Edmonton tech company wins competition for rent-free downtown office space

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A local business beat four contestants in a pitch competition on Tuesday to secure free office space in downtown Edmonton for the next two years.

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Myrna Bittner, CEO of RUNWITHIT Synthetics, presented the winning presentation at a Zoom conference for Project Goodwill, a competition run by CommAlert Group, which donated its 2,300 square foot furnished offices (while covering costs rental and Internet for the next two years) on Jasper Avenue and 101 Street to the winner.

“I can’t wait to share it with my team,” Bittner said in a victory speech. “They will be so happy to have a place to call home in Edmonton.

Co-founded by Bittner and her husband, RUNWITHIT Synthetics has grown into a team of 33 since its launch in 2014, she added, noting that the company recently won a 2021 award for being “the most Edmonton startup in the world.” year “.

In a phone interview, Bittner told Postmedia that his company, which models the future of complex systems such as cities, ditched its own shared office space at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for the sake of staff safety. .

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“We made the decision to equip people in their home offices and help them stay safe and keep working until things start to get better,” she said. “And now, finally, the ‘most Edmonton (startup)’ has regained its base.”

Bittner said she hopes to move into space as soon as possible and use it as a place to collaborate, host trade missions, and introduce her product to an international market.

And although she won the award as COVID-19 cases continue to explode in Alberta with the arrival of the Omicon variant, the development has not deterred her.

“We actually created a risk model to model everything from airflow to transit to mask efficiency and transmissibility and R factors in the community,” she added. “We’re pretty confident that we can find appropriate and safe ways to meet for our staff. “

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Tim Carwell, CEO of CommAlert Group, which provides call center and emergency communications services, left the final decision to a panel of judges, but was delighted to see the former office space of the business go to a single technology business.

“This could be the start of something amazing,” Carwell said. “Something that puts Edmonton on the map. “

The competition had over 70 contestants, but only five made it to the final round, of which HR, a social platform for job seekers, Alberta Sex Positive Education and Community Center, which offers sexuality education courses and resources, rental voucher , a social enterprise that hires people who face barriers to employment, including homelessness and poverty, and Tamaca Therapy Services Inc., a team of allied health specialists who support the early development and rehabilitation of preschool and school children in rural, remote and First Nations communities.

Over the coming week, Carwell added, he plans to give Bittner the keys to the office and a tour of the space, as well as arrange for other competitors to get feedback on their locations.

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@hamdiissawi

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