Corporate Champion of the Year

2021 winner is


2021 finalists



About the 2021 winner

Areto Labs is a B2B SaaS social enterprise building a suite of apps for companies to deploy inside their digital communities, like Slack and Twitter. Their culture-building program combines machine learning with behavioural science and the latest corporate culture research to leverage scalable software that automates connection and inclusion to improve the employee experience. These apps post positive, inclusive, culture-shaping messages, and at the same time, use A.I. to measure and display sentiment analysis. Insights and data are displayed on a private dashboard, which helps companies understand their digital communities, measure how the bots' nudges are improving their culture and business outcomes, and leverage the built-in recommendations to build inclusion and productivity.

For 20 years, Gail Powley, P.Eng, has used her cross-Canada experience in collaborative business and community building to help grow Edmonton’s and Alberta’s tech sector. As President at Technology Alberta, Gail works with 50 volunteers and leaders—recently co-creating Covid-programs that assist hundreds of Alberta tech companies and young professionals. Gail serves on the ERIN Steering Committee, the U of A Alumni Council and Computing Science Advisory Committees, Rainforest Connector (Entrepreneur Panel) Series, StartAlberta Awards Committee (Category – Cross-Community Collaboration), is an APEGA award-winner on diversity policy initiatives, and is a co-founder of young professional and diversity groups such as MentorUP and WiSER.

Eden Redman is the Co-founder, President, and now Executive Director of NeurAlbertaTech—a U of A neurotech student group turned non-profit organization. Under his leadership, NeurAlbertaTech is quickly establishing itself as Alberta’s premier neurotechnology innovator network through accessible hands-on skill development and commercialization support for student-led projects. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Eden has incorporated an additional for-profit organization, through which he works to deliver live brain-generated art experiences in virtual reality. Last but not least, he is the CTO of 8 Bit Cortex, which works to gamify mental health assessments. An after-degree student himself, his actions have directly led to the creation of 5 full-time summer jobs for current students.

Startup TNT is a community gathering place for entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, and startup supporters of all kinds to have fun, make friends, and build companies together. Startup TNT is on a mission to increase the pool of sophisticated investors in the province of Alberta and help them invest in local startups. Twice a year, they hold a summit to invest in entrepreneurs from the community. This isn’t a pitch competition—it’s a deal screening process. We gather 30 new and seasoned investors to invest real money into real companies with real potential. They have raised over $2 million for 11 startups since 2020. 

Startup Edmonton wants to see more tech-enabled companies start and scale in Edmonton! Supporting entrepreneurs as they build and grow tech-enabled products and companies is at the heart of Startup Edmonton. They’re here to help you each step of the way with mentorship, programs, workspace, and community events. Since 2009, Startup Edmonton has brought together problem solvers, entrepreneurs, developers, students, founders, mentors, and investors to transform ideas into some of Canada’s most exciting and successful startup and scaling companies. Startup Edmonton has raised over $111 million by affiliate companies and members since 2009 and has launched over 75 companies at Launch Party since 2010. is a product of Laser City Laser Tag. After temporarily closing in March 2020, parents told Laser City Laser Tag how their kids were having a tough time being stuck at home and were missing out on socialization. Luckily for the business, they’d recently launched their in-person Minecraft Day Camps, so they decided to try and re-purpose those for an online product. They launched to provide online After-School Clubs, Day Camps, and Birthday Parties for kids ages 6–12. Since then, they’ve hosted nearly a thousand kids from all over North America. They’re now raising a seed round to allow them to dramatically grow Codo and provide online kids activities after the pandemic!

RUNWITHIT Synthetics creates living, digital models for cities architecting the complex futures of energy transition, economics, equity and accessibility, mobility, and resilience. Their platform technology and methodology enable the rapid development of scenario-based models to inform the intersections of people with the future. Subject matter experts, researchers, and industry specialists collaborate to contribute models of people, economics, technologies, policies, sustainability, utility, and transportation infrastructure that interconnect with the models and expertise of others. Once these models are brought to life in RUNWITHIT’s hyper-localized, geospatially accurate Single Synthetic Environment, they deliver limitless, sophisticated answers to all of the “what if” questions. Decision-makers then have access to expansive, quantified outcomes of their choices.

Kristina Milke is a business leader and mentor in the tech and innovation space in Alberta. Her deep experience and thought leadership are regularly sought out as the innovation landscape continues to grow in Alberta. Kristina is a Partner in, an early-stage technology fund, the Chair and founding mentor of the Threshold Impact VMS program, and is on the Board of Directors for the Edmonton Screen Industries Office. She is also a CPA/Chartered Accountant with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Alberta and a former General Manager of Investopedia. She was previously the Corporate Divisional Controller for Intuit Canada as well as the Divisional Controller and Ethics Officer for Spar Aerospace.

MNP is a leading national accounting, tax, and business consulting firm in Canada. Committed to the success of Edmonton and Alberta’s entrepreneurs, MNP helps promising ventures grow and thrive, and they proudly serve and respond to the needs of their clients in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Through partner-led engagements, their experienced professionals provide a collaborative and cost-effective approach to doing business, and provide personalized strategies to help people and organizations succeed across the country and around the world. MNP also works closely with their clients to transform innovative ventures into rewarding businesses that advance economic growth and social well-being.

Laurie Wang is a communications executive who has led award-winning teams over the last 12 years. Formerly the co-founder of Squid Arms, an Edmonton startup, she is passionate about startups and tech. Laurie is also a member of the Forbes Communications Council, where she regularly publishes marketing best practices on expert panels. She currently oversees the People, Culture & Communications teams at Legal Aid Alberta. Proudly Canadian, Laurie was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and came to North America when she was three. Her family’s journey is what drives her to serve communities and help level the playing field—whether it’s media for local startups, mentoring young women, establishing bursaries for University of Alberta students in financial need, or raising awareness for legal aid.

Ashlyn Bernier is COO at samdesk (, where they leverage AI to detect disruptive events based on open-source data. She began her journey in community building when she started ABCampus in 2012. She was the inaugural Manager of VMS and has since served several Edmonton startups in operational roles. She was the founding Co-Chair of the Edmonton Advisory Council on Startups (EACOS), has volunteered with Startup Edmonton, Startup Weekend, is a VMS Mentor, and is a Director with Innovate Edmonton. She believes the key to Edmonton’s innovation ecosystem reaching its potential is community leadership, a principle she champions at every opportunity.

DrugBank augments human intelligence to improve the world’s health. Their products enable companies to improve healthcare delivery through precision medicine or clinical software applications and uncover insights through data science in drug discovery. In addition to their paid products, their publicly accessible resource, DrugBank Online, has been cited in over 10,000 academic publications and is used by millions of researchers and health professionals globally. DrugBank Online is a comprehensive, free-to-access, online database containing information on drugs and drug targets. As both a bioinformatics and a cheminformatics resource, DrugBank combines detailed drug data with comprehensive drug target information.

2021 Nominations are Closed

Nominations are  Closed

Closed May 5, 2021
Corporate Champion of the Year


Collaboration builds strong resilient interconnected relationships.

Award Category

Corporate Champion of the Year
Award Information

Full Description

This award recognizes an Edmonton company that has been the strongest supporter of the community in terms of sponsorship, mentorship and advocacy. Keeping the criteria in mind, tell us why the nominee should be considered for the Corporate Champion of the Year award.

Selection Criteria

  • Sponsorship: The Company is an engaged and intentional sponsor of the community talent and business. Has made corporate resources available to support the community.
  • Mentorship: The Company is a trusted mentor of Edmonton startups that has made their leaders available to support local founders.
  • Advocacy: The Company is a constant advocate and promoter of investment into the startup ecosystem

We want to hear your authentic opinion on why this startup should win this award.

We want to hear your authentic opinion on why this startup should win this award.

Nominations Closed

Make a difference. Suggest yourself or someone you know deserving of this award.

Nomination Form

Your information

Nominee Information

Tell us how the nominee meets this award criteria in under 500 words.

When was the startup launched?

Were they a high school or post secondary student in 2020 or 2021?

Who was the event host?

When did the event take place?

Paste a link to any supportive information (optional).

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Got Questions? Read our Award FAQs

When are nominations accepted for the 2021 Awards?

Nominations will open in April and close in May a few days before the live in-person event. Pre-Register

How do I nominate someone?

Every award webpage gives you the opportunity to nominate you or someone else.

Can I self-nominate?

Yes. We encourage everyone to nominate deserving individuals within the Edmonton startup ecosystem - including yourself!

Can I nominate in more than one category?

Yes. Remember each nomination must be customized to the award criteria for that award. Please do not cut-and-paste.

Can I attach additional information to my nomination?

Yes. Attach as many supplemental documents to the nomination form as you would like. The more information provided the less research required by our volunteer adjudication committee.

Does it cost money to nominate?

Never! Nominate once or all the time - we will never charge our community money to nominate ecosystem champions.

How can I register to attend

Pre-Register to attend the 2022 YEG Startup Community Awards.

Can I get involved as a volunteer?

You may express your interest in joining our team as a volunteer for the 2022 YEG Startup Community Awards here.

All 2021 Finalists

Startup TNT Investment Summit I

Edmonton Startup Week 2020

Great Alberta Pitch Marathon

Startup Edmonton

Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii)

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation

RUNWITHIT Synthetics Inc.


Areto Labs

Areto Labs



Ashlyn Bernier

Zack Storms

Colin Christensen

Laurie Wang

Bradley Poulette

Tim Lynn

Gail Powley

Colin Christensen

Jas Panesar

Eden Redman

Ravina Anand

Shelvie Fernan

Kristina Milke

Jessica Doody

Arden Tse






Fly & Fetch