Member Profile: Lauren Briske

Today is the first post in our new monthly member profile series. Kicking things off is Lauren Briske - Community Manager, Startup Edmonton.


Q: What are you building at Startup Edmonton?

Essentially, I am looking to create meaningful connections in the startup community to enable awesome stuff to happen. Science has proven that more can be accomplished when people are working together and exchanging ideas, so I work to create a sense of interconnectedness in the member community. Whether that’s by facilitating a mentorship program, bringing members together over coffee, or starting an impromptu game of Settlers of Catan in the space, it’s all about enabling those relationships amongst community members to grow. At Startup Edmonton we are not trying to pick winners, we are trying to get the most number of players on the field in order to move the needle of our community and our city up.


Go from idea to startup (and beyond)

Startup Edmonton is a place to work, create and build something incredible.  Our Preflight programs are structured to provide entrepreneurs with the skills and feedback needed to take the idea of something to a viable, scalable company. Our next semester of courses begins September 24 with Preflight I: Customer Validation.

Preflight is a natural extension of the peer-to-peer and mentor conversations that Startup Edmonton was having with the community. True to our own mantra of try – fail – iterate – try again, Preflight has taken a number of forms since its first intake of participants. This summer, we launched a student-focused Preflight program to test our new suite of Preflight courses in an intensive format.

Why run a student-focused Preflight program?


Getting ready for prototyping day - #designfast


Thoughts on bringing our creative campus to K-Days

Since moving into the Mercer Warehouse in 2012, we have worked hard to foster the tech community, run programs like Preflight and act as champions for the city’s growing startup scene.  It’s challenging, energizing and time consuming work.

Following the campus model, our programs tend to follow the school-year calendar. This means the summer is a chance to reflect, recharge and percolate new plans for the back-to-campus rush in September.

This summer, through a partnership with K-Days, we added the very best of the summer camp experience to our campus model. HackLab, as part of the feature pavilion TechLife, was a chance to share our creative campus with a huge number of Edmontonians and highlight our commitment to science, technology, engineering and math education as a foundation for a robust startup community.

Why HackLab


Save the Date


Mark your calendars!  The first annual Edmonton Startup Week is scheduled for October 20 - 24, 2014, and we are gearing up for an exciting week of events!

What is Edmonton Startup Week?

Five days of events celebrating our startup community, encouraging developers, marketers, designers, students, graduates, investors and tech enthusiasts to check out Edmonton, meet new people and learn about the exciting things happening in our community. 

Edmonton Startup Week offers a mix of 20 - 25 community-driven events for everyone - whether you’re a student, investor or just want to check out the startup scene. 

Some of the events and actives happening during Startup Week:

  • Startup City Crawl
  • Startup Week Job Fair
  • Keynotes and sessions
  • Mentoring & Office hours
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Launch Party 5 showcasing the city’s hottest startups

We will be releasing more information and schedule details in the coming weeks.  

If you have a company that is ready to launch please APPLY to be a company showcased at Launch Party 5 on October 23.

Check out the keynotes, adventures and mentorship opportunities! 

Entrepreneurship @ UAlberta

Why the launch of eHUB on campus will be a game changer for our startup community.

Yesterday I spent most of the day on campus listening and judging 28 student startup pitches, ending with a celebration dinner to officially launch eHUB, the new startup hub at the University of Alberta. It was awesome to watch team after team pitch like pros and express so much excitement about the startups they were building. I couldn’t help but feel proud thinking about our startup community and how far we’ve come in only a few years.

imagePhoto: Nicholas Yee

In May 2012, we took three years of startup community organizing — meetups, democamps, hackathons — and officially set up Startup Edmonton downtown atop a one hundred year old building in the warehouse district. Fueled by the support of leaders and entrepreneurs across the city, we broke the traditional incubator model to create a community space where collisions between hackers, artists and entrepreneurs could happen. It was the kind of place that I wish was around when I started my first company during my fourth year at the U of A.

Nearly two years later, our building is alive and full, and Edmonton’s startup community is quietly and confidently kicking ass. Around the city, we’re hearing more founders, makers and creators thinking bigger, growing smarter, mobilizing faster, and competing harder for customers and capital from around the world. Founders aren’t just talking about ideas — they’re executing. Our plans to grow a startup city from the ground up is working.

But to truly have a startup city, you need a deep pool of talent from which wave after wave of startups can emerge from. Waves of startup founders who know how to attack problems and build something scalable. Waves of entrepreneurs who play offense by acquiring customers and gaining traction, and who don’t play defense only through patents and IP.

These waves will come from our schools, from the U of A. For this reason,our schools are the most critical asset to us becoming a world-beating startup community.

Entrepreneurship isn’t just about teaching students how to start businesses, but also how to solve problems, think critically, and create immense value. Entrepreneurship isn’t one of those things that can be fully taught. It needs to be baked into the academic experience — not extra curricular, not post graduation. Entrepreneurship needs to be experienced and tried over and over and over again. And, entrepreneurs can come from any faculty — business, engineering, science, arts, and even education (like me).

This is what excites us about eHUB. As we’ve learned with Startup Edmonton, it’s about more than providing a cool space to work. eHUB is that starting place on campus where students gain hands-on startup experience by experimenting, failing, and doing. eHUB is a bridge that will help connect students on campus to the growing startup community that surrounds them. eHUB is a training ground for student startups who’ll make their way downtown to Startup Edmonton and TEC Edmonton as they progress. But most importantly, eHUB is a beacon for entrepreneurship and startup culture on campus. One that challenges students, across faculty silos, to rise up and build something incredible together.

So my thanks and congratulations to the University of Alberta, Alberta School of Business, and the eHUB team — in particular Michael LounsburyTony BriggsQasim RasiMatthew Grimes and Joseph Doucet. It takes courage and leadership to do something at the U of A that hasn’t been done before; to disrupt the status quo — just like a startup.

We at Startup Edmonton are really excited that eHUB is becoming a reality and that we’re working together to help the many waves of student startups grow and scale in our community.

Originally posted by Ken Bautista

New Club Membership, Shared Membership updates

Today we’re introducing a new membership level called Club Membership.

It’s a super flexible, month-to-month membership option that provides you with weekday (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday) access to our space for up to 4 days/month. Whether you’re in town for a few days, or were in the area and needed a place to work, chat or hop onto wi-fi, our Club Membership is designed for you. Best of all, Club Membership are only $60/month!

We’re also making some updates to our Shared Membership, which includes all the benefits of Club Membership and now gives you access to a mailing address, storage locker, printing/scanning services. That’s on top of access meeting rooms, 24/7 keycard access, and more. Shared Memberships are available for only $150/month.

Apply for a membership today! »

Have you seen our new social space yet? Members can hang out, work, chat, code and more like it’s one giant living room. Have you seen our new social space yet? Members can hang out, work, chat, code and more like it’s one giant living room. Have you seen our new social space yet? Members can hang out, work, chat, code and more like it’s one giant living room.

Have you seen our new social space yet? Members can hang out, work, chat, code and more like it’s one giant living room.

Learn to code - gain a super power!

A teaser for a film we’re developing that follows the successes and struggles of high-octane startup founders as they work not to simply build something big, but something great - and build a new identity for their city in the process.

Scenes from the Student Design Association's show Old School, New School, hosted in our basement gallery. See more pics here