Bob Dhillon, founding leader of Calgary-headquartered Mainstreet Equity Corp. has some free advice for Alberta’s premier Rachel Notley.
Use the slowdown in the overall economy but especially in the oilpatch C a slowdown that’s caused many well-qualified and well-educated workers to become laid off – to kick-start a new industry according to green technology. “Tax breaks would be given to new startups which are focused on green technology. It needs to be significant enough to start them up instantaneously,” said Dhillon, who reported his company’s annual financial statements this week.
Dhillon said the downturn and also the resulting availability of a talent pool, “represents a great opportunity” for the Alberta government to consider steps to change the economy.
“With the best tax credit we are able to transform [the laid-off engineers] into a green revolution, green technology that will assist the Alberta economy diversify away from gas and oil,” said Dhillon, who noted the procedure would also be helped by the accessibility to office space and the willingness from the province’s financial sector to match up those wanting capital with people with it. “This is a chance,” he declared.
Back at his day job, Dhillon has been transforming Mainstreet, which specializes in offering rental accommodation in Western Canadian cities. This week it posted its fifth consecutive year of annual double-digit growth in two key measures, funds from operations and net operating income. And for the very first time it recorded more than $100 million in revenue from continuing operations.
“Mainstreet has built an organised business model like a mid-market, value-added consolidator of apartments in western Canada,” said Dhillon who definitely are providing at least 200 of those units, in a substantial discount, to Syrian refugees.
But Dhillon isn’t resting on the laurels of what Mainstreet has achieved. Indeed he sees a number of parallels with the slowdown in 2008-2009 suggesting there might be a repeat of the playbook Mainstreet used then.