Economic Resilience + Economic Development
How does our city respond and move forward facing challenging economic hardships? Coordinating a number of initiatives and aligning business, postsecondary institutions, government policies and resources is fundamental for success.
As part of these initiatives, this past December Council established one-time funding for a $30 million Community Economic Resiliency Fund. These funds came from budget savings in operations during 2015, and $14.4 million of that Fund was directed to Calgary Housing and Calgary Economic Development.
Yesterday, Council’s Priorities and Finance Committee made recommendations to Council to approve budgets for:
Calgary Housing - $7.4 million
Economic Development - $ 7.0 million
Marketing Campaign (local and out-of-market)
Global Talent Hub (WORKshift Worldwide)
Head Office Real Estate Plan
Build an Innovation Movement
- File and Creative Industries
- Renewable Energy
Please view Please view Item 3.1 for detailed descriptions and reports.
A portion of the marketing plan is about rejuvenating national perceptions of Calgary. The key is to promote opportunities in this economic cycle for the business and investment communities. This includes reminding people that Calgary is an entrepreneurial and creative city with a highly-skilled workforce and a high quality of life. We need to promote our benefits, and quite simply, tell our story.
Calgary can match demands for skills with available talent by scaling up the successful national WORKshift telework program to reach businesses across the country and internationally. The goal is to facilitate foreign businesses by promoting Calgary as a hub and engaging Calgarians to work remotely from here.
The head office real estate growth strategy will address the rapidly-increasing downtown office vacancy rates. Currently approaching 20%, predictions indicate vacancy rates reaching as high as 30%. This plan includes strategies to host head offices of newly merged enterprises, incorporate best practices for fostering established companies and emerging industries, as well as repurposing vacant space.
Accelerated diversification allows us to capitalize on some of our natural and emerging strengths in several promising sectors. With well-defined metrics, funding is available to develop prospects in creative industries, agribusiness, renewable energy, and transportation and logistics.
In cooperation with other promotional agencies, Calgary Economic Development (CED) will “…enable an innovation movement that should be government supported but innovator and entrepreneur led.”
This program is budgeted at $7 million over three years. Currently CED receives $4.7 million per year from the City and approximately $2 million in support annually from the private sector. For reference, the City of Kitchener with 244,000 people (less than a quarter of the population of Calgary), invests over $10 million per year on their economic development activity.
Do you think these are the right programs and funding for Calgary right now?