Canadian tech conference Elevate is returning for its second year in-person since the COVID 19 pandemic, and will be running from September 26 to 28 in downtown Toronto.
This year’s event will have a Tech Talent Zone to gather hiring managers from Canadian companies and startups.
Elevate’s presenters for this year will include Canadian celebrity figures such as Lisa LaFlamme, formerly the chief anchor at CTV National News; as well as two “dragons” from CBC’s Dragons’ Den: Arlene Dickinson and Wes Hall. ABC’s Shark Tank will have a presence at the conference as well through Robert Herjavec, who also leads cybersecurity firm Cyderes.
Along with its celebrity guests, Elevate’s stages will also hear from Joanna Griffiths, the founder and CEO of women’s undergarment brand Knix; artist and activist Madame Gandhi, astronaut and Elevate co-chair Chris Hadfield, as well as Farrah Khan, executive director of Action Canada.
Lisa Zarzeczny, co-founder and CEO of Elevate, said the goal is to curate topics that “go beyond buzzwords.” Among the discussion themes that are expected to take place at Elevate this year are policy regulations around the development of generative AI to Bill C-11 and its impact on the creator economy. BetaKit is a media partner for Elevate and a programming partner for its FinTech stage.
“We’re looking at the issues as they relate to Canada’s competitiveness on the global stage.” Zarzeczny said.
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Elevate held its inaugural festival for Canadian tech and innovation in 2017. Some of the past speakers include former United States first lady and author Michelle Obama, tennis champion Venus Williams, Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe-Herd, and former US vice president Al Gore, among others.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elevate Festival cancelled its 2020 installation and held virtual events for two years. It returned to in-person programming last fall following Zarczeczny’s appointment as CEO.
After having to transition and adapt amid COVID-19, Elevate also started offering programming in addition to its annual tech conference. This includes government funded programs for underrepresented tech workers and an e-commerce accelerator with Moneris.
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The official venues for Elevate this year include Meridian Hall, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and the Design Exchange. Elevate is backed by sponsors Interac, TD Bank Group, Mastercard, and Moneris.
In addition to dedicated programming on the main stage, the festival will feature a Women in Tech Lounge and “special events.” Women entrepreneurs and investors can also access Elevate’s Startup Lounge and Investor Zone, which are offered to all attending entrepreneurs, where they can connect with the startup community, meet with investors, and get tips from fellow founders on fundraising and business growth.
Featured image courtesy Elevate
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