Although long considered a hub of the oil and gas industry, Calgary is experiencing a new kind of boom – in the tech industry.
While the energy sector is still a major player in the local economy, the tech industry has seen a massive boom in recent years. According to data released by LinkedIn in April 2022, Calgary has seen the fastest growth in tech talent in North America over the past year.
Megan Zimmerman, director of business development at Calgary Economic Development (CED), believes Calgary’s tech scene is now one of the city’s top industries.
“We’re now building something that I think really has a solid foundation that will benefit talent, business, and the community for a very long time,” Zimmerman says.
She adds that Calgary has always been successful in the tech industry because of the number of skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“We’ve always had a very high-quality STEM workforce, which is the centerpiece of any tech ecosystem and any tech city,” Zimmerman says. “You need high-quality talent that understands technology and innovation, and I think Calgary is a good fit there.”
To stay at the top of the tech talent pyramid, attracting new talent to Calgary is one of CED’s primary goals.
“We attract, retain and develop top world-class talent to continue to be able to support the growth of these companies,” Zimmerman says.
Growth in the industry
In March, Canada Prairie Economic Development, a government department that prioritizes economic diversification across Alberta, provided 13 Calgary-based technology companies with interest-free loans worth $22. $3 million.
“Our goal at PrairiesCan is to ensure that these high-growth companies have access to the resources, capital and support needed to scale up and bring their products and services to new markets, creating well-paying jobs. for people on the Prairies,” the government agency said in an email.
Calgary’s support for its local economy has attracted more tech talent to the city, says Aaron Wilson, chief marketing officer of Blacksquare.
“Calgary is a great place to live and work. It has a great startup community and a lot of great entrepreneurs, and the community really supports those industries.
Blacksquare is one of 13 companies recognized by PrairiesCan for using technology to bridge the gap between businesses and consumers.
Through its digital platform, Insight, Blacksquare is able to create a direct-to-consumer opportunity for alcohol brands and their customers.
“People have really accelerated their online shopping and the way they shop. We’re very well positioned to be part of that wave,” Wilson says.
Calgary’s economic landscape has changed with the recent growth of the tech industry, and people are beginning to recognize the sector as one of the city’s main growth drivers.
“To really see this shift in ideology in what may be the driving force of Calgary’s business community is very exciting,” says Wilson.
Ultimately, Wilson believes part of the appeal of moving businesses to Calgary is the community and the atmosphere.
“Frankly, the people, I think, are gold here in Alberta.”