San Francisco company to connect Alberta tech firms with Silicon Valley cash and contracts

The province has signed a three-year contract with two companies that will work to connect Alberta tech start-ups with opportunities and capital in California’s Silicon Valley, home of the technology industry.

San Francisco company Connections Silicon Valley and Alberta-based trade consulting firm JPC Corp. won the $900,000 contract through an open competition.

Connections Silicon Valley is run by Joanne Fedeyko, an Albertan who has lived in the Bay Area for 19 years and has connections throughout the area’s tech industry and understand how it works.

Fedeyko will work as a resource for Alberta entrepreneurs who want to do business in the the industry.

“Silicon Valley is all about networks,” said Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous. “It’s all about people and relationships and connections.”

Fedeyko said it’s important for Alberta companies to travel to the San Francisco area on a regular basis. She said she can help put entrepreneurs in touch with the people they need to talk to.

Plugging into the network

“It’s about plugging them into the network so that those people and those resources that can really help them ,whether that’s just functional expertise, whether that’s investment advice, whether that’s actual investment dollars, they’re the ones that ultimately will work with these companies,” Fedeyko said.

Bilous said results will be tracked using figures like investment dollars and the number of companies that are contracting with Alberta companies or setting up in the province.

The minister was joined at the news conference by Edmonton businessman Ashif Mawji, a partner in venture capital firm Rising Tide.

Mawji was one of five Progressive Conservative donors who four days before the 2015 election warned Edmontonians about voting for the NDP.

At the time, Mawji said the NDP plan to raise corporate taxes would make it less likely companies would donate to charities like the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Three and half years later, Mawji said he supports the government’s efforts.

“The answer to that is yes,” he said. “I see some really good moves in terms of listening to all of us.

“Whether or not we supported the party or not, that’s irrespective. Politics aside, are we after the same thing?  And to me it appears we are.”

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