The ability to market Lincoln truly knows no boundaries, as the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development continues its exploration of Canada to market the city and its offerings.
After attending the Collision Conference previously in Las Vegas and New Orleans, LPED maintained a presence at this year’s conference, which expanded greatly in a new setting in Toronto. Now in its fifth year, Collision saw nearly 25,000 people pack the Enercare Centre May 20-23.
One of the fastest growing tech conferences in North America saw speakers from Microsoft, Twitter, Shopify, Hootsuite and even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau address the large crowds. The conference seemed to strike a tone that focused on not only innovation and invention, but of responsibility on a global scale to combat and solve various problems. The question most commonly asked—how can technology solve everyday problems and what roles do cities have in shaping and pushing the technology sector to their benefit?
Toronto has reinvented itself as a hub for startups and tech companies, much as Lincoln has had success in that same realm. Claiming the title of North America’s fastest growing market for tech workers, Toronto provides a model for which Lincoln is aspiring to in terms of investment, jobs and talent recruitment.
Startup attraction and retention continues to be a primary focus and success story for LPED with the startup community in Lincoln becoming more diverse than ever before. It’s vital to bring new possibilities to the table and what better place to do it than with 25,000 people that may not be the most familiar with Lincoln.
“The Collision Conference helps us get the word out about all of the great opportunities in Lincoln,” says Christina Oldfather, LPED Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“Those opportunities include programs to help you start and grow a business, events around innovation and technology and career opportunities.”
Meanwhile, LPED was also in Montreal in May to meet with companies across numerous industries and to sell them on the idea of building in Lincoln. The recruitment trip, which saw a visit to Toronto in 2018, will hopefully pay dividends down the road according to Luke Peltz, LPED Director of Business Development.
“We have received very positive feedback from these visits and have hosted two companies on several occasions in Lincoln,” Peltz says. “We are very much looking forward to additional visits from our northern neighbors.”
Providing knowledge about the Lincoln economy and the city itself can be a challenging task, but one that continues to turn heads according to Peltz.
“A majority of the companies we met with didn’t know anything about Lincoln or Nebraska but when they looked at the map, the central location stood out and they stated this is why they wanted to know more.”
The global economy is not only more competitive, but more mobile, more connected and ultimately, looking to expand to all ends of the globe. Oldfather mentions the importance of staying connected to companies all over the world.
“Reaching an international audience is especially valuable to continuing to grow our entrepreneurial community in Lincoln, as we can potentially work with startups that are looking access the U.S. market and help them grow in Lincoln.”
Peltz agrees, noting the value of building relationships with companies that are looking to expand their operations to the United States.
“The U.S. market is huge for Canadian companies and while some already have a presence here, others are currently supplying from their operations in Canada,” according to Peltz. “The introductions we had while in Canada are the starting point of keeping Lincoln, Nebraska top of mind when it comes to doing business in the United States.”
As one of Nebraska’s largest foreign trading partners, Canada continues to enhance and diversify the state and ultimately, Lincoln’s economy. By maintaining a productive and mutually beneficial relationship, both Lincoln and Canada stand to benefit from each other for years to come thanks to their continued collaboration.