Each year ATB Financial organises so-called Catalyst events throughout Alberta. The aim is to inform interested Albertan companies about the opportunities that are out there for them, in order to advance their business. This year’s Catalyst event in Edmonton focused on four different topics that all have the potential to help Albertan businesses grow.
The first moderated talk focused on programs and organisations that help with New Market Opportunities. The panel comprised representatives from the Alberta Export Expansion Program, from Export Development Canada, and from the Albertan Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. All three organizations support Albertan companies expanding into new markets abroad in a variety of different ways. Export Development Canada provides targeted advice for companies that are facing problems entering new markets. The Albertan government also supports certain activities to promote export. The Alberta Export Expansion Program provides travel grants for fairs and exhibitions and an Export Readiness Micro-Voucher Program is also in place.
The second talk was about Machine Learning and AI and the potential this field holds for Albertan Manufacturers. Canada Research Chair in Artificial Intelligence and UofA Professor, Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer, provided some excellent insight into the topic of Artificial Intelligence and its industrial applications. With the UofA being one of the best places in the world for machine learning, Albertan companies have an excellent resource right here in our province.
The third talk was about New Frontiers and how the defence and aviation industry might be interesting sectors for Albertan companies to consider getting involved in. The talk quickly revolved around government procurements and why it makes good sense for small and medium sized enterprises to consider putting in bids.
Innovation Support Programs available to Albertan companies were the focus of the fourth talk. The talk included representatives from Mitacs, Alberta Innovates, the Industrial Research Assistance Program, as well as our Manager, Katelyn Petersen, who talked about the Alberta-Germany and Alberta-Canada-France Collaboration Funds. Overall it was impressive to see how many programs are available to Albertan companies interested in innovation and research.
Following the four talks was a presentation by ATB Financial on Industry 4.0 and the ATB Manufacturing Revitalization Program. At the end of the event, ATB handed out their ATB Innovation and Export Awards. The 2017 ATB Catalyst event once again provided an excellent overview of the many support programs that are out there for Albertan companies. For companies it is often only a matter of knowing about them, which is why informative events like these are so important.