A dynamic dozen Calgary Economic Development stories of 2021
Measuring the momentum in an economic recovery isn’t an exact science, but a run of major tech sector investments in Calgary bolstered a return to GDP growth in 2021 and created optimism around our long-term economic prospects.
As the New Year approaches, we’ve selected a dozen articles from our newsroom that captured the big trends, most significant investments, key research studies and compelling stories in the last 12 months.
“Canada needs more Calgary,” was an emphatic statement by Creative Destruction Labs founder Ajay Agrawal at our final news conference of the year in December. We couldn’t agree more.
Energy prices, supply-chain disruptions and inflation made headlines, but here are the biggest stories in economic development of 2021.
TECH TAKES OFF
1. Calgary welcomes tech giant Infosys: Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, announced in March it will bring 500 jobs to Calgary and double its Canadian workforce to 4,000 employees by 2023.
2. Mphasis launches Calgary Quantum City COE: Mphasis, a global information technology solutions provider, the Government of Alberta and UCalgary announced the launch of the Quantum City Centre of Excellence in June which will create 1,000 jobs in two years.
3. RBC launches Calgary Innovation Hub: Royal Bank of Canada announced in September it would open a Calgary Innovation Hub and create 300 technology roles in three years.
4. Tech leader AWS announces new data center region for Calgary: Amazon Web Services announced in October it would invest $4.3 billion in Alberta’s economy with the establishment of a Data Center Region in Calgary by early 2024.
OCIF ACCELERATES INNOVATION
5. OCIF supports transformative growth: The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund evolved in 2021 to support the startup and scaleup of companies through business accelerators and investors that will drive company and ecosystem growth.
OCIF announcements in 2021:
- Endeavor Canada (February)
- SVG | Thrive (June)
- Plug and Play (November)
- Accelerate Fund III (November)
- Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies (December)
- Movement51 (December)
RESEARCH IDENTIFIES OPPORTUNITIES
6. Alberta Energy Transition Study | A $61B opportunity: Pursuit of net-zero could create 170,000 jobs in cleantech and contribute $61 billion to Alberta’s GDP by 2050, said the Alberta Energy Transition Study for Calgary Economic Development and partners released in December.
Other industry sector studies:
- Life Sciences Value Proposition & Competitiveness Study (January)
- The Transportation & Logistics Value Proposition Study(February)
- The future of 5G for Calgary’s connectivity (March)
GREATER DOWNTOWN PLAN
7. New Economy LIVE! Reimagining Calgary's downtown: The City of Calgary released its ambitious new Greater Downtown Plan in April that reinforced the importance of downtown to the city’s economic future and investment plans that support the connection between livability, urban design and public spaces. The Plan was the focus of a New Economy LIVE! session for Calgarians.
LIVE TECH, LOVE LIFE
8. Calgary rises in rankings as top tech talent city: Calgary recorded double-digit growth in tech talent and total tech jobs in a five-year period and rose six spots to 28th among North American markets in CBRE’s 2021 Scoring Tech Talent report in July. Our award-winning Live Tech, Love Life marketing campaign highlights the opportunities in Calgary’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem and included a virtual career fair in September with Tech West Collective that connected job seekers worldwide to local tech companies.
WORKFORCE OF TOMORROW
9. Building talent with work-integrated learning: With support from the Future Skills Centre, EDGE UP 2.0 (Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project) launched in November to provide tech training for 320 displaced energy professionals in Calgary.
MORE LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
10. Calgary named top city for movie makers: Changes to the tax treatment for film and TV productions by the Government of Alberta led to record sector activity in 2021. Ghostbusters: Afterlife, HBO’s The Last of Us and Fraggle Rock were major projects showcasing Calgary as a top destination for productions. In 2021, we made the Top 10 of MovieMaker’s list of Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in North America.
LOCAL BUSINESS, GLOBAL SOLUTIONS
11. TAPyyc – The goods on going global: Supporting local businesses looking to expand to new markets is a major focus for Calgary Economic Development and COVID-19 has added interest to the Trade Accelerator Program in Calgary. In 2021, TAP alumni established over 30 new international trade deals from the U.S. to Japan. Over 81 new full-time jobs were created by TAP alumni and more than 22,000 sq. ft. of office and warehouse space was occupied.
YOUR FUTURE IS NOT A JOB
12. Your future is not a job but in the adaptable skills you’ve developed: This article by Mount Royal University’s Dr. David J. Finch, and Dexter Lam, Manager, Talent, Calgary Economic Development, was first published in the Calgary Herald and presented at a New Economy LIVE! forum to engage Calgarians in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy.
Stay tuned to our newsroom and social media channels for the latest news on Calgary’s economy in 2022.