An Okotoks business hopes to expand its reach in the community and beyond and it's now a part of a special program to help them do that.

BNKD, a local fintech company that supports small-medium businesses, has been invited to join Alberta’s Innovates Accelerator Program by 500 Global. 

The program is a $35 million investment from the province for startup tech companies that are ready to grow. 

Only 18 companies were invited to the Accelerator Program but as co-founder of BNKD Chelsea Besuijen explains, they didn’t apply. 

"We were given free passes to Inventures Calgary, which is a big tech conference in the city where we had met somebody who we just had a simple question for and ended up talking about our business. He fast-tracked us into the program thinking that we were a perfect fit and at the perfect time for us to scale our business.” 

She added the person they met was Shaheel Hooda, a 500 Global mentor who was so impressed by BNKD that he extended an invitation to join the Accelerator Program, even after the application deadline had passed. 

About 250 companies had applied to join the program. 

Besuijen said the support from the Town of Okotoks Economic Development has been tremendous since they started.  

She is hopeful that being a part of The Alberta Innovates Accelerator puts not only their business on the map but others in their industry as well. 

“The tech industry in all of Alberta is really booming and I would encourage anybody who's looking into tech, specifically in the Okotoks and Foothills area to reach out,” said Besuijen.