An Interview with Art Proctor to Highlight Indigenous Talent in Alberta

Social Innovation

On July 4, 2024, the Social Innovation Hub will host the Indigenous Innovators in Tech Showcase, a significant event in the BIPOC and Rural Tech Founders series. This showcase aims to celebrate and support Indigenous entrepreneurs by providing them a platform to present their groundbreaking technological solutions.

Learn more about the five finalists selected to participate in the showcase.

The event, which is the seventh in the BIPOC and Rural Tech Founders series, is dedicated to fostering greater access to the innovation sector for startups led by diverse founders. This year’s focus on Indigenous talent aligns with Alberta’s evolving technological landscape and its commitment to inclusivity and empowerment.

Art Proctor, an artist and community builder, and one of the event’s MCs, explained the inspiration behind the showcase was born from a recognition of the immense talent, creativity, and potential within Indigenous communities. The showcase seeks to highlight and celebrate the unique contributions of Indigenous peoples to technology and innovation.

“Their ingenuity provides invaluable perspectives and solutions,” Proctor said. “The showcase aims to highlight these contributions, providing a platform for Indigenous tech leaders to shine and share their groundbreaking work with a wider audience.”

In addition to celebrating technological excellence, Proctor noted that the event aims to build a supportive and collaborative community that nurtures talent, fosters partnerships, and amplifies the voices of Indigenous tech leaders.

“This gathering will serve as a space for sharing ideas, resources, and success stories — strengthening the collective impact of Indigenous innovation,” said Proctor.

Proctor emphasized the importance of integrating Indigenous knowledge and values into technological advancements, which fits perfectly with the Social Innovation Hub’s mission to foster inclusive and socially impactful innovation. “It demonstrates how Indigenous-led solutions can drive meaningful social change and contribute to the broader tech ecosystem,” Proctor said.

The showcase also aims to achieve impactful outcomes in education and economic empowerment for Indigenous communities. Proctor highlighted the event’s goals of creating opportunities for Indigenous innovators to connect with mentors, industry leaders, and peers, thereby building valuable relationships that can guide and support participants in their educational and professional journeys.

One of the significant challenges Indigenous innovators face is access to capital and funding. Traditional funding sources often have stringent criteria that may not align with the realities of Indigenous communities, limiting their ability to invest in technology, infrastructure, and skilled talent. Proctor pointed out that this limited access to capital hinders the ability to scale operations and achieve long-term sustainability.

To address these challenges, the showcase aims to increase access to capital, improve digital infrastructure, foster inclusive education and mentorship programs, and promote cultural competence and equity in the tech industry. “Through this event, we envision a future where Indigenous individuals and entrepreneurs are equipped with the skills, resources, and opportunities to lead and innovate in the digital economy,” Proctor said. “This will foster a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous world for all.”

Join us at the Social Innovation Hub on July 4 to support and celebrate the five inspiring finalists in their journey towards innovation and impact.