With my lottery winnings, I will establish the largest, centralized technology production hub in western Canada, YYCampus. YYCampus will be structured as a joint venture between local institutions (UofC, MRU, SAIT), the city, and hold strong partnerships with international leaders in entrepreneurship (YCombinator), venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporate alliances.
This organization will have two main objectives:
Become a premier educational facility that produces top software and mechanical engineering talent. Without building a strong educational backbone, we won’t have the talent to fuel innovation. Calgary doesn’t need to be Cambridge, but can learn from Waterloo. As with any true campus, housing, restaurants, and recreational facilities will be on-site. Immediate term revenue streams will come from tuition, with longer term economic benefits from students creating businesses in the Calgary community.
Raise startups from pre-seed to scale with in-house incubation and accelerator. Raising startups is more than offering office space, seminars, events, and capital. A key component is providing the right role models and mentorship. Local “been there, done that” entrepreneurs and technologists will play a heavy role in promoting YYCampus in K-12 schools to inspire young innovators to grow and build the future of Calgary. The primary revenue streams will be facilities charges, with significant upside from equity taken from investments.
With significant prime office space available in downtown, the YYCampus will be located in the heart of Calgary and bring local companies to the forefront of international business.
You might be skeptical: We have schools. We have co-working spaces. How is this any different? YYCampus is building from the ground up. It works with the community to inspire, develop, and retain technical talent. Admittedly, this may be not the highest returning 5 year investment, but is a crucial investment to the diversification for beyond.
The question that will be asked publically pundits and introspectively by entrepreneurs is: why start and build your tech company in Calgary over anywhere else in the world? YYCampus’s answer is to specialize in technologies that Calgary is uniquely positioned to tackle:
Cleantech and energy: With existing infrastructure and energy business leadership, both intellectual and financial capital are primed to help fuel the world in a safer and more environmentally conscious way.
Network infrastructure: A low risk for most natural disasters, Calgary is an ideal place for data centers. Of course, cool mountain air also helps to reduce cooling costs. The same infrastructure is ideal for mining and building cryptocurrency companies, another high growth niche.
Autonomous Vehicles: As a major transportation hub and a city reliant on driving, developing autonomous vehicle technology for both industrial and consumer markets scratches a local itch and readies the city for the next century.
YYCampus doesn’t double down on the industries Calgary is already a major player in, but diversifies into growing industries that Calgary could play a large part of. It will create hundreds of high paying, middle class jobs including teaching, building maintenance, and business development staff. YYCampus will drive momentum that leads other leading technology companies to come to Calgary. Modelistically, this is truly achievable project that can be largely modelled after France’s Station F, which is coincidentally also largely funded by an individual financier (Xavier Niel).
Hope to see you all at the grand opening!