A win for Saskatchewan innovation

Earlier this week, Conexus Credit Union was awarded the 2021 Canadian Credit Union Association Innovation Award for their work in building and launching Cultivator.

Conexus is no stranger to innovation. As a forward-thinking credit union, they are continually looking for new ways to support its members and communities. Looking back at Saskatchewan’s entrepreneurial landscape just a few years ago, there wasn’t a lot of resources, funding, or space to help local startups launch, grow, and scale their businesses, causing for many founders to leave the province. Conexus created Cultivator to reduce the barriers founders were facing, and create a hub to accelerate the growth of startups right here at home.

“What started as a small space filled with Ikea desks and a few founders willing to take a chance on us, has now transformed into 15,000 square feet jam-packed with founders, team members, investors and mentors and a thriving ecosystem”, said Jordan McFarlen, Business Incubator Manager, Cultivator. “Our wins are startup wins, are founder wins, are Sask tech wins. Where we are today would not have been possible without our founders, startups and the support from the ecosystem.”

Since launching in 2019, Cultivator and its startups have experienced and contributed to exponential growth within SK’s tech ecosystem, including:

  • Incubating over 60 startups, with 24 being led by female founders
  • Over 245 jobs created in Saskatchewan
  • 561 investor connections
  • $19.4 million in private capital raised
  • $11.1 million in revenue generated
  • $20.1 million in public funding

“Since becoming a part of Cultivator, we have been able to grow and scale the business past what we thought was even possible,” said Kayla Kozan, CEO and Founder of Peak Wellness. “The mentorship and the expertise of the community has just helped us to scale, and helped us to reach customers around the world.”

“I have a lot of previous colleagues from my old world in Alberta and Ontario, that know Saskatchewan now, and they know Saskatchewan because of the work that Cultivator has done and the startups that are coming out of this ecosystem as a result of this work” said Jessica McNaughton, CEO & Co-Founder, memoryKPR.

This award helps demonstrate what is possible and that Saskatchewan can be a real player in the tech ecosystem.

What started as just an idea has truly grown into a thriving tech ecosystem, right here in Saskatchewan.  “We can build things. We can start things. And we can grow things from right here at home,” said Mary Weimer, Chief Member Experience Officer, Conexus Credit Union.

There has never been a better time than now, and no better place than Saskatchewan to start a tech startup. Saskatchewan is no longer the place to be from, but the place to be!

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