Why I’m Excited About Canadian Digital and Tech Businesses in 2016

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It’s going to be a good year, I can feel it. Instead of writing about New Year’s resolutions for my first post of 2016, I’d like to share why I’m excited about the year ahead for Canadian tech and digital businesses.

  1. Bold, brave acquisitions and digital strategies 

    Last week, Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Company announced the acquisition of U.S. online excess fashion and luxury retailer Guilt Groupe. I think it’s a smart and brave move by the company to capture a younger, more digitally-savvy demographic. And it makes me proud to see one of Canada’s oldest businesses making smart, bold decisions to innovate in the digital economy.Other retailers like Canadian Tire are getting increasingly bullish in the digital space as well. Last summer, Canadian Tire launched its new digital in-store strategy to cater to a younger demographic and a more omni-channel shopping experience. From the opening of the “Digital Garage” incubation space in Kitchener (with the hopes of developing new innovations in retail), to the digitization of Canadian Tire money, the popular retailer is placing its bets on ecommerce and digital for the future.

    Both of these businesses are laying the foundation for a giant leap towards digital transformation of the Canadian business landscape. And I’m excited to see what Canadian Tire and Hudson’s Bay launches/anounces in the coming months.

  1. It’s getting easier for tech startups to grow in Canada
    It used to be that launching a business in Canada was difficult, not only from a funding and government support perspective but also from a market sizing perspective. With 35 million+ residents, Canada’s population size makes it a much smaller market in which to launch versus the U.S. or UK.But as this recent interview with the founder of Toronto startup Influitive, Mark Organ suggests it’s getting much easier because of great tax credits, local engineering talent and increased access to capital this side of the border.

    In addition, the ability to target a larger, more global audience is much easier to do online. And like Influitive, software as a service (SAAS) companies like Hootsuite, FreshBooks and Shopify are proving that it is possible to go global – even with headquarters based in Canada.

With rumours of possible Canadian tech IPOs on the horizon, I’m really excited to see what Canadian tech and digitally-focused businesses have in the works this year. Watch this space for more updates.

Full disclosure, I work with both the Influitive and Shopify Plus content teams to help tell spread brand message through storytelling.

Image via Pixabay

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