City of Edmonton to form new economic development entity
EDMONTON -- The City of Edmonton will form a new innovation entity as it narrows the role of its economic development arm to solely focus on tourism and conventions.
Council unanimously voted to set aside $5 million per year starting in 2021 to fund the new organization, called Innovation Edmonton.
"Some of the dollars that were going to [the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation] to support a variety of different economic activities are being redistributed as we narrow EEDC's focus to tourism and convention space," Mayor Don Iveson announced after the vote.
"We have listened to the innovation and the broader business community…and council, I think is confident that these changes will result in better outcomes for business and for investment and for innovation in our city."
Iveson said it's a restructuring move that takes the innovation file out of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation's hands.
"Essentially they're being prioritized and restructured to get best results going forward without injecting new dollars into the system," said Iveson, clarifying the city is not spending any additional money on the innovation entity.
A notice has been sent to begin the process of recruiting an eight-person board of directors.
Iveson said the organization's goal will be to "support Edmonton's interconnected and evolving ecosystem and generate growth through innovative businesses, products and services."
The city says the new entity will streamline support available to entrepreneurs.
The announcement comes after senior leaders including CEO Derek Hudson departed the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, which is in charge of the city's current innovation arm Innovate Edmonton.
The EEDC temporarily laid off 1,100 hourly workers on March 12, when the Edmonton Convention Centre and Expo Centre were temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19.