In the latest of our special series of profiles, Laureen Regan, President and Founder of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, talks about doing business in Calgary and the province of Alberta.
Can you tell us a little about the ICCCC?
The Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce in Calgary works to promote and support bilateral trade between Alberta and Ireland. We create collaboration opportunities and business connections between Irish and Canadian professionals through networking and industry-specific events featuring key business leaders and diplomats.
What originally brought you to Calgary?
Waterford born, my family immigrated to Alberta for work many years ago. Here they found many opportunities, a strong entrepreneurial spirit to match their own and a welcoming community.
What advice would you give Irish companies about business in Alberta?
Irish Companies looking to start or set up a business in Alberta can see success if they are committed to maintaining a permanent presence here. It is difficult to gain traction when visits to Alberta are monthly or only every few weeks. Relationships are very important in the business community. It takes time, in market, to build connections and foster and grow the relationships needed to succeed.
Why Calgary? Top three things that make it a great place to live and do business
- Quality of Life
We are ranked in the top 5 most liveable cities in the world. The pool of highly qualified workers has made Calgary a global talent hub that is home to innovators and entrepreneurs.
The City has the benefits of having a large metropolitan centre, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, clean and safe environment, abundant green spaces and parks, longest urban pathway system, and an hour’s drive from the Canadian Rockies.
Calgary is ranked #1, out of Canada’s 100 largest cities for the sunniest days year-round – over 2,300 hours of sunshine annually!
- Connected to the World
Calgary has the highest head office concentration per capita in Canada. It has ready access to global markets through a highly integrated transportation and logistics system moving people, products, and services. Calgary also provides access to the rapidly expanding markets in Asia by air and via the Port of Vancouver and is also regarded by many European companies as a gateway to North America.
- Low cost of doing business
Compared to other Canadian jurisdictions, Alberta has no provincial sales tax, no health care premiums, lower personal income tax rates and the lowest fuel tax among provinces.
Calgary businesses also benefit from the fact that Alberta has no inventory tax, no machinery and equipment tax and no payroll tax, which are common in many other provinces and U.S. states.
Albertans. across all income ranges, will generally continue to pay the lowest overall taxes compared to other provinces.
If you could give one message to the Irish government about how to improve the Ireland Canada relationship, what would it be?
Canada is a large and diverse country, with much to offer. Alberta has strong, established markets in many sectors including agriculture, advanced industries, energy, renewables, forestry, water, manufacturing and more. Alberta also has leading university and research institutions.
Direct access through WestJet is opening up the Alberta market to Irish businesses and Canadian businesses are eyeing up the Irish and European markets.
Building awareness of the market opportunities in both directions is a crucial first step.
Is the future bright for Irish companies operating in or exporting to Canada?
The future is very bright for Irish companies looking for market access into Canada. Alberta has a strong focus on market diversification and a history of successful partnerships with many countries around the globe.
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, direct flights and a vibrant province that is ‘open for business’ all work together to create a solid foundation for opportunities in multiple sectors.
Alberta opens the doors to Canadian, American and Asian markets.
Anything else you would like to mention…
The time has never been better for Irish and Alberta businesses looking for new markets. Businesses and visitors alike will find a world of opportunity, an affordable business climate, young and educated workforce and a warm welcome in Alberta.