Three key ingredients provide Calgary the economic recipe to shield itself from the lingering recession, and help it emerge stronger, said the head of Calgary’s Chamber of Commerce.
Young, educated citizens, entrepreneurial ideas and the capital to back it up are what separates Calgary from other North American cities, according to Heather Douglas, Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.
“Regardless of whether we’re in an uptime or a downtime, great ideas can get funding,” said Douglas.
“That’s why (Calgary) has attracted large numbers of really entrepreneurial young people. They’re attracted to the ‘can-do’ culture of Calgary.”
Douglas said that among the 50,000 businesses operating in Calgary, most employ five or fewer people, showing that start-up ideas drive the city’s economy.
“Those of us that have been through this cycle before know that it’s the real entrepreneurs that keep this city going.”
Over the past several years the top concern expressed to the Chamber from member businesses has been a skilled labour shortage — but today, that concern has shifted to the recession.
Douglas said Calgary businesses have learned from the past and are still doing their best to attract and retain top employees, and are developing staff in preparation of their emergence from recessionary times — something that she adds can be done through the chamber’s many programs.
Douglas has very clear advice for those companies looking to survive today and thrive when economic progress returns: Use this time wisely, she says, and develop relationships that will help your company prosper when the good times arrive once again.
“Then, as the capital is freed up and investors start coming back, then the relationships are solid, so that together you could grow a new business, or a new project, or a new exciting venture,” said Douglas.