It’s not just a tech explosion: Calgary soon to be Canadian hub for agrifood innovation

The centre will support early-stage Canadian startups from across the agrifood value chain

By Krista Sylvester | January 25, 2022 |5:00 am

The teams behind Platform Calgary and THRIVE by SVG Ventures smile for the camera at a recent announcement about a new agrifood hub right here in Calgary.

Photo: Submitted

If there’s anything as exciting as the city’s current tech explosion, it’s agrifood innovation. 

Thanks to a strategic collaboration between SVG Ventures | THRIVE and Platform Calgary, the Agrifood Innovation Digital Hub for Canada will reside right in the heart of Calgary. 

It’s all part of exciting growth happening in the city’s tech and agriculture sectors, according to Jen Lussier, Platform Calgary’s director of growth. 

“We just kind of scratched the surface with it in our own pilot last year, but there’s so much happening here,” she says, adding there are a lot of companies doing great things right here in Calgary. 

“It’s just a matter of putting some fuel on to what’s already happening here.”

Lussier says this partnership is a natural next step for a lot of those small startups to get in front of a Silicon Valley accelerator with global market access into global agriculture and corporate giants. 

“We’re very excited about this opportunity,” she says. 

So, what is THRIVE anyways? 

Based in Silicon Valley, THRIVE will be a Resident Program Partner within the new Platform Innovation Centre where they will launch the Agrifood Innovation Digital Hub for Canada. 

The hub will support early-stage Canadian startups from across the agrifood value chain whose technologies drive us towards a more efficient, sustainable, and secure agriculture future.

John Cassidy, managing director of THRIVE Canada, says this new partnership illustrates the close alignment in values between the two organizations. 

“Canadian innovation will continue to play a huge role in the future of global agriculture,” he says. 

“Together, we will nurture the fast-growing agrifood innovation community, and, in doing so, accelerate the technologies and jobs of the future that will fuel our economy from here in the heart of Calgary.”

What is Platform Calgary’s role?

Together, THRIVE Canada and Platform Calgary will align startup programming and resources to best serve agri-tech innovators in Calgary and across the country. 

The Platform Innovation Centre will be the base for THRIVE Canada accelerator programming such as demo days, cohort programming, seed camps, workshops, events, and pitch sessions.

“Nearly a quarter of Platform Calgary’s clients in 2020 were in agriculture and food innovation, and this number will only grow with dedicated support and programming,” says Dr. Terry Rock, president and CEO of Platform Calgary. 

With THRIVE Canada, this now includes all the resources and connections they have within the global agrifood innovation community.

“Whenever a tech innovator walks through the door of the Platform Innovation Centre, they will be welcomed with access to everything they need to achieve success,” Rock adds.

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Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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