Calgary’s technology center is spotlighted during Innovation Week

By Julieanne Acosta, November 23 2022

Innovation Week has begun and many around Calgary have been able to participate in events, panels, workshops, and even competitions. The week is meant to show the diversity that goes on in innovation and the technology sector around the city.

In interviews with the Gauntletchief financial officer at Showpass, Tyler Vasselin, and director at Platform Calgary, Vanessa Gagnon, spoke on why students should go to the events.

“There used to be only a couple of companies that were active in [Calgary] but it has since grown over the last two or three years,” said Vasselin. “[Innovation Week] is a good opportunity to really share our knowledge and experience to help build a passion for this within the city.”

“There’s lots of events happening, both in person and online,” said Gagnon. “It’s a great opportunity for students to get out and meet people and network.”

Showpass — a ticketing and discovery engine for events, activities and things to do — is a successful tech start-up from Calgary that began in 2014.

“Our big goal is to build a customer-centric platform — so putting the customer first and trying to drive that shift in the industry,” said Vasselin. “As part of that, we’re building out a discovery engine. So we’re really helping consumers or event goers to be able to discover things going on around them at any given time.”

Showpass will have a significant presence at the launch party on November 24 and will be an active participant throughout this week — with Vasselin sitting in as a judge in a competition at the tech start-up weekend.

“The biggest thing is building the ecosystem and participating in the ecosystem. I think the level of experience within Calgary and within the tech space is fairly limited,” said Vasselin.

Vasselin notes how Showpass is always hiring and uniquely chooses its candidates.

“We are always hiring, there’s always a number of jobs listed on our careers page,” said Vasselin. “At any point, if there’s a passion to work for Showpass there’s even a section on our career page where we’re letting people take the initiative to describe how they think they could contribute to Showpass and where their passions are. We’re tipping the recruitment process upside down from that perspective.”

Innovation Week looks to encourage start-ups — similar to Showpass — and a key part of the event is Platform Calgary as they’ve engineered the week into what it is now. Platform Calgary is an innovation hub that acts as a starting point for those looking for careers in the technology start.

“We’ve got over 100 partners that deliver programming for tech founders and their team. It’s really about helping the ecosystem be a little bit more connected and helping founders move faster. So [we] act as a location that [start-ups] can find things and be triaged so that their journey goes a bit quicker,” said Gagnon.

The Platform Calgary building is located in East Village and is open to anyone.

“The Platform Innovation Center was opened in June. The catalyst for the center really was an individual in the tech ecosystem who wanted a place for innovators to get together. The main floor of the building is open to the public to check out what’s going on and learn about the programs that happen here,” said Gagnon.

The launch party will take place tomorrow Nov. 24 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the TELUS Convention Centre. Students receive 50 per cent off launch party tickets. To learn more about the events happening at Innovation Week, visit their website.

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