Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is looking to lure tech talent, entrepreneurs and businesses with low taxes and incentives, and a pitch for a better life in Alberta.
“I think they’re being irresponsible if they don’t consider moving operations to Alberta,” the province’s premier said last week.
A major push to draw business to the province is one part of the province’s aggressive drive to reboot and diversify its economy.
“We are going to be placing a huge emphasis on finance and financial technology,” Kenney said Monday.
“We are going to be telling them that they can save money for their shareholders, for their workers, for their operations, by relocating financial and fintech [financial technology] jobs to places like downtown Calgary, downtown Edmonton.”
There’s a sore need for new businesses in those cities as the oil sector’s struggles drag on and the ranks of Albertans who’ve lost jobs have swollen to more than 300,000.
But the challenge confronting Alberta’s strategy in trying to attract some of the world’s most sought-after talent will take time.
Calgary-based tech entrepreneur James Lochrie, who has invested in tech enterprises across Canada, believes Alberta is really at the beginning of a decade-long process.
It’s one that will necessarily include working with universities, making adjustments to the workforce and taxation, as well as a host of other policies — and taking into consideration what competing jurisdictions around the world have to offer.
“I hope the government continues to focus on what’s working, can refine the things that aren’t working, and can ignore the naysayers and just stay optimistic,” Lochrie told the CBC.