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Calgary prepares for the new economy

Calgary Economic Development releases annual report card

Mary Moran, CEO of Economic Development

Aaron Chatha / Metro

Mary Moran, CEO of Economic Development

For Calgary Economic Development, 2016 and 2017 have been about laying the groundwork for the new economy.

CED put out their annual report, covering their successes and shortfalls from last year.

“We were late out of the gate in 2016,” said CEO Mary Moran. “Although we had a pretty successful year, there are still some areas we need to tweak.”

One of those tweaks is supporting a healthy innovation ecosystem. It’s the reason CED recently acquired Startup Calgary. She said huge companies won’t occupy the city’s swathes of office space – most job creation will come from many smaller organizations.

It helps that people were still moving to Calgary during the recession, and many have remained – so the work is in creating new opportunities for them.

One of CED’s biggest shortfalls was in trade investment deals. The company had a goal of supporting 13 deals last year, but only one came to fruition.

“We as an organization are trying to get better as being to go-to for people that are looking for trade,” Moran said. “There are a lot of existing programs, so we don’t need to re-invent the wheel. What we have to do is work with companies to make sure they’re export ready, and then what we can do is provide resources into getting them to market when we’re doing this missions and opportunities.”

On the other hand, CED has been very successful in convincing companies to move into Calgary – they beat goal of 31 by winning over 37 companies.

It’s having an effect on the rest of the country, too – according to the report, Canadians with a favourable impression of Calgary jumped from 70 per cent to 75 per cent.

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