Business and innovation

The city and Calgarians have suffered greatly from the recent economic downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic. Our downtown head offices have emptied out and our small and medium-sized businesses are bearing the brunt of pandemic measures.

Calgary has an opportunity to change the narrative in terms of who we are, what we’re about and where we’re going. There is so much potential in this great city. People talk about new industry coming to the city and to the downtown, whether it is through the tech sector, the arts, the film industry, or agricultural technology— it is this industry diversification that will guide us into the future.

Young entrepreneurs and skilled workers are choosing to leave Calgary citing a lack of economic opportunity. Beyond the impact to our families and communities, the youth is a tax base we cannot afford to lose—they are our future.

All Calgarians benefit from a thriving economic environment and a thriving downtown core and a city that offers its people opportunities to feel like they can contribute and have a good quality of life here and be safe.

Our city has weathered many a storm—we’ve had booms and busts and we can get through this, too.

 

If elected, I will work with the next council to:

 

Work collaboratively to create incentives attractive to businesses and industry

The health of our downtown core is critical to our economic recovery. If we want to create a thriving environment for all businesses and all Calgarians, we must first provide a stable regulatory and economic environment for businesses.

The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) has already achieved great success attracting business investment and creating jobs, and this is work I would be keen to see continue. We’ve already made promising strides to expand our technology, agriculture, natural energy, mining, and film industries—let’s keep going! I believe we can position ourselves competitively on the world stage by creating an city that people are able to live, work and play in safely and securely.

 

Ensure businesses have the support they need to recover from pandemic impacts

80% of working Calgarians are employed by small and medium-sized businesses—if they fail, we all fail. As we work towards recovery, we must bring everyone along with us.

Good work has been done by Calgary’s Business Advisory Committee (BCA) to identify and resolve systemic barriers experienced by Calgary’s business community, but many businesses still aren’t feeling supported—we can do more. The city must be proactive to ensure citizens have access to the information they need to benefit locally and from other partners—if citizens don’t benefit from these resources then our entire city suffers.

 

For example, we must increase awareness and access to government-provided financial resources for businesses. Recently $6M in reopening grants for Calgary businesses went unclaimed—which poses the question: what barriers prevented businesses from accessing this support?

 

It comes down to councillors caring about the constituents, and as a councillor, I will commit to proactive and open communication (i.e. leveraging Business Improvement Areas, email newsletters).

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