Innovation and tech have become widely talked about subjects among business and cities globally. From California’s Silicon Valley and London’s Silicon Roundabout to innovation ventures across the globe in Asia, tech is a hot topic that every city wants to capitalize on. While becoming a tech city has many advantages, achieving that status is hard work. Edmonton has immense potential to become a tech city, so we should be ready for the journey to be filled with both victories and hardships. Embracing Edmonton’s future as a tech city means preparing for bumps in the road.
What does becoming a tech city mean?
Becoming a tech city means keeping a finger on the pulse of technology and innovation, and not just anticipating growth but initiating it. As a tech city, we would focus on innovation, pioneering solutions to problems, and create a future-focused ecosystem. The advantages are many: From boosting the city’s economy, improving the average taxpayers quality of life and maximizing efficiencies in all its areas, the innovation game is rife with opportunities.
Austin, Texas once looked a lot like Edmonton…
An example of a tech city emerging in the world of innovation is Austin. In the 1990s, Austin acquired the nickname “Silicon Hills” due to the success of various popular corporations such as Intel, Indeed and Texas Instruments. The city gained importance as a burgeoning tech city, known for its booming internet companies.
While this period was marked by significant economic growth and recognition for the city, it was soon followed by the dot-com burst.
This downturn resulted in job losses and an inevitable dip in the economy. However, instead of letting that defeat define the city, Austin continued to fight for its reputation as a tech city. Today, not only is Austin known for being a successful tech hub, but it is known for its diversified economy, earning it a number 2 position on Forbes’ ‘The Best Cities for Jobs 2018’ list.  With a steadily booming economy, the city owes its financial and labour triumphs to its tech involvement. 
What does this mean for Edmonton?
One takeaway from Austin’s success story, is the importance of preparing for both the booms and the hardships along the road to a technology-focused economy. Correctly harnessed, Edmonton’s potential could transform the city into a thriving technology hub.
Edmonton and Austin share many common parallels highlighting this potential. Both cities foster rich arts and cultural environments and are known as creative hubs. They are also both college towns with reputed educational institutions.
Austin was able to convert a steady stream of high-talent graduates into a robust and stable technology economy. But it wasn’t easy. Edmonton has the talent being generated here and the drive to apply that talent here at home. But it will take hard work and the ability to keep moving forward even in the face of setbacks.