Fresh Takes

Innovation and Entrepreneurship – The Albertan Way

Despite worse COVID-19 job losses than the rest of the country, a prolonged downturn in oil and gas, and a third recession since 2009, Alberta is expected to see increases to real GDP in 2021 and 2022 higher than the national average, and enjoy among the strongest post-COVID economic recoveries.

Some of the reasons for this lie in the values of the province that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, which drive long-term economic growth.

For starters, Albertans are willing to take risks. This can be seen in the above-average rates of firm entry and exit compared to the rest of the country. Higher firm entry rates suggest an entrepreneurial mindset, and according to Philip Cross, these higher exit rates “imply a greater acceptance of the failures that are an inevitable part of innovation and creative destruction.”

Alberta is also more open to trade than other Canadian provinces, which fosters competition and innovation. This is important, as we know that barriers to trade undermine wealth and productivity. With the least costly interprovincial trade barriers, Alberta demonstrates commitment to efficiency and entrepreneurship.

In conjunction with the 2020 Recovery Plan to build, diversify, and create jobs, the Alberta government—and the other provinces as well—should encourage innovation through the cultivation of values that run deep in the province, and support a competitive business environment. Albertans are resilient, and with their entrepreneurial spirit, will rebound from what the Premier calls “one of the most challenging times in our history.” Let’s hope the other provinces follow their lead.

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