An Unlimited Landscape of Investment Opportunity
Southwest Alberta has immediate opportunities available to purchase existing businesses, kick off a new venture or explore partnerships with established firms in the area’s thriving agriculture, transportation, tourism, oil and gas, and renewable energy sectors.
This unique region is an ideal location to live in, invest in and grow a business in. It has:
- Entrepreneurial Spirit – a skilled, young and productive workforce populates this stunning area;
- Low Business Costs – one of the most competitive tax environments in North America;
- Strategic Location and Access – $845 million in major provincial projects have been announced for the Southern Alberta Transmission Reinforcement initiative;
- Export Capacity – well situated to take advantage of the trade corridors; and
- Collaborative Communities – strategic regional partnerships craft a strong tie between private business, government and educational institutions.
Regional Industry SectorsSouthwest Alberta has three
Download a detailed, printable, PDF version of the Southwest Alberta Regional Profile
The Lay of the Land
This distinctive landscape is where the beautiful Rocky Mountains meet the sprawling prairies. Over 36,000 residents, living in 16 vibrant communities, call southwest Alberta home. The six major centres are Cardston, Claresholm, Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, Nanton, and Pincher Creek ranging from 2,100 to 5,500 in population.
The region boasts one of the highest quality of life standards in the world, with recreational settings, strong community values and an average household income of over $80,000 (2011). With clean, fresh water, more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Canada, clear starry nights and a bounty of natural resources, Southwest Alberta proves an idyllic setting for living and a great location for commerce.
Over 1,900 businesses currently operate in Southwest Alberta’s vibrant and diverse economy. Local companies benefit from a young, highly skilled and educated workforce. In 2012, 48.3% of the labour force aged 25 and over reported holding a university degree or post-secondary diploma, and two-thirds of the region’s population were aged between 15 and 64.
Unparalleled Access to Markets
Southwest Alberta has a strategic local and international network of air, rail and transportation corridors, providing trade access to 50 million people by road within 24 hours. The region is just 1.5 hours southwest of Calgary, Alberta’s largest city, which has over 60,000 businesses and more than 130 major corporate head offices.
- Highway 2 (CANAMEX) accelerates the north-south flow of goods, connecting Alberta to the U.S.A. and Mexico.
- Highway 1 (TransCanada) is Canada’s major east-west trade corridor, spanning across all ten Canadian provinces, linking the east and west coasts.
- Highway 3 west connects Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia and the Port Metro Vancouver deep-sea terminal, Canada’s largest sea port and the fourth largest tonnage port in North America. Highway 3 East links to the Trans Canada Highway, all major eastern Canadian highways as well as the Atlantic Ocean.
- Major Port of Entry to the USA: one hour south of Fort Macleod is Canada’s 9th busiest border crossing, Coutts/Sweet Grass, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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- One of Alberta’s longest runways lies within the region, and is managed by the Municipal District of Pincher Creek. The runway is at 1190 meters (3,903 feet) elevation and is 2012 meters (6,600 feet) in length.
- Within an hour’s drive is the Lethbridge airport, operating 24/7 with daily scheduled flights. There is also an on-site NAV CANADA Flight Services Station that operates 16 hours per day.
- Just a two-hour drive away is the Calgary International Airport, Canada’s third largest. Connecting passengers through daily scheduled flights to 100 International destinations, the airport also serves as a major cargo hub for Western Canada.
- Products can be shipped by rail on the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline. Lethbridge boasts a major freight handling facility, with tracks running in all four cardinal directions. Products are easily shipped north to Calgary, south to the U.S.A., east to large markets in southern Ontario, and west to Vancouver and beyond to the Pacific Rim.
Visit our interactive map to learn more about the different communities in our region and their locations.
Oldman River Reservoir manages the abundant water supply in the region and provides a good basecamp for recreational water sports and camping.
A Global Contender in Business Costs
Work here. Live here. Do business here. Get more. Pay less. Alberta showcases its pro-business, entrepreneurial attitude by offering one of the most competitive tax environments in North America. Investors continue to take advantage of its low property, corporate and personal income tax rates. Alberta is the only province that does not have a provincial retail sales tax. It has no provincial capital or payroll taxes, nor machinery and equipment taxes. Alberta has none of the taxes typical in many other provinces and in the U.S.A.
- Small business owners pay lower taxes (total of personal and business income tax, sales tax, gas tax, health premiums) in Alberta than in any other province in Canada.
- The combined federal/provincial corporate income tax rate is 27% for general businesses and 14% for small businesses.
- Alberta has the lowest gasoline taxes in Canada.
- Alberta Healthcare is the best funded in the country, representing one third of the annual provincial budget. Canada provides publicly funded healthcare services, reducing the cost to private business.
SPECIFICALLY, SOUTHWEST ALBERTA BUSINESSES PROFIT FROM:
- Lower than provincial average labour costs;
- An average house price 58% lower than the Alberta average;
- Municipal property taxes roughly 25% lower than those in the Calgary Region;
- Lower taxes than the Calgary Region for comparable enterprise operating space;
- Municipal commercial taxes coming in at roughly $1500/$100,000 of assessment, lower assessment values than the Calgary Region;
- Competitively low water, natural gas and electricity utility rates; and
- Internationally competitive manufacturing costs in green energy.
Alberta has a history rooted in agriculture and food production, continuing to shine as an innovative industry leader. In 2013, nearly 74% of all Canadian beef processing took place in Western Canada, concentrated primarily in Alberta. To read more click here.
Alternative and renewable energy sources are an integral part of the Government of Alberta’s energy portfolio as 45% of electricity generation stems from wind, hydro and biomass. The southern Alberta region has the potential to become a leader in the supply of solar energy due to its advantageous location. With 2,400 hours of sunshine per year, it exhibits the highest amounts of sun across all of Canada. To read more click here.
Tourism is one of the leading industries in Alberta, employing over 114,000 people and generating $7.4 billion in annual expenditures. Southwest Alberta is no exception, attributing its flourishing tourism sector to the region’s breadth in cultural, recreational, outdoor adventure and all season destinations. Connecting the expansive prairies to the spectacular Rockies, visitors and residents alike enjoy golf courses, campgrounds, provincial parks, western and cowboy themed activities and outdoor recreation like hiking and skiing. To read more click here.
A Network of Incentives
Southwest Alberta supports existing, expanding and new businesses through its strategic network of regional communities and partners. In addition to the 16 communities working collaboratively, the region has close ties with the City of Lethbridge, Lethbridge County, the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College, to encourage budding entrepreneurs while providing access to market and investment opportunities.