Team Update from Lauren Briske

After seven amazing years, I have decided that it is time for me to move on from Startup Edmonton to seek a new challenge. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my career after graduating from the University of Alberta. I’ve been so fortunate to take on multiple roles with Startup Edmonton over the years, growing alongside so many burgeoning startup companies that we supported along the way. I’m excited to take my next step and continue contributing to this community in a different way moving forward.

In my most recent role as Interim Director, I had the privilege of leading us through our transition from Explore Edmonton/EEDC to Innovate Edmonton. I am thrilled that Startup Edmonton is joining an organization that is driven to advancing Edmonton as a global innovation capital while continuing to take a community and entrepreneur-centred approach to delivering high-value programs and initiatives to support new and growing startup and scaleup companies for the benefit of all Edmontonians.

The growth of Edmonton’s startup and innovation community over the last few years is incredible. More and more scaling companies are taking up office space in downtown Edmonton, investment in local startups is increasing, and new community groups are forming. 

One of my favourite aspects of working with Startup Edmonton is our shared belief that growing a startup community is not a zero-sum game. If everyone engages, it generates more activity and attention for the community, and we all win. This is manifested through the growth of Edmonton Startup Week which is now heading into its 8th year.

When we brought the Techstars Startup Week initiative to Edmonton in 2014, we hosted or produced most of the events in that first year to kick off the initiative and introduce it to the city. I always imagined that Edmonton Startup Week would grow into an annual tradition truly adopted by the community, for the community. I am happy to report that Startup Week has become just that – in 2020, we brought together more than 80 partners to host and support events during the week. And there’s room to grow! Planning for Edmonton Startup Week in October 2021 is already well underway and I hope to see even more leaders and organizations adding their flair to the week to showcase the vibrancy and diversity of Edmonton’s growing startup community.

It has been an amazing experience being part of this team and community. I love that the momentum of Edmonton’s startup community showed no signs of slowing down through the pandemic – in fact, it ramped up. Under the leadership of Innovate Edmonton, the Startup Edmonton team will continue to drive programs and supports for the tech-enabled startup community. The search for the new lead of Startup Edmonton just went live and I encourage interested applicants to apply to join a great team in a purpose-driven leadership role!

My last day in the office will be in September, and I look forward to connecting with many of you over the coming weeks (perhaps over a pint!) as the Mercer Warehouse fully reopens. I’m excited to continue championing this community in a different way moving forward.