Starting January 25, 2022, 20 tech startups from around the world will participate in a first-of-its-kind program to deliver business development and mentorship opportunities to technology startups that provide a social, community or wellness benefit. The selected businesses have applied artificial intelligence, machine learning and other advanced technologies to develop apps or digital platforms, and will be validating their business and technology by accessing local community service agencies as well as data from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS).
“One of our key goals is to demonstrate to the world the entrepreneurial power within Alberta and how we can help deliver better social outcomes using data, technology, AI/ML, mentorship and working with amazing community agencies and partners in making a measurable and impactful difference,” said Ashif Mawji, Chair for the Edmonton Police Foundation and the TELUS CSW.
"Helping these businesses with the right information and navigating our social ecosystem is vital to the success of these businesses and to ensure positive social outcomes are achieved," said Supt. Devin Laforce, who is the EPS contact for the Accelerator.
TELUS CSW received applications from around the world for the coveted 20 available spots. Judges shortlisted and interviewed top applicants, resulting in a compelling first cohort with an under 30% admissions rate. Companies selected are from Russia, New Zealand, Israel, Turkey, Argentina, the United States, and Canada, including Alberta.
“We could not be more impressed with the quality and diversity of applicants for our first cohort,” said Ian Bergman, Partner at AlchemistX. “Whether from Alberta, across Canada, or abroad, these start-ups bring innovative technological solutions to bear against some of the most pressing challenges facing our communities today.”
The ventures in the first cohort help address challenges including racism, hate, domestic violence, personal safety and security, addiction, mental health and wellbeing, misinformation, child abuse, accessibility, child support payments, early emergency detection and more.
One of the Alberta based startups is Areto Labs. Their suite of apps uses artificial intelligence to analyze sentiment on social media, moderate online abuse and deliver communication campaigns through automated messaging to help protect public figures & employees online, increase brand loyalty and engagement, grow fanbase, and bust trolls. Watch their video here.
Another participating startup is Digital Public Square which is dedicated to helping communities become more inclusive, responsive, and better equipped to change lives with good technology. "I'm so excited to be joining the CSW. Digital Public Square is building new technology to rapidly fight misinformation, gamify learning, reduce intolerance and lift communities. The CSW is how we're going to scale the impact we're having." said Farhaan Ladhani who is the CEO of Digital Public Square. Watch their video here.
The TELUS CSW Accelerator is part of Alberta Innovates’ Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP). Scaleup GAP intends to attract Alberta and eligible global companies to strengthen the Alberta ecosystem with a global mindset and provide them access to international collaborations and capital. Scaleup GAP is run by a consortium led by Alberta Innovates, which also includes the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Innovate Edmonton and Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan). The unique partnership is allocating $35 million over three years to retain business accelerators. It’s part of an overall government goal to help create 20,000 jobs and increase technology firm revenue to $5 billion by 2030.