Edmonton may be cold but its entrepreneurial spirit burns hot.
According to a report titled Communities in Bloom, which is an annual ranking of Canadian city entrepreneurism compiled by the Financial Post and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the capital of Alberta is top-notch among the country's large cities.
This is the second year that Edmonton has ranked first in its category (5th among all municipalities).
Contributing factors to the city's success is the size of its entrepreneurial community and "business optimism," which I can confirm first-hand—on a recent trip to Edmonton, those in the entrepreneurial space were unanimously excited about the city's thriving community and bright future prospects.
Quoth the Financial Post:
“The fact that Edmonton is near the top is an achievement in many respects because it has blasted through that corporate layer,” says Ted Mallett, chief economist with CFIB. “Civic leaders tend to take business for granted. They see it as a source of revenue as opposed to a resource of growth and renewal.”
A "robust economy" in Alberta has helped spurred small and medium-sized businesses in Edmonton to forge a healthy ecosystem. The mayor is entrepreneur-friendly, according to locals, and the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation is working hard to expand upon what's already been achieved. Plus, newer organizations like Startup Edmonton are helping to cultivate a startup-happy attitude.
“The most important thing to any small or medium-sized business is the strength of the economy and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a city of our size anywhere in North America that has the economic prospects that Alberta has right now – Edmonton in particular,” [president and chief executive of EEDC Ron Gilbertson says].
As a result, Edmonton has the lowest unemployment among large Canadian cities at just 5.3% and its business property tax is well below competitor Calgary's. Additionally, Communities in Bloom found that local government is twice as aware of "small business issues" than Calgary, and both regulation and the cost of local government are lesser concerns for those in Edmonton when compared with Calgary.