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Globalizing Calgary Tech with Platform Calgary


Globalizing Calgary Tech with Platform Calgary

TerraHub’s Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Elena Dumitrascu, joined community leaders and entrepreneurs during a panel held by Platform Calgary to discuss how technology and innovation is enabling economic growth here in Calgary and Alberta.

Elena shared that COVID-19 has propelled TerraHub’s industry, digital identity and credentialing, ahead by about five years. The reason the company has had a rush of positive activity and growth, is due to the fact that its blockchain product provides an immutable way to manage identities and this acts as the foundation of new digital economies.

When discussing what Calgary has and what is missing to create a really strong innovation ecosystem, Elena indicated that while working with global participants in identity management or entrepreneurship, it all starts with digital literacy and education. This includes education for two groups: one that builds solutions, such as the tech talent capable to build interesting and emerging technologies, and the other group, one that needs to buy those solutions to solve their problems. It is those with the buying power that need to know what’s available, why it’s important, and how we, (technology innovators) can be a game changer.

Crediting groups like Platform Calgary, A100, and CDL, Elena believes that giving a centralized place to provide mentorship and opportunities for people to learn directly from seasoned entrepreneurs and business executives is critical. This localized support in addition to creating opportunities to meet customers and investors with demand for the things we create is so important.

The panel was asked about how to make sure the entire ecosystem is moving forward with an innovation mindset, (beyond the university level) and it was simple to Elena – continue to grow access. “I meet many individuals who would like to be an entrepreneur, they have ideas and want to take an invention to market and they just don’t know how. To me innovation no longer happens in the university. It’s really about making it accessible to every citizen. Kudos to Platform Calgary and Terry Rock, Shelley Kuipers from The51, and Senator Black for supporting that transparency and access for everybody to get started on how to take an idea and make it real, or come up with a better one.”

The group agreed that in order for growth to occur as a community we must start telling and sharing the journey of technology in our province including that from local media and establishments.  Elena’s journey to Calgary and desire to stay here in Calgary speaks to what she believes will assist with attracting more talent. “Talent attraction – bragging about our stories and the type of tech we’re growing and what we’re doing will help attract talent. The work that Calgary Economic Development is doing to attract people to our beautiful, clean city, with an educated population and mountains nearby is a great way to attract new talent.”

Elena Dumitrascu’s recommendations to participants involved in the tech space:  

  1. Drop the technical jargon. Make your product easily understandable to all.
  2. Keep doing what you’re doing, (entrepreneur education, digital literacy, investments, mentorship, provincial government incentives, places to innovate). You’re on the right path. We just need more of it.

Watch the Platform Video to grab more insights from the panel and Elena such as: 

  • Ideas that stimulate investment into Alberta such as tax breaks for companies implementing local technology
  • The flywheel effect of large tech deals and how those big exits put Calgary on the map, create reinvestment into local technology startups, and ensures talent stays here
  • Focusing on digital tech education in our province are helping people re-skill and up-skill in the tech space such as CompTia
  • And some of the panel’s favourite resources to check out including, Elena’s recommendations: Calgary podcast CollisionsYYC, DIACC for those who want to know what’s coming for Canadians in digital identity and how identity will be issued and exchanged in the near future, and for blockchain news, Coindesk, Betakit, and TechCrunch
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