Image Source: rhrh Entrepreneurial Edmonton, AB is now exporting more than energy, and is likely to see its startup activity have an incredibly positive effect on local commercial real estate in 2014. The forecast from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is for the Canadian economy to grow 2.2% in 2014, beating last year's 1.7%, and staying on track for 2015 goals. Last year we saw many Canadians being lifted to various important financial lists. One young Toronto entrepreneur just made Forbes' ✰ under 30' list after selling his music startup for seven figures in the U.S. Then we have Second Cup exploding in growth, taking on a top executive from Starbucks and expanding internationally with locations in high end retail spots in the U.S. However, Edmonton continues to emerge as not only the entrepreneurial powerhouse of Alberta, and Canada, but is making waves at least throughout North America. This is clearly marked by Edmonton firm FireText handling technology for Super Bowl XLVIII, putting the city firmly on the radar for tech giants and venture capital. The recent holiday damping effect on office markets doesn't even have Albertans down. Some have raised concern that office markets in Calgary and Edmonton are becoming more balanced. A new February 2014 Canadian Market Outlook Report paints a bullish year ahead, despite new space coming onto the market. According to the Edmonton Journal, an apartment building boom is expected to add 5k desperately needed units, though the CMHC predicts net migration into Albert to top 68k in 2014. We are now exporting far more than energy and the army of local startups growing up in Edmonton will fill office space and is likely to draw even more hopeful entrepreneurs and businesses to the area. However, those looking for commercial real estate investments in Canada could find retail, and specifically local shopping centers remain the sweet spot for 2014 and 2015. As startups mature, retail will enjoy a boost from both ends; need for space increasing and consumer shopping. This is in addition to more coming in to spend as the city's reputation gets taken seriously, and soon they won't be able to afford not to come. This means rising rents, rising occupancy rates, rising spreads, and values for retail property investors. As the positive economic ripple makes its way around the globe, we'll see these trends continue, increasing total returns for those in earliest.