IBM Canada to launch innovation centre in Calgary, hire 250 staff

IBM Canada's Client Innovation Centre for Western Canada, Calgary. Source IBM.
The Calgary innovation centre could reach up to 430 hires.

IBM Canada is set to open a Client Innovation Centre (CIC) in Calgary. It plans to hire 250 people across the city, with the potential to reach 430. The global tech giant is working with Invest Alberta, Calgary Economic Development and Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) to establish the CIC.

OCIF is contributing up to $5 million over a five-year term for the creation of the centre, which will assume a portion of the 25,000 square feet office IBM currently holds in the Beltline area of downtown Calgary.

The ambitious hiring goals have led to concerns locally about an already tight talent market.

Calgary was selected to be the home of IBM’s latest CIC because of its growth as a Western Canada tech hub, as well as its “skilled and diverse workforce,” according to IBM.

“The new IBM Client Innovation Centre will play an important role in contributing to Alberta’s economic growth through job creation and the engagement of local expertise,” said Dave McCann, president of IBM Canada. “IBM has a long and established presence in the province and we are excited to expand our capability in Calgary in support of our clients in Western Canada.”

At the same time, the ambitious hiring goals have led to concerns locally about an already tight talent market. Calgary has seen an influx of international companies turning to its market for tech talent in recent years, including Mphasis and Infosys – both of which have plans to hire thousands.

The Calgary innovation centre extends IBM’s existing presence in the city. In 2016, IBM partnered with the University of Calgary to accelerate genomic research in common childhood conditions such as autism and congenital diseases, and in 2017 teamed up with the University of Alberta researchers to publish a study describing how the teams used AI and machine learning algorithms to predict instances of schizophrenia with 74 percent accuracy.

In addition to the new CIC in Calgary, IBM’s network of Canadian innovation centres also includes locations in Halifax and Montréal.

IBM opened its Halifax CIC in 2013, and recently expanded to hire 350 more employees over the next five years. IBM’s CIC in Montréal was established in 2016 with the promise to create up to 500 jobs within five years.

Featured image from IBM Canada.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and a staff writer for BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter @charlizealcaraz

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