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On September 21, TEC Edmonton hosted the Health Accelerator Summit, the day before the 2016 Banff Venture Forum. It was a jam-packed day of events, with representatives from universities, government, and the private sector joining to watch a panel discussion, and a rapid-fire pitch competition from eight growing healthcare companies. The overarching theme of the summit was building a long-term solid, innovative healthcare ecosystem.

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TEC Edmonton Executive Vice President of Business Development, Randy Yatscoff, kicked off the Health Summit by welcoming everyone.

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Next, Mayor Don Iveson took the stage, commenting on Edmonton’s “extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit” and emphasized the crucial role of business service providers in building a city ripe for talent and investment. He stated that the municipal government plays an instrumental role in fostering an innovation-based ecosystem by. Edmonton’s Health City Initiative is one way in which Edmonton is being positioned as a health innovation powerhouse.

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Jason Ding, Program Director of the TEC Edmonton Health Accelerator, provided an overview of the Health Accelerator’s second year. The recent success stories of Health Accelerator clients Vivametrica, Metabolomic Technologies Inc., Tevosol and MagnetTx were notable examples.

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Dr. John Conly, Medical Director of W21C, a Calgary-based health systems research and innovation initiative, took the stage next to give attendees an introduction to the W21C, and explain how the initiative is a living laboratory designed to build new paradigms of healthcare delivery.

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Reg Joseph, Vice President of Initiatives & Innovations at Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (AIHS), spoke to Edmonton’s health innovation ecosystem and presented AIHS’s innovation goals for the year 2030. His presentation emphasized that innovation must tie into health policy and delivery in the province.

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The elevator pitch competition proved to be an exciting way to get to know some of the health technology companies in Alberta’s innovation landscape. Representatives from Physio4D, ELSIUS Biomedical, SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc., SolAeroMedInc., Salu, Pace Wellness, Good Glucose Inc., and Sinoveda Canada Inc. presented 90-second pitches to the audience.

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The judges had to make some tough choices to decide which company would move on to present at the Banff Venture Forum the next day, but ultimately, Pace Wellness emerged victorious. Thank you to Mayor Don Iveson for sitting in as a guest judge!

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Finally, the panel discussion began. Michael Witt of University of Michigan (Flint); Kristina Williams, CEO of Alberta Enterprise Corporation; Ian Atkinson, Co-Founder of Innovative Trauma Care; and Michael Lincoln, Chief Financial and Business Officer of Accel-Rx Health Sciences gathered to discuss strategies that work (or don’t work) in building a solid, sustainable investment ecosystem in the region.

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Thank you to everyone who joined us last week in making the second annual Health Accelerator Summit a success!