The biggest online retailer in the world has set its sights on Canada and is looking to build a warehouse/distribution center. Undoubtedly there are cities and provinces chomping at the bit to lure Amazon. What of Winnipeg, do we really stand a chance and can Winnipeg handle the Amazon expansion?

Am I Biased?

I am biased to a certain extent because I am a Winnipeger, born and raised. That being said, I will try to be as objective as possible when answering Can Winnipeg Handle the Amazon Expansion? Also, it should be noted that other cities like Toronto will be wanting to lure Amazon too. Winnipeg will have fierce competition in Canada and Amazon will be weighing the Pros and Cons for each Canadian city that bids on this venture.

What Does Amazon Need?

When wondering can Winnipeg handle the Amazon Expansion, we first need to look at what Amazon would need from a city. I don’t work for Amazon so I will have to rely on my knowledge of business, demographics, and other indicators. I may be way off on all of this but heh, it’s my blog and therefore my opinion.
Financial Incentives – I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking it too; what the hell would a billion dollar company need with financial incentives? Well, in this day and age, all companies want financial incentives from governments and utilities. While not the only deciding factor, financial incentives are very important.
Population – Of course, a higher population would be necessary if Amazon is to be in need of approximately 50,000 workers over the span of construction and operation. A city of at least a million people would probably be adequate to support a workforce of that capacity.
Infrastructure – Infrastructure is very important for a company like Amazon. Quick and easy access to and from their warehouse will be critical no matter which city they decide on.
Technological Resources – More specifically, brain power, will be an absolute must for Amazon. After all, thy are a leader in online digital sales and will continue to be. They’ll need a city where they can employ many brains in order to achieve whatever goals they may have in Canada.

There are no doubt many more requirements that Amazon will need to have met but I wanted to scrape the surface here.

Can Winnipeg Handle the Amazon Expansion

Can Winnipeg Handle the Amazon Expansion

Sure, Winnipeg wants the Amazon expansion to happen here, our mayor Brian Bowman has officially sent Amazon a proposal indicating that. I’d like to compare Winnipeg to the above requirements so we can see first hand, can Winnipeg handle the Amazon Expansion!

Financial Incentives

All three levels of the Canadian government (Federal, Provincial, and Municipal) will undoubtedly offer great incentives for Amazon to come to Canada and setup shop in a province. Winnipeg would be no different in this matter. Other incentives would come from lower electricity rates, which MB Hydro would (most likely) offer. Given that Manitoba boasts some of the lowest electricity rates in Canada (and even North America), we would have a shoe-in on this point. I believe that incentives for a Winnipeg location would win out and be a good deciding factor for Amazon.

Population

I heard it said that Amazon would want to set up their HQ in a city that boasts at least one million people. Unfortunately for Winnipeg, we cap out at about 700,000 people. In saying that, Ikea also made that claim but they set up in Winnipeg anyways and I’m fairly certain the store is doing well. Food for thought right?

Infrastuctur

I’m not sure about the infrastructure of other cities in Canada but Winnipeg boasts a nice infrastructure that is easily accessible both in and out of the city. Center Port Canada was made in Winnipeg and is labelled as “North America‚Äôs largest inland port”. To see more about it, CLICK HERE. This is a huge advantage for Amazon if they were to setup in Winnipeg. In fact, this may be one of the biggest deciding factors for a business that relies heavily on shipping.

Technological Resources

Here’s where Winnipeg and surrounding areas may fall short. Over the years Winnipeg has seen it’s share of brain drain to other provinces and cities both in Canada and the U.S.! We don’t have a tech industry like Toronto or Vancouver has and it’s unknown if there would be an interest to move into Winnipeg for Amazon. In my opinion, this is where we lose when thinking, can Winnipeg handle the Amazon expansion. Couple this with our lower population and we’re losing on two major fronts.

Final Thoughts

While the thought of Amazon setting up its HQ in Winnipeg excites me, to answer the question: Can Winnipeg handle the Amazon expansion, my answer is no. The million people city is a valid point because the estimated 50,000 people needed for Amazon needs to be available so higher population numbers matter. Couple this with our lack of available techies and we’re up the creek without a paddle. We need numbers and we need high-tech people to be available at all times to make Amazon a good fit here in Winnipeg.

I Could be Wrong

Amazon could surprise us all and setup in Winnipeg. They could invest in a great campaign to entice people to move to Winnipeg, which would quite literally change Winnipeg forever. I would embrace this whole heartedly!

What Do You Think?

I would love to know what your thoughts are on this matter! Can Winnipeg handle the Amazon expansion? Do you think my thought process on this matter is correct or no? I value your opinion and look forward to seeing it. Drop a comment below and tell me what you think!

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