Venture-builder Harvest moves into East Village Experience Centre

    · 4 min read

    For the past eight years, the East Village Experience Centre (EVEC) has served as a neighbourhood information hub and community gathering place—and also as the primary sales centre for new East Village homes. As East Village homes fill up, however, the sales side doesn’t need the space it once did.

    The Experience Centre has always been considered a “living building” that would evolve as the community progressed. Knowing this, we’d been looking over the past few months for other uses or tenants to re-purpose the iconic river front space…and we’ve found the perfect fit! Enter Harvest, a venture builder from Winnipeg started by SkipTheDishes co-founder Chris Simair. Harvest is a venture building studio on a mission to help entrepreneurs develop globally competitive companies here in the Prairies.

    In April, Harvest and CMLC signed a three-year lease agreement that allows Harvest to expand their staff of 90 across both their existing offices in M2 and into 8,000 SF of prime EVEC office space. Harvest is one of several innovators setting up shop in East Village—along with other newcomers like Platform Calgary and U of C’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape—making the community a growing hub of innovation, technology and entrepreneurism.

    “Our vision at Harvest is to make the Canadian Prairies an epicentre for innovation and technology,” says founder Chris Simair. “We have the opportunity to create one of Canada’s great tech hubs in Calgary’s downtown, and East Village is ideal for us—we like its proximity to other great residential communities, restaurants and RiverWalk. It’s an inspiring working and living environment for our team.”

    Today, the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund announced it will be supporting Harvest’s work with a $4 million grant that will be earned by achieving specific milestones over three years. The Fund is a City of Calgary initiative administered Calgary Economic Development and its backing will help Harvest support local entrepreneurs and expand the tech sector.

    “East Village is a neighborhood where people can work, live and play and a vibrant business community with growing companies like Harvest is a vital to that mix. The investment from OCIF supports a business that adds vitality to East Village and the entire downtown core benefits,” said Mary Moran, president and chief executive officer, Calgary Economic Development.

    The folks at Harvest are not only dedicated to applying their deep entrepreneurial knowledge to helping Prairie-based businesses go global, they’re also active community members who frequent East Village shops, cafes and restaurants—and live right here in East Village’s residential buildings, too. We are looking forward to Harvest adding their people and vibrancy to the community.

    Ongoing residential development in East Village will continue as construction progresses on BOSA’s residential tower Arris with leasing expected to commence in early 2021. The Hat in East Village, a rental-only development, is welcoming tenants, and planning continues on a range of other projects whose sales function will be relocated in the community. And the friendly EVEC ambassadors have been deployed in the community, working at CMLC’s East Village summer station, so folks can still connect and learn about East Village when they’re out and about.

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