EDMONTON - Alberta companies looking to gain a foothold in high-tech Silicon Valley now have a representative on the ground in California.

Trade Minister Deron Bilous says the government has contracted with an Alberta firm that has a liaison in San Francisco.

The liaison, Joanne Fedeyko, says the key to opening doors in California is getting face-to-face meetings, which is something she says she can provide given her experience with the tech industry in that state.

The province is paying Fedeyko and Alberta investment firm JPC Corp. $900,000 over the next three years to provide the service, titled Connection Silicon Valley.

Those services can be accessed for free by Alberta companies and the project will also work to bring Silicon Valley investment money to the province.

The government has launched a number of initiatives to boost Alberta's tech sector and diversify the economy, including tax credits and more dedicated spaces in post-secondary schools.