Calling All Edmontonians with Big Ideas!

Innovate Edmonton and the Edmonton Public Library (EPL) have teamed up to offer a one-of-a-kind innovation program called Innovation U: An Entrepreneurial Series

Innovation happens where problems meet solutions! If you are an Edmontonian with a big idea, we can help. Maybe you’re interested in entrepreneurship and want to turn global problems into opportunities. Perhaps you see an environmental, social or tech challenge that you want to explore. We all have the potential to innovate with impact, and it's time for you to start.

The Library is a place that inspires creativity and curiosity, and I’m excited to announce that Innovate Edmonton has teamed up with EPL to offer Innovation U: An Entrepreneurship Series. This program is designed to support Edmontonians with big ambitions. From brainstorming and problem-solving to creating a business plan and perfecting your pitch, this four-course series will help you build an entrepreneurial toolkit that you can apply to your idea, project or business.

This online and in-person series consists of material from Innovate Edmonton’s Startup Foundation through to our Preflight programs, modified to appeal to a broad audience and those interested in learning about innovation and entrepreneurial basics. Each course can be taken in sequence and is designed to either build on one another or taken on a stand-alone basis. It’s the perfect primer to other advanced innovation and accelerator programs that we offer.

Here’s an overview of the Innovation U: An Entrepreneurial Series:

  • Idea Generation: The best ideas come from problems we encounter in our day-to-day lives. This is an introduction to ideation—the start of solving any problem. Participants will learn tools and a proven framework to strengthen problem-solving skills and identify ideas to advance.
  • Creating a One-Page Business Plan: The Lean Canvas is a favourite tool for entrepreneurs around the world for a good reason. Designed to capture the critical elements of your idea on one page, the Lean Canvas will help you test and validate your assumptions. This process will ultimately help you create solutions to meet customer needs.
  • Design Thinking: In this introduction to design thinking, participants will learn a problem-solving approach that puts customers' needs above all else. Participants will develop a toolkit to apply to their ideas, products, or solutions.
  • Perfecting THE Pitch: An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that entrepreneurs and innovators use to spark interest in their idea or business. Participants will learn the building blocks in this final session to create a memorable and compelling pitch.

This novel library partnership is all part of a vision for “distributed innovation,” innovation destinations, activities, workplaces, pop-ups and other inspiring locations across Edmonton, and contributes to our city as an inclusive global innovation capital.

As an entrepreneur myself, and someone shaped by the world of libraries, this partnership is also personally meaningful. Since I was a kid, I’ve been fortunate to benefit from mentors, resources and creative public spaces, inspiring me to take risks and make an impact. That’s why I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be our library’s first-ever Innovator in Residence, providing support and office hours at the downtown Stanley A. Milner Library. I encourage all Edmontonians with innovative ideas to pop by, ask questions and seek advice. I can’t wait to meet you, hear your ideas and guide you on your innovation trajectory!

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