Am I Biased?
What Does Amazon Need?
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
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.
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?
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’s 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.
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.
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!