Saskatoon’s thriving technology industry benefits sectors throughout the province
Saskatoon’s thriving technology industry benefits significant sectors throughout the province.
Considered a nexus for technology innovations, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is home to world-renowned technology companies producing cutting-edge innovations that are playing a key role within multiple provincial sectors, including agribusiness, health and satellite communications.
A key economic driver for the province, generating an estimated $4.7 billion in GDP in 2018, technology runs deep in the veins of Saskatchewan’s critical industries, driving the economy and forging strong career pathways for ambitious entrepreneurs.
“When it comes to developing technological solutions to regional problems, it’s extremely beneficial to have the local presence of a vibrant technology hub so that programs can be tailored to suit the needs of these diverse community sectors,” says Candace Schierling, Director of Business Development, Tourism Saskatoon.
Advancements in Agritechnology
Agriculture in Saskatchewan is undergoing a revolution at every level of the food chain, from research and sustainability to food production. With the global demand for food expected to rise by 70 percent by 2050, the province is utilizing new technologies to ensure it’s well-placed to accelerate its food production and meet the demands of an increasing population.
“From smart programs that can quickly share soil data to improve efficiencies, to the use of drones and state-of-the-art farming machinery, technological innovations are improving the sector’s profitability and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come,” says Schierling.
Clean Seed Capital Group Ltd has chosen Saskatoon as their base for commercialization as they continue to engage in the production and distribution of patented agricultural technologies, aimed at creating highly accurate seeding equipment for the modern farmer.
“Companies like Clean Seed Capital Group Ltd are lured by Saskatoon’s dynamic talent pool, vibrant urban center, increasing venture capital and the government support for the technology industry,” says Schierling.
The local and provincial governments’ belief in Saskatchewan as an agritechnology leader is evident through the Made in Saskatchewan Technology Program, helping local technology companies build their client base through a $10,000 procurement contract with the government.
Additionally, the Saskatchewan Technology Startup Incentive is a 45 percent-refundable tax credit to encourage local investors to fund tech start-ups.
“The provincial government is providing various levels of financial support with the goal to triple the technology sector by 2030 through the development of digital infrastructure to strengthen the agritech ecosystem,” says Schierling.
“The fact that Saskatchewan currently leads the nation in export growth can be attributed to our talent pool of entrepreneurial minds and dedicated farmers combined with the ongoing support of government and local incubators, Co.Labs and Cultivator.”
Clear career pathways into agritechnology are helping to grow this local talent pool, with the University of Saskatchewan offering degrees and certificates in technological innovation and engineering to arm students with the skills to create their own start-up or forge ahead in one of the 5000 technology companies flourishing in the province.
Pioneering technology leads to positive disruptions
The definition of ‘tech companies’ is changing with the acceleration of technological disruptions across different industries, including health and satellite communications.
“Dr. Ivar Mendez, neurosurgeon and head of surgery at the University of Saskatchewan, established neurosurgery units in developing countries and brought advanced robotic technology to northern Saskatchewan and disadvantaged villages in Bolivia,” says Schierling.
Establishing a remote-presence robotics program, known as ‘doctor in a box’, Dr Mendez is facilitating physicians to deliver medical care to people in remote communities through a portable telepresence robot equipped with stethoscopes and zoom capabilities.
“Doctors can move this remarkable robot from room to room, assessing patients in their local villages, without the need for them to travel to Saskatoon for treatment,” says Schierling.
“The technology may even play a role in protecting physicians on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing them to deliver care to the sickest patients through remote presence.”
Doctor in a Box is an extension of the robotics program Dr Mendez began in 2002 when Dr Mendez performed the first long distance neurosurgery in the world using a robotic ‘telementor’. His passion for the use of technology in the health sector led to the creation of the Ivar Mendez International Foundation, aimed at improving the health and lives of children in Bolivia.
High-flyers in satellite communications
One of the founders of the tech industry in Saskatoon, Calian, Advanced Technologies is a global supplier of communication systems, products and services. They provide infrastructure for satellite, terrestrial wireless, and wired applications including antennas, RF systems, gateways, and network management solutions for controlling and monitoring network resources, equipment and services. They also design and manufacture products for the agtech, composites, defence and nuclear industries.
“Customers trust us when they can’t afford to fail,” says Patrick Thera, President of Calian, Advanced Technologies. “We have a world-class group of technical experts to support our customers around the globe whether it is from our headquarters in Saskatoon or our other locations in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Germany.”
Contracted to provide high performance satellite flight operations support to the Canadian Space Agency, Calian’s team of engineers and technicians carry out day-to-day spacecraft planning, satellite engineering, flight dynamics and real-time console operations.
Bright future for shining industries
Saskatchewan’s economic drivers are evolving as the province’s strong industry sectors embrace established and emerging technologies that promise to accelerate efficiencies and seed the growth of trailblazing innovations.
From agriculture and health technology to satellite communications, Saskatoon’s shining workforce of talented entrepreneurs, industry experts, academics, engineers and technicians creates an exciting hub in which leading technology companies can grow and prosper.
These experts, along with the city’s gorgeous river trails and cultural experiences, add an exciting element to technology businesses, events and conferences held in Saskatoon,
Meetings with purpose
Saskatoon offers more than 800,000 square feet of meeting facilities and over 5,000 hotel rooms, all within walking distance of the dining and entertainment precinct. Tourism Saskatoon can assist with funding through the City of Saskatoon and offers an Event Marketing Assistance Program designed to drive attendance to business events.
By augmenting speakers’ series with passionate industry innovators and enriching programming with localized tours, business event organizers can attract delegates, increase revenues, and inspire future generations.
“We call that 'meeting with purpose,” says Schierling, pointing out that when the time is right for in-person events to resume, Saskatoon is poised to show off its technology ecosystems and applications across multiple industry sectors.
Plan your meeting in Saskatoon here.
Discover more about Canada’s technology business events here.