Calgary is among the cities in North America bidding to be the new home for Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2.
Amazon invited cities to submit their proposals by Oct. 19, and the president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development (CED) says Calgary has a real chance against all the other bidders.
“We are a headquarters centre with the largest number of head offices per capita in Canada,” says Mary Moran.
Moran split the reasons why Calgary would be a prime location for HQ2 into two categories: People, and business.
Under the people section, she mentioned Calgary has highly educated and readily available head office staff, universal health care and low prescription drug costs, as well as low crime and great neighbourhoods with plenty of cultural and recreational activities.
“We have better immigration policies allowing businesses to grow their workforce,” Moran said, comparing Calgary to cities in the U.S. that are bidding.
She said business wise, Calgary is a great location for HQ2 because of its abundance of affordable office space, land for scale-up opportunities, and low costs of labour, electricity, and construction.
There are no payroll taxes, healthcare premiums, and land transfer taxes.
Based on Amazon’s criteria, Calgary Economic Development (CED) knows there are 47 qualified cities bidding, and CED suspects more than 100 unqualified cities have also submitted proposals.
Moran said the proposal from Calgary will come from CED but has the community behind it.
“We also did crowd-sourcing, which Amazon’s president loves,” Moran said.
CED has created a platform online, #LoveYYC, to band Calgarians together to build and strengthen Calgary’s business community.
The #LoveYYC community was faced with an Amazon HQ2 Elevator Pitch Challenge, where Calgarians were challenged to tell their stories and let the city shine in hopes that Amazon would move its second headquarters here, said a member of #LoveYYC.
Zev Klymochko had only joined #LoveYYC this fall, but he has lived in Calgary for 17 years. His pitch for the Amazon HQ2 Elevator Pitch Challenge won Top Pitch Overall award.
“Amazon has helped put Seattle on the map and I think they could do the same for Calgary,” Klymochko said.
He said in a perfect world, Amazon coming to Calgary would benefit his life, as they would give him a job based on the pitch he wrote.
His pitch, titled Three in One Day, talked about how Calgary is a city where one can surf on a river, skateboard at a skate park, and snowboard on a mountain all in one day.
“It has got big city conveniences but not so big that it’s impersonal,” Klymochko said in his pitch.
He said Calgary needs a bit of a spark, and Amazon is just what the city needs.
Klymochko said in his pitch to CED that this city is poised to spring forward from its dependence on the energy industry.
“Calgary is hungry for a new partner.”