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Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Olds College actively builds a culture of entrepreneurship across our entire province through training, support for entrepreneurs, learning enterprises, and business incubators. Industry partners connect with Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) for support in the development and testing of innovative products in the core areas of crop production, livestock production, environmental stewardship, cereal breeding and technology integration. These focus areas align with infrastructure at the College, available expertise and gaps identified by the agriculture sector.

The 3,600-acre Smart Farm provides partners with a unique means of gaining boots-on-the-ground testing and learnings for their technologies and practices. The Smart Farm provides researchers and partners with the ability to take things that are new and novel, and may still require development, and apply them to a real-world environment. 

Our Entrepreneurship Goals

The Smart Farm was built to support start-up development, validation, scaling and demonstration of smart agriculture technologies and practices. Olds College is connected with Alberta Innovates, the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN), SVG Thrive and UCeed with the goals of:

  • Encouraging innovation, creating and sustaining a healthy economy, and solving problems within the agriculture industry.

  • Supporting businesses by guiding them to the right partners through Olds College networks of businesses and organizations throughout Alberta and Canada. 

  • Providing training and resources to developers to help them market their products effectively.

Small & Medium Enterprise Orientated Resources

Alberta Innovates

Alberta Innovates is a province-wide initiative designed to provide connections within communities throughout the various regions in Alberta. It supports business growth, research, and the establishment of start-ups throughout the province to promote the development of new technology and ideas. There are eight regional initiatives, each filled with like-minded businesses that want to help small businesses grow and succeed to promote a community of entrepreneurship. 


Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN) Early Stage Incubator

The CARIN Early Stage Incubator helps startups in the energy, agriculture, and manufacturing industry validate their idea. It has taken previous initiatives that Olds College was a part of, and is improving on those designs. The incubator will focus on providing startup companies with business training, prototype services, market research and validation, network creation and many other resources that are crucial to a startup’s success. Olds College is working with Red Deer College Donald School of Business, Community Futures, and Access Prosperity to assist startups in this initiative. 

Find out more at


Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN)

CARIN is made up of many businesses and research institutions throughout Central Alberta, including Olds College. At its heart, CARIN is about helping SMEs to succeed by providing assistance with financing, idea development, technological expertise, and many other parts of business development to help SMEs with big ideas to effectively achieve their goals - a mission Olds College’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation division proudly reflects in its work.

Student Oriented Resources


The ATREK Fund gives Olds College students the opportunity to explore and evaluate new business ideas. Too often ideas get stuck in developing the prototype; through lack of funding, resources, or mentorship, great ideas can be lost. The ATREK Fund helps budding entrepreneurs through this stage by giving internal grants up to $5,000 for access to Olds College expertise, facilities and equipment for up to 6 months. Through the ATREK Fund new entrepreneurs can quickly decide if the idea or project is worth further effort

Explore Smart Ag Ecosystem

Contact Us

Lorna Baird
Manager - Entrepreneurship & Innovation

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