The Edmonton Champions Project: Connect. Do. Win.

By Amanda Debenham, Communications Officer, Edmonton

More than 150 passionate and talented Edmonton community and business leaders gathered in the Citadel last night to witness the launch of The Edmonton Champions Project.

Created by the organizers of artsScene Edmonton and Startup Edmonton, this project is designed to support and promote the diverse group of creative entrepreneurs and startups in Edmonton. Their goal is to invest in 500 startups over the next five years.

Ken Bautista, founder of the Edmonton Champions Project, used the launch event to elaborate on the four aspects of his group's plan to support Edmonton's startup community:

1. Networks: Providing opportunities to bring together mentors, connectors, expats to effective collaborate.

2. Spaces: Securing a space in downtown Edmonton for creative co-workspace and event space. 

3. Accelerators: Creating an entrepreneur-led program to drive creative ecosystem growth, with plans to support approximately 30 startups within the next 6-12 months.

4. Seed Funds: Establishing a local source of funding for new businesses. The Edmonton Champions project is currently seeking to build a $450,000 private investment fund.

Tegan Martin-Drysdale, Community Co-Chair of Edmonton's Next Gen committee also spoke in support of the project.

Later this year, the first startup accelerator will launch. Called Flightpath, it will invest in 30 software and digital media startups over three years, at a cost of approximately $1 million. The funding will come from private investors, such as Chris LaBossiere, CEO and co-founder of Yardstick Software and Edmonton's Mayor, Stephen Mandel, also pledged his own private funds.

With the support of exciting projects like The Edmonton Champions Project, Edmonton will soon become a hub of talented entrepreneurs working together to build a stronger foundation for innovation.