Canadian start-ups woo Silicon Valley expatriates


Between 300,000 and 350,000 Canadian expats live in Silicon Valley. Today, a few Canadian start-ups seek to lure them back to the country by offering them executive roles.


Silicon Valley has always been a dream destination for those working in cutting-edge technology. So it is not surprising that more than 300,000 Canadians are working there today, enticed by the big companies in the sector and the employment opportunities that are there. And what if Canada was now able to do the same? That is what some start-ups in the industry think, whether they are in "Silicon Valley North" in Vancouver or Waterloo near Toronto.


Individuals between 30 and 50 years old


Lately, a number of Canadian workers who were in Silicon Valley until recently have decided to return to the country, attracted by new opportunities. The handful of Canadian start-ups which are able to hire them are targeting particularly those in their thirties and forties looking for better working conditions.


Although salaries on this side of the border are in no way equal to those paid in Silicon Valley, other criteria encourage these technology specialists to return: more senior positions in their new jobs, projects which are just as stimulating and recognition for the skills they acquired in California.


The environment also plays a large part in these changes. To attract talented individuals from Silicon Valley, Canadian start-ups are quick to boast about shorter commutes, more affordable rent and a more relaxed lifestyle.


A growing sector


But how is the sector in Canada doing exactly? Without comparing themselves to Google or Facebook, some Canadian companies are doing rather well, such as Shopify, Wattpad and Hootsuite, each valued at over a billion dollars. Others should be able to reach their level within two to three years, according to specialists in the sector. The government is playing an important role in this, thanks to its incentive measures. In particular, start-ups may claim up to $200,000 in grants for research and development, or even recover a portion of the salaries related to software development in tax credits.


In this context, it is not surprising to see Canadian companies launching a campaign to attract experts. By giving senior employees from Silicon Valley management positions, they ensure that their own companies will integrate practices which have made many Californian companies in the technology sector successful. 

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