Calgary has been shaking off its label as a traditional oil and gas town. The city is ready to innovate, bring in new industries, and attract new investments. With the recent announcement of the $100-million Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, we thought it was a good time to share something that we've known for a long time. Calgary is a great place to do business and to build a company.
Helcim's CEO Nicolas Beique and COO Rob Park have long-standing roots in Calgary and they both have a long list of reasons why Calgary provides advantages to new businesses that aren't found in other cities.
To start with, Calgary is in Canada, and we think that's great for businesses, specifically tech companies. Some of our Canadian benefits include:
Simple Tax Laws
Canada has simple tax laws for businesses and is in the process of lowering the small business tax to 9% by 2019. The tax rate for small businesses was reduced to 10% as of January 1, 2018, and Canada has the fastest growing economy in the G7, both facts are good news for Canadian business owners. Canada also offers one of the best Research and Development (R&D) tax incentives among the major industrialized countries and multiple tax deductions for small business owners making it a great place for new and innovative businesses to set up shop.
Not only are Canadian Banks rated as some of the most stable in the world, but Canada is also considered one of the most stable economies in the world. Not having to worry about significant instability in our banking systems and government is a major benefit to doing business in Canada.
Canadian Health Care
Thanks to Canada's provincial health care system everyone has a basic level of health care so employers purchase supplemental coverage to fill in the gaps for areas where the provincial plan might not have enough coverage. This is significantly less expensive than if employers were to cover all an employee's health care like in the US. All Helcim employees receive full health benefits in addition to other employment benefits.
Awesome Local Businesses
Canada is full of great small businesses that are run by passionate people. According to BDC, 98.2% of businesses in Canada have fewer than 100 employees making small business the driving force of the economy and a key component of Canada's prosperity. Because Helcim is focused on empowering business owners through Helcim's merchant services and business software, being in a country that is full of the people we are looking to support is a great fit for us.
Great Neighbour to the South
Canada's relationship with the United States is one of the closest and most extensive in the world. The relationship includes great trading and business relationships. After we established ourselves in Canada, Helcim began offering our services to businesses in the United States. Since 2013 we've been lucky enough to work with great business owners in both Canada and the US to provide a simplified system, transparent pricing, and dependable customer service.
While Canada offers a lot of benefits to business owners, we specifically love being in Calgary, Alberta because:
Calgary is the "Sweet" spot
Calgary is the largest city in the southern half of Alberta and has easy access to major transportation routes. Our international airport has direct flights to Canadian cities, major US centers, Asia, and Europe, making the city well connected to the world.
Great Universities and Technical Schools for STEM Programs
Calgary has seven major universities and colleges that offer world-class programs. According to Calgary Economic Development, Calgary has the highest proportion of STEM graduates with 4,110 bachelor's degrees or higher awarded to Calgary graduates. This accounts for 27% of all degrees completed in the city.
Top-Notch Talent Pool
Based on Calgary's excellent educational track record it's no surprise that the city is an excellent source of tech talent. CBRE rated Calgary as fifth in Canada as a tech-talent market that shows strong labor pool and job growth. Helcim employees are all based in Calgary and we have been able to grow our team from the Calgary labor pool. The graduates from these schools provide become excellent candidates when tech companies are looking to fill open positions.
According to Calgary Economic Development, Calgary has one of the easiest commutes among major cities in Canada. Employees have access to an integrated network of roads, LRT's and buses to get them where they need to go. The city is also home to car-sharing services and Uber that provide additional transportation options.
The Alberta Tax Advantage
If you own a business in Alberta you will benefit from no inventory taxes, no machinery and equipment tax, and no payroll tax. The provincial government has also reduced the small business tax rate and increased the small business income threshold. These tax benefits are often referred to as the Alberta Advantage.
Low Cost of Living for a Major City
Compared to many large North American cities the cost of living in Calgary is very reasonable. Calgarians pay some of the lowest provincial and personal income taxes in the country. Our provincial health care insurance is free, and Alberta is the only province in Canada without a sales tax. The cost to buy or rent a home in Calgary is also lower compared to other Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Toronto.
As the second-highest ranked city in Canada for healthy lifestyles and overall satisfaction there is a lot to like about life in Calgary. Some of our favorite amenities are:
- The most extensive urban pathway and bikeway systems in North America
- World-class attractions and sporting amenities
- Abundant green space and parks
- The Rocky Mountains just an hour drive away
- Helcim is proud to call Calgary home, the city has all the resources to become a major technology center and we know first hand that it's a great place to grow a business. As Calgary continues to diversify and add new businesses and industries, like those in the tech sector, we're excited to see what innovative companies become our neighbors.