When consumers shop within their community, we all benefit from job creation and dollars staying in our local economy. If the same formula is applied to investment dollars, a similar spinoff effect takes place, but on a much larger scale.
An example of this can be found right here at home in Saskatchewan, with Solido Design Automation, now Mentor, a Siemens Business – a company building software that designs chips for smartphones. The Saskatoon-based company’s rise was boosted after it benefited from early investment of local dollars and expertise from Saskatchewan’s Golden Opportunities Fund allowing it to grow into the world-leading machine learning technology company it is today.
For this Saskatoon-based company, local investment was the difference between the company being founded in Saskatchewan or another location.
Kris Breen, Director of Customer Enablement at Mentor, a Siemens Business, explained that in the early years, you would go where the resources to build your company are.
“As a Saskatchewan team, having local investment capital meant we could build Solido in Saskatchewan,” he said, adding when the capital comes with expertise and guidance, it’s even more valuable. “Having an idea and an algorithm is one thing, building that into a company that is successful across the globe is another thing – that takes strong partners – and we were glad to have Golden Opportunities with us along the way.”
Breen noted they were excited to announce that after acquisition by global industry-leader Siemens in November 2017, the company would not only remain in Saskatchewan but would continue to invest in growth having increased the number of local Saskatoon jobs by more than 50 per cent with plans to continue growth locally.
“What resulted is a home-grown tech company that gained global attention and will continue to grow here in Saskatchewan while innovating technology for a global market,” he said.
This is just one of many success stories coming from investments made by Golden Opportunities. The Saskatchewan fund has invested into over 130 Saskatchewan businesses since its inception 20 years ago. An Economic Impact Study released by the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) on the Fund’s 20th anniversary estimates that this investment has led to an economic impact of $3 billion and the creation of more than 15,000 jobs in Saskatchewan.
Dr. Joel Bruneau, Associate Professor and Department of Economics Head at the University of Saskatchewan, said the analysis in this Economic Impact Study accurately identifies the positive impacts of localized investments.
“The Golden Opportunities analysis shows the importance of local investments as a source of income and job growth,” Bruneau said. “The results emphasize how large the indirect effects of investments can be and how all of Saskatchewan can benefit from these kinds of investments.”
SREDA President and CEO Alex Fallon added that this is a great “made in Saskatchewan” success story. “The results of the study validate what we’ve been saying for years – Saskatchewan is a great place to start and grow a business,” Fallon said. “The fact that Golden Opportunities’ investments have helped create so many jobs in our Province is great news for the local economy.”
The impact of Golden Opportunities in Saskatchewan is possible because of the money invested at home by Saskatchewan people. These dollars have impacted 88 per cent of Saskatchewan’s towns and cities with investments in companies such as Golden Health Care, which is changing the way care is provided for our seniors offering level one to four care with eight locations across Saskatchewan, Prairie Meats and G-Mac’s AgTeam to name a few.
Wanda Hunchak, Executive Vice-President of Westcap Mgt – the fund manager of Golden Opportunities – said looking back over two decades since Golden Opportunities first launched, it is remarkable to see the growth in our province.
“We are invested in sectors that are driving the Saskatchewan economy. Saskatchewan people are innovators and problem solvers and we are bringing new technologies to the rest of the world. Golden Opportunities invests in sectors such as agriculture and healthcare and the Fund helps to ensure that successful Saskatchewan businesses stay and grow in Saskatchewan as we pass these companies down to the next generation that will continue to move forward and innovate,” Hunchak said. “Often, these are the companies that are the cornerstone of communities across Saskatchewan creating local jobs. We have the best job in the world, in the best place in the world.”
With one in 20 of Saskatchewan’s taxpayers currently invested – keeping their money invested at home – it is the people across Saskatchewan that have provided the opportunity for these local companies here in Saskatchewan. These are the people and the companies that will continue to drive economic growth and impact in this Province into the next 20 years.