. Perhaps some people write off Alberta as all oil and gas, but there is a lot of creativity in the Edmonton tech community and they’re not just working for the oilfields.

Edmonton might not be Sand Hill Road, but it could be the Sand Hill Road of the future. The city has a lot going for it. The University of Alberta is a life sciences sector leader and it seems like there are important life sciences discoveries announced there every week.

NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) is a leader in the tech education community, turning out highly skilled grads in a number of fields. NAIT grads are certainly out there shaking up the world.

While the rest of the world’s economy is weak, Alberta still has a strong economy and has good prospects to weather the recession well.

If you’re looking for a pool of creative talent in a vibrant and successful city, Edmonton might just be the right place to start your next venture or find your next angel investment deal.

A Start-Up Business YouTube?

November 7, 2008

It seems that in the state of the current economy more and more cities like Edmonton are seeking new ways to promote their young entrepreneurs and technology sectors. Just recently we discovered some striking similarities between the technology sectors of Edmonton and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It seems that young entrepreneurs are beginning to find success in promoting and raising awareness of start-up businesses in areas that are not technically considered hubs of entrepreneurship.

Case in point, promotes start-up businesses in the Milwaukee area and the country. The owners, Ryan Graves and Blake Samic share between themselves a wealth of information technology experience that could launch their website into the next “YouTube” for start-up businesses. In a sense, their site could become a popular source for young entrepreneurs and investors to gather and share information through the use of video and other sources of technology. But will they succeed?

When Bruce Johnson released Semanti, a brilliant search technology that sets on top of Google to personalize the searching experience, he probably never would have guessed the level of the technology’s current success. Though Graves and Samic do have a long way to go before they can consider themselves as being the next start-up YouTube or even as successful as Bruce Johnson, the potential is definitely there, and just as Semanti’s potential was recognized and marketed, so too will the idea of these two young entrepreneurs.

It serves as a reminder to all social networkers, young entrepreneurs and investors alike that we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to ideas. New ideas are developing and will continue to develop in our current economic crisis, and as Edmontonians Visionaries often discovers, technology is always at the heart of those developments.

Edmonton is more than Oil and Gas

October 28, 2008



For quite some time now, Edmonton’s technology sectors have been making national headlines.  Just recently, DataGardens was selected as one of Canada’s Top Ten Technology Competition winners.  This news came as a delighted shock to president and CEO of DataGardens, Geoff Hayward.


DataGardens will be showcasing its Syntropy hardware across North America.  Syntropy, the latest in innovation, provides companies with the ability to develop a computer network without having to store and maintain several servers.  In fact, with the use of Syntropy companies can move their computers from branch to branch on a moments notice via the network.  This ground-breaking innovation provides a real-world solution to an age old problem that has yet to be addressed until now.


Since 2007 DataGardens has been able to secure three million dollars in financing that will help move the WAVE technology out of its pilot stage.  Geoff Hayward believes that, just like past winners, more venture capital opportunities will soon become available.  


DataGardens is just one of the many companies belonging to the Edmonton technology sector that is putting Edmonton on the global market.    

Investors are Seeking Safe and Practical Investment Opportunities

October 26, 2008





Recently Edmonton was named one of the 21 Smartest Communities in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).   Yet the technology and life science sectors of Edmonton seem to have fallen below the radars of many economic strategists in the past.  However, in the state of the current economic crisis facing the world today, along with the commitment of Edmontonians Visionaries and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), more and more economic strategists are becoming aware of the financial and investment potential of Edmonton. 


Raising this awareness, Edmontonians Visionaries has an eighteen year history of promoting the economic and social energy of Edmonton and the surrounding areas.  Publisher of Edmontonians, a monthly publication aimed toward the commerce leaders and individuals of the community, Edmontonians strives to develop effective mediums that promote the commerce aspect of Edmonton.  Also raising awareness and owned by the city of Edmonton, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) is a non-profit organization responsible for many things, including the economic development of Edmonton.  But what exactly are these two institutions promoting?   


Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), a prestigious technology institute, is an investors’ paradise.  Northern Alberta Institute of Technology has been noted for its many achievements, including creating and operating Canada’s first commercially operated fuel cell, providing the institution with 8% of their energy needs.  And more green products and programs at NAIT are underway that are expected to save the institution over $100,000 a year per program in energy costs. 


NAIT is active in twenty-three countries and is currently serving as one of Alberta, Canada’s top thirty-five employers.  They pride themselves in having a 95% graduate placement rating, as well as a 98% employer satisfaction rating.  In short, NAIT possesses the necessary resources as well as the potential to develop new energy technology that the world so desperately needs.


More about NAIT and other Edmonton investment possibilities coming in future posts.