Where do you go when you are a new Canadian looking to get involved in Calgary’s tech and innovation community?
Calgary has long been known for our work in oil and gas so whether you are new or have been working in the city for a while, most people don’t think of Calgary as a flourishing tech hub. New Canadians have even been known to choose other areas of Canada to find work and a life for themselves because of this.
With Calgary being so oil and gas-focused, how do we change the city’s economic narrative while supporting new Canadians’ careers in our city?
This is the thought that came to Wunmi Adekanmbi, as she became curious about what was happening in the growing tech and innovation sector within Calgary.
Having moved from Nigeria to Canada, Wunmi experienced firsthand how new Canadians face the challenges of leaving behind a network and building a new one, while exploring careers in different sectors.
Wunmi believes in a two-pronged strategy. First, shift the narrative of Calgary’s economy and second, provide space and resources for immigrant professionals to contribute at their highest capacity to building Calgary's new economy.
There are many programs for immigrants in our city, however Wunmi found that even though they exist, it doesn’t mean they fit the needs of new Canadians or that new Canadians are able to access them.
To fill this gap, Wunmi created a meetup group called Immigrant Techies Alberta to create awareness, change the perception and create a safe space for newcomers to learn and become involved with tech. Through the support of the community, and implementing the values of trust and diversity from the Rainforest Alberta social contract, Immigrant Techies Alberta currently has 174 members and continues to grow.
Since November 2020, Wunmi has been inviting guest speakers to talk about different tech topics and opening an exploratory space for diversity and curiosity. Immigrant Techies Alberta provides a sense of community and support for newcomers to Calgary.
Wunmi is driven by her own curiosity and excitement for innovation and is inspired by the impact and potential of a single human being. As a graduate of the Rainforest Alberta LIBI program, she is working further to address the gaps in the industry by creating ReSkill Calgary, which is currently in the phase of exploring industry partnerships.
When people complete reskilling programs, they are often left to find their own way by self-practising their learnings and networking their way into tech roles. For a new Canadian, these challenges run even deeper. What comes natural to someone who grew up in Canada, such as small talk, is actually big talk for a newcomer to Canada. New Canadians have to re-learn as they become part of a new community.
Wunmi is changing this narrative by not only bringing awareness to tech, but by empowering new Calgarians to find their way, embrace their skills and become their true self. ReSkill Calgary will offer personalized coaching, enable competency training, industry support that is currently missing for new Canadians, and curated end-to-end solutions that ensure the full integration of new Canadian professionals in Alberta’s innovation ecosystem.
This is something that can’t be done overnight, but Wunmi Adekanmbi brings her courageous “why not” drive, passionate curiosity, and love for empowering marginalized groups to realize their full potential in Calgary’s growing innovation ecosystem. She is not only changing their stories, but showing the world how much more Calgary has to offer.
To learn more about Immigrant Techies Alberta check out The meetup group and stay up to date with events on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
On May 4, 2021 Rainforest Alberta Calgary hosted our first virtual Summit. As of 2021, Calgary's ecosystem-our Rainforest- is growing rampantly. Inspired by this growth and a fireside chat with Rainforest Co-Author Greg Horowitt, earlier in the year, the summit focused on rerooting the community in the social contract. 2021 also provided many firsts for the summit in Calgary. Being that the event was virtual, it wasn't bounded by space and everyone was welcome to attend.
If you missed or want to revisit the Rainforest Summit, you can see the full report and highlights here!