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Business Spotlight – Calgary Entrepreneurs Bring The Gig Economy To Alberta

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7 minute read

Gig work has been a popular subject as of late, interesting that younger generations of Albertans are up against a lot, including a historical economic downturn, a major decrease in unionized and salary jobs, competing with experienced furloughed workers and are simply left scratching their head after putting in thousands of hours and dollars to get a formal education. Combine that with an unemployment rate of 15.5% reported as of May 2020, up from 6.7% the same time last year, we are left with a pretty grim outlook for younger generations of Albertans. 

 

What Is Gig Work?

Gig work can be referred to as self employed or simply contract, consulting or freelance work, where you as the service provider offer your skills at a preferred rate. This type of work is not new, but not only does it already consist of thousands of Canadian workers, Statistics Canada’s most recent data reported 1.7 million gig workers in Canada in 2016. Not the security we were taught to seek in our youth, but can offer a new level of freedom for those who wish to choose their work schedule, offer their skillset and grow their own personal brand.

Source: The Accelerator – From Left: CEO, Karshil Desai, CCO, Sara Mir, CSO, Shawn Moghaddami and CMO, Ankit Patel.

Incredible Minds Can Do Incredible Things 

Meet the Skilli team, a group of four like minded entrepreneurs collaborating to bring the gig economy to Alberta. Having worked in Fort McMurray in Alberta, they experienced the extent of what ‘hard work’ means for our citizens while spending time working in the Alberta Oil and Gas industry. Respect to the many hard working individuals who have overcome fires and floods in that area over the last number of years, their community resilience is inspirational. CEO Karshil Desai speaks about witnessing an opportunity while living there that would prove to be the foundation for Skilli:

“…working in software and automation in the oil and gas sector in Fort MacMurray, I was around a lot of people who made good money offering their unique skills and services…due to the economic downturn, it was unfortunate to see so many people getting laid off, but still needed to pay their bills…I noticed a huge gap in how skilled services were offered and how they were hired by the consumer..”

 

Skilli is a mobile platform that provides freelancers, contractors and service providers a place to market themselves as their own brand. There can be many challenges with traditional methods of gig work, such as finding who can provide the service you need, getting their contact details, scheduling the service, quality control of the work and invoicing for payment after the fact. I am sure there has been millions of dollars spent from word of mouth referrals for what was actually a poor quality deliverable on too many occasions. Validation is a crucial part of the Skilli process for those offering their service, as part of that process, they put the service provider first, thus providing the highest level of customer satisfaction to the end user. CSO for Skilli, Shawn Moghaddami mentions:

“…we see the value of the gig economy in Alberta, with such a large talented workforce here…for us, it is ultimately about putting the service provider first so the customer is the one that benefits…we provide the tools they need, they have the platform behind them and the support to build their own brand.” 

 

The Skilli App You Need To Watch Out For

Combining passion to help a wider community, their experience around contract work and their education on the gig economy, the team have developed their app where the platform can be utilized from anywhere. As mentioned, this type of self employment can offer a higher level of freedom than the traditional 40 hour nine-to-five. Work for yourself and lean on their knowledge base for resources on how to establish your profile, process payments, professional validation and build your confidence as a freelancer or contractor. Unfortunately the app is not available yet in Alberta, however they are proactively validating service providers for the launch of their newest version in early July. There is hope for those who can offer services and are having difficulty finding employment. Something we can all look forward to in these trying times.

 

 

Invest In Yourself

Want to be a part of what will be established as the ‘new economy’? Now is the time to re-evaluate the value you possess. Take a course, improve your skills, invest in supplies you need to offer a service as an individual or begin to construct a portfolio of previous work. Contract work has been around for a very long time, the stigma of it not being a successful career choice for your whole life is dying. Take control of your future by working for yourself. The gig economy is here and will continue to become a major part of what we call the ‘new normal’, to that point everyone here at Todayville wishes the Skilli team the best of success with the launch of their new app and look forward to their launch in early July. 

Considering becoming a service provider or seeking information? 

If you would like to learn more about Skilli or their new app. Visit their website here or social media links below.

 

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For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary

Alberta

Edmonton triples venture capital investment in 2023

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Alberta’s tech sector continues its strong momentum, with Edmonton seeing its strongest growth ever, proof Alberta remains a hot tech market.

As global and national investment have declined, Alberta has remained a strong tech market and is showing continued leadership, as shown by Pitchbook ranking Calgary as the 12th fastest-growing tech ecosystem in the world and LinkedIn ranking Calgary as one of the best places to hire and recruit tech workers.

At the end of 2023, Alberta’s five-year growth rate for venture capital dollars invested reached an impressive 48.5 per cent, more than triple Canada’s compounded average growth rate of 13 per cent, according to the 2023 Canadian Venture Capital Private Equity Association fourth-quarter report.

The province’s growth rate means Alberta finished 2023 with $707 million invested over 86 deals, in line with Alberta’s 2022 record-breaking year. In contrast, Canada ended the year with a 31 per cent decline in investments. Over the past five years, Alberta technology companies have secured more than $2.7 billion in venture capital funding across 350 deals, creating thousands of jobs for Albertans.

“While Canada as a whole saw massive declines, Alberta has held steady. We are a major venture capital player in Canada, as technology drives growth across all sectors.”

Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation

Alberta’s two largest cities continued to attract investment dollars in 2023, with Calgary and Edmonton coming in fourth and fifth respectively for number of deals, with $501 million invested in 64 deals in Calgary and $188 million invested in 21 deals in Edmonton. Edmonton saw a 324 per cent increase from $58 million in 2022 to $188 million in 2023. In total, Alberta captured 10.3 per cent of dollars invested in 2023 and 13 per cent of venture capital deals in Canada.

“Edmonton’s tripling of venture capital investment in 2023 underscores our city’s position as a dynamic tech capital within Alberta’s thriving innovation ecosystem, reaffirming our role as a powerhouse driving technological advancement and economic prosperity across diverse sectors. It is the local innovators’ relentless pursuit of solutions to real-world problems, with the continuing support of the Government of Alberta, which not only attracts significant investment but also propels our city to the forefront of Alberta’s tech revolution and fosters job creation for our community.”

Launa Aspeslet, interim chief executive officer, Edmonton Unlimited

“At Platform Calgary we are working with our partners to continue this momentum by linking up high potential tech startups with the investors that can help them take their businesses to the next level. The evidence is clear, Alberta is emerging as one of the most exciting and resilient tech ecosystems in the world. Together with our growing tech community, we can secure Alberta’s position as the best place in the world for anyone to launch and grow a tech business.”

Terry Rock, president and chief executive officer, Platform Calgary 

Alberta remains a growing market for the technology and innovation sector, and Alberta’s government celebrates its steady contribution to the Alberta economy, including in the fourth quarter of 2023. The end of last year saw venture capital investments in the province increase by 35 per cent for dollars invested and 19 per cent for deals closed compared with the third quarter. There were 25 deals closed valued at a combined $173 million in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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Economy

Taxpayer watchdog slams Trudeau gov’t for increasing debt ceiling: ‘Put down the credit card’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland authorized an additional $73 billion in borrowing this fiscal year.

After Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland gave herself and the government the authority to borrow an additional $73 billion this fiscal year, the head of the nation’s leading taxpayer watchdog group said the federal government needs to “put down the credit card” and return to common-sense spending.

Freeland, as per a February 15 cabinet order made under the Financial Administration Act, allowed the extra borrowing to take place.

The government has set “$517 billion to be the maximum aggregate principal amount of money that may be borrowed” before April 1. Before this cabinet order, however, the maximum amount was $444 billion.

Despite Freeland claiming that the increase in borrowing is “in no way a blank cheque,” Canadian Taxpayers Federation federal director Franco Terrazzano said the borrowing needs to end.

“The Trudeau government needs to put down the credit card and pick up some scissors,” Terrazzano told LifeSiteNews.

“The government should be cutting spending and balancing the budget, not racking up more debt for years to come.”

In 2021, Canada’s Parliament raised the federal debt borrowing amount by a whopping 56% under the Borrowing Authority Act. The amount went from $1.168 trillion to $1.831 trillion.

“What it does is set a ceiling for how much the government can spend,” Freeland said at the time.

Terrazzano told LifeSiteNews that the Trudeau government should be cutting spending and balancing the budget, not racking up more debt for years to come.

Terrazzano observed that in the coming year the Trudeau government will be spending “more money on debt interest charges than it sends to the provinces in health transfers.”

“In a handful of years, every penny collected from the GST (Goods and Service Tax) will go toward paying interest on the debt,” he noted.

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, due to excessive COVID money printing, inflation has skyrocketed.

Last month, LifeSiteNews reported that fast-rising food costs in Canada have led to many people feeling a sense of “hopelessness and desperation” with nowhere to turn for help, according to the Canadian government’s own National Advisory Council on Poverty.

Last year, the Bank of Canada acknowledged that Trudeau’s federal “climate change” programs, which have been deemed “extreme” by some provincial leaders, are indeed helping to fuel inflation.

Terrazzano told LifeSiteNews that Trudeau should “completely scrap his carbon tax,” which is making everything more expensive.

Conservatives blast increased debt

Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) MPs have been critical of the raised debt ceiling. “You’re simply saying, ‘Give me a blank cheque and then trust me,’” MP Ed Fast said.

Freeland claimed that the “characterization of the borrowing authority limit as a blank cheque is simply false.”

CPC leader Pierre Poilievre recently asked, “Is there a dollar figure to which she would limit the debt?”

She replied that the government is “mindful that limits exist.”

During a February 13 Senate national finance committee meeting, Budget Officer Yves Giroux noted how Trudeau’s cabinet plans in terms of spending are not clear.

“We don’t know exactly what the government plans on spending or doing in terms of new spending or potential spending,” he said when asked by Senator Elizabeth Marshall if the new borrowing limits are “still realistic.”

Marshall added, “As it stands now, do you think it looks reasonable?”

“It looks sufficient, but the government always wants to give itself some room to maneuver in case there are unforeseen events that require borrowing on short notice,” Giroux replied.

A report from September 5, 2023, by Statistics Canada shows food prices are rising faster than headline inflation at a rate of between 10% and 18% per year.

According to a recent Statistics Canada survey of supermarket prices, Canadians are paying 12% more for carrots, 14% more for hamburger (ground meat), and 27% more for baby formula.

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