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Curious how we’re selling Calgary to a motivated crowd of youthful tech-job searchers? Take your local hat off for a moment and picture yourself at a cool cocktail party at Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewery. Robyn Bews, Director, Sales & Sector Development at Calgary Economic Development, was there and she excited the crowd gathered around the Calgary pavilion.

“I know what you are thinking...Calgary: too cold, too west, too white, too small, too boring, too traditional, too hum-drum…” 

Last week Techfest was hosted by the city of Toronto, and Calgary took five exciting companies with them to highlight not only how much we want to attract talent here, but also how awesome the opportunities are in Calgary’s tech ecosystem. Clio, Critical Mass, Novatel, Passportal and Solium all showed up to demonstrate the solid tech foundation in Calgary, as well as the soaring potential.

Techfest, put on by Techvibes, is an event that attracts up to 1000 attendees and offers more than 300 career opportunities to a crowd of potential employees. Up to 15 hiring companies come and pitch to the crowd with the soul purpose of bringing those employees “home” with them.

For many people from all over Canada, and around the world, Calgary ends up being the perfect place to be for many reasons, not just where you work.

For example, Calgary is affordable. In fact, Calgary’s condo market is 20 per cent more affordable than Vancouver’s and 34 per cent more affordable than Toronto’s. Our jobs pay pretty well, too!

Sure, we have winter, but so does Toronto. Calgary can boast being within a three hour drive to ten of the world’s best ski resorts. Guess what? Winter is fun in Calgary.

And then . . . there is Banff. One short, scenic drive away. If Banff is not on your bucket list, it should be because Banff is the perfect place to explore the Canadian Rockies and get your outdoor adventure game on. With incredible skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, and ice skating you will never get bored of what can be discovered in and around Calgary during all seasons, even that terrifying winter you hear so often about.

Are you thinking there is no tech ecosystem in Calgary? Are you thinking there is nothing going on?

This is not true. At all.

Despite the downturn in the energy sector, Calgary remains an exciting, vibrant, growing city.

There is a fantastic food scene, a growing number of distilleries and micro breweries and a very exciting tech ecosystem.

If working on life-sustaining, mission critical problems, like feeding the world (agribusiness), heating your homes (energy) or getting your latest Amazon order in time (transportation and logistics) is on your check list for living and working in a city where industries thrive, then Calgary might just be the place for you.

Strike that. Calgary is the place for you!

With one of the youngest populations in the country and the second highest number of head offices in the country, tech is of course, thriving in Calgary.

In fact, there are over 1,000 open jobs in the city currently posted by employers looking for tech talent.

If the tech future is important to you, Calgary’s present tech scene is where you want to be.  

And how did the crowd respond? Bews describes her experience in Toronto, “there is tremendous enthusiasm about Calgary from talented young people in that market that are having a difficult time making ends meet with the cost of living in Toronto. Many of them were surprised to hear about how many opportunities there were in the tech space in Calgary. As we see young talent migrating from expensive centers to the secondary cities, I think Calgary will really find its special place in the Canadian tech ecosystem.” 


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