A new kind of career fair at the University of Calgary was the catalyst for connections and opportunities for local businesses and talent.
The inaugural UCalgary Tech Fest, hosted by the University of Calgary’s Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, Schulich School of Engineering, and Faculty of Science in partnership with Calgary Economic Development, brought students, companies and community resources all under one roof, creating a unique space for everyone to network and learn more about what the city’s tech ecosystem has to offer.
“As an institution, the University is connected to all parties involved; students, industry, academia. We are the people on the ground identifying the needs of all parties and creating a solution for those needs,” says Alex Todorovic, project strategist for the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking. “Software engineering and computer science programs are growing rapidly, so it is imperative that support resources such as Tech Fest are in place to create a continuity from an academic environment into industry upon graduation.”
Building the city’s talent pipeline is one of Calgary Economic Development’s top priorities, and Tech Fest is one of many initiatives that allows young tech talent to be paired with local employers who are in need of skilled workers looking to solve the world’s biggest challenges.
“Calgary companies are expected to lead the $18.4 billion spend on digital transformation in Alberta through 2022. This means we’re going to have even more tech positions needing to be filled. We want students graduating from local institutions to see the opportunities available right in their backyards. We want to help highlight that students don’t need to leave Calgary to have an amazing career in tech,” says Mary Moran, President & CEO of Calgary Economic Development.
And, it wasn’t just the 1,100 students in attendance who benefitted from the event. There were 48 local companies as well that were able to connect with future business and growth opportunities.
“This is one of the first events where I have seen such a large volume of companies that were showcased,” says Danielle Torrie, Manager, Startup Calgary. “It was great to see really strong representation from both leading tech companies like Shareworks and Benevity and growth-stage startups like ZayZoon and Interface Fluidics.”
Torrie adds that the event also showcased how willing Calgary’s tech community is to invest in the local ecosystem.
“Hiring, training and mentoring junior talent isn’t easy for a growing startup to do and can be easy to dismiss when they need to grow quickly. Despite that though, Calgary tech companies are willing to do it to help the city’s tech ecosystem grow.”