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Live from the Cascadia conference: U.S. and Canadian civic and tech leaders look to forge new regional connections

The second Cascadia Innovation Corridor conference kicks off in Seattle today, where tech luminaries are teaming up with elected officials to deepen ties between Seattle, Portland, Vancouver B.C. and other surrounding areas in a variety of ways.

The inaugural Cascadia conference last year in Vancouver looked at how Seattle and Vancouver could work together to become an innovation hub through sessions on government leadership, education, transportation and investment. This year the scope is broader, including Oregon and representatives of other Northwest institutions. Microsoft has been a driving force in the cooperation between the regions, as well as the Cascadia conference, after opening a big development office in Vancouver last year.

“Last year we came together as a region to build something that we simply can’t create apart: an innovation corridor to create more opportunity and prosperity on both sides of the border,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said. “By linking our two cities together through cross-border collaboration, research, funding and educational opportunities, we will spur new economic activity and opportunity that creates a better future for everyone.”

On the docket for the conference are talks about higher education, transportation, venture capital, life sciences and virtual reality. This year’s conference slate doesn’t boast headliners the magnitude of last year’s rare public conversation between Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates and its current CEO Satya Nadella. But political and academic leaders from Washington and British Columbia will be joined by tech heavyweights like Microsoft’s Smith, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes and more.

Check out the livestream above, and look for our coverage from the event in downtown Seattle.

Source: Geekwire Microsoft

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