The province is investing $100 million over five years into boosting the high-tech industry in Alberta and it’s hoped that the initiative will attract more technology companies to set up shop in the province.

Provincial officials made the announcement in Calgary on Wednesday and say the investment will create more than 6000 skilled positions and attract new investment from artificial intelligence-based, high-tech companies.

“We’re going to undertake a significant campaign to market Alberta’s world-class, high-tech talent to the world and to continue to work on attracting that important new investment,” said Premier Rachel Notley. “Without investment we are at a significant risk of losing our competitive advantage.”

The premier says Alberta is set to become a hub for high-tech and that the overall investment will create over 140 new companies.

“Researchers in Alberta are ranked third in the world in artificial intelligence and machine learning, but we can and we must do more. Just as government has an important role to play in fighting for pipelines, in attracting more upgrading and more refining, we also have a tremendous opportunity to partner with experts in the private sector and give our job creators a leg up in the global race to be the high-tech leaders of tomorrow,” she said. “To get these jobs, Alberta also needs to help support new companies.”

The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute, Amii, will receive $27 million to create a new program to support existing businesses to build their AI capacity and come up with innovative ideas.

The organization is based in Edmonton but the money means it will also be able to expand and open an office in Calgary.

“This will ensure that entrepreneurs and job creators, here in this city, have the same opportunity to capitalize on Alberta’s burgeoning leadership on the AI world stage,” said Notley.

The funding is in addition to $50 million in supports that were announced last spring.

The investment is part of the government's plan to diversify the economy away from over-reliance on the energy sector.