Edmonton, as well as the Capital Region surrounding the city, has recently been named by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses as one of the best places to be an entrepreneur in Canada. In a survey called Cities in Boom in the Financial Post the CFIB reported that, unlike some of the other larger Canadian cities which rank lower when compared to the area surrounding them, Edmonton and the area surrounding it rank much higher.
Entrepreneurs like Louise Dirks enjoy the benefits of Edmonton's high ranking on the CFIB's survey. Louise Dirks is the founder of Gravity Pope, a unique boutique that sells shoes, clothing, and accessories for men, women, and children founded in 1990.
Louise Dirks must travel extensively for her business, to places like Germany, France, and Italy, as well as to the locations of her stores in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. And while being based out of Edmonton means that she has to spend a little more time travelling, compared to being based out of a city with easier access to trans-Atlantic flights, Ms. Dirks wants to stay where she is.
And she is not alone. Many entrepreneurs, business owners, and start-ups throughout the city of Edmonton and the surrounding Capital Region are benefiting from doing business in the city. And the CFIB has reported some of the major reasons why Edmonton is so alluring.
Among the top 10 in the CFIB's ranking is Edmonton, Calgary, and the surrounding areas for both cities. Calgary proper ranked number nine on the list while Edmonton proper ranked number seven. The surrounding areas ranked 1st and 2nd respectively.
In fact, the vice president and chief economist at the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, Ted Mallett, has stated that cities in the west have ranked comparatively higher than cities in the east, with the top six spots on the list going to Western Canadian cities. Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver ranked 39th, 40th, and 33rd respectively.
Factors like business optimism, number of businesses per capita, the ratio of self-employed citizens to non self-employed citizens, and many others were considered for the survey's ranking. In addition, Mr. Mallett revealed that the commercial to residential tax ratio was a major consideration while ranking the cities and regions.
In regards to the commercial to residential tax ratio ranking determination, Ted Mallett asks, “Is there opportunism going on at the municipal level to skim money off the business sector and apply it to general resident services and so on?” If the answer is yes, then the area tends to rank more poorly than areas where the answer is no.
And for Edmonton and the surrounding Capital Region, Edmonton's Mayor Don Iveson says the answer is no. He says, “You don’t have residents paying for businesses’ utilities and businesses paying for residents’ utilities.” The city's business taxes are lower and more competitive than many other areas because Edmonton does not subsidize its utility costs with property tax dollars.
Another business owner benefiting from Edmonton's business friendly atmosphere is Tom Hendrickson, CEO and founder of Mitre Media. Mitre Media, founded in 2012, offers a network of websites and information for exchange and mutual fund investors. Mr. Hendrickson also ran Investopedia, which was sold to Forbes Media in 2007.
Tom Hendrickson can't think of a better place to run his business. Even though the talented business owner has received offers from such places as New York City, Mr. Hendrickson has no plans to relocate. “Why not Edmonton?” he asks. He finds that Edmonton is much more affordable than many other larger cities. And with fewer internet based companies in the area, as opposed to larger cities like Silicon Valley, Mitre Media is able to work with a more talented pool of programmers.
In addition to business owners like Louise Dirks and Tom Hendrickson, Edmonton is benefited by the heavy industry located in and around the Capital Region. Mayor Iveson stated that Edmonton is able to offer competitive tax rates to heavy industrial businesses because Edmonton does not charge a machinery and equipment tax. This has allowed the economic development area to the northeast of the city to be called Alberta's Industrial Heartland.
And the Leduc-Nisku industrial business park to the south of the city is the second largest oilfield service centre in North America. Leduc's Mayor, Greg Krischke has stated that, “There’s no doubt a lot of our success is due to the oil and gas industry.” Companies like Regent Energy Group, AOG International, Camex Equipment Sales and Rentals, and more than 700 other companies are located in and operated out of the Leduc-Nisku Industrial Zone. He added that the region has, “a very healthy logistics component that is located just west of Edmonton, and Edmonton itself is a leader in environmental industries.”
Edmonton is also currently the fastest growing city in North America. Mayor Iveson has said that people from all over the country are moving to Edmonton and the surrounding area to work.
Mr. Iveson stated, “We have the most affordable housing prices of any major Canadian city, which is a competitive advantage.” He also noted the competitive advantage gained by Alberta's low taxation. “We have a highly skilled workforce and the youngest workforce, because we’re the youngest city in the country.”
With all of these factors, it's clear to understand why the city of Edmonton and the surrounding Capitol Region has very high business confidence, meaning that the business owners in and around the area have revealed that they possess high levels of optimism when it comes to their businesses and their customers' satisfaction.
Not only is this is great news for everyone that lives and works in the Edmonton area, it's great news to anyone considering moving to the area. In addition, it wonderful news to anyone that has been waiting to start a business.Now is the time and Edmonton is the place.