Calgary investment fund spots $400K for investor hub for underrepresented founders

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Calgary’s city-owned investment fund is providing $400,000 in funding for an investor hub that will target early-stage companies focused on equity, diversity and inclusion.

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) announced Thursday that it will provide the funding over 28 months to the city’s tech hub, Platform Calgary, for the National Bank Investor Hub — a group that helps investors connect with fledgling companies and startups.

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The money will be distributed to up to 40 investors seeking to work with Calgary startups.

“This investment will help Calgary startups access capital sooner, reduce barriers for new investors to enter Calgary’s innovation scene and create more opportunities for Calgarians to achieve their biggest ambitions,” Brad Parry, president and CEO of the OCIF, said in a statement.

In particular, the hub will be seeking investors focused on investing in companies with underrepresented founders, along with those whose missions are centred around equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

The National Bank Investor Hub is a “point of entry” to Calgary’s early-stage tech sector, according to the OCIF. It will work with investors by providing education and connection opportunities, including pitch and networking events, educational programming and coaching.

Alongside the OCIF’s investment, the federal government is investing an additional $450,000 to attract new investors for Calgary’s tech companies. The money will be distributed over the next three years and will help about 100 small- and medium-sized tech companies.

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“This investment in Platform Calgary’s Investor Hub will help Alberta’s tech entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to market while working to build a sustainable economy for Albertans,” Dan Vandal, minister for PrairiesCan, wrote in a statement.

The OCIF has overall provided $84 million to 29 projects, which has created or retained nearly 3,000 jobs, the fund said in a statement. That funding has created and scaled more than 800 companies and attracted $34 million in funding from government partners and generated nearly $900 million in economic activity, it said.

The city-owned subsidiary, administered through Calgary Economic Development, was created in 2018 with $100 million in funding.

Most recently, the OCIF has provided $3.9 million to Calgary’s Aerospace Innovation Hub and $5.5 million for a digital media hub at Bow Valley College.

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