Wednesday, 23 May 2012

New Beginnings in Alberta

Quite a different view out our window than last week!  Once I got over the shock of the difference in climate (the air is so dry here), and having to put the furnace on in the house, I am quite happy to be here and be with my dogs again.  There are several great features to the house we have rented.

Across the gravel road you see here there is a crystal clear creek with a plain wood bridge across it and walking paths on either side.  We are just about at the end of the road so no traffic to speak of.   It is a five minute walk to the town centre and all manner of shopping including groceries.  I love that about Mazatlan and now Canmore.  I can't even do that in our own town of Okotoks.  And it is QUIET!

Mike is all set up with a quiet space and desk in one of the bedrooms to work in.  We did a big food shopping on Sunday and I have been COOKING all meals since then, and actually enjoying it.  After months of eating out on almost a daily basis in Mazatlan (because its inexpensive and is just such a part of the lifestyle there), I know we can't do that here - or we'd be broke!  We are also following a low-carb diet now that I have control over the food we eat - it's really not difficult for us and seems to be the only way for us to lose weight.  We have a couple of tricks up our sleeves to satisfy a sweet tooth with very few carbs too.

Mike is still working on the remote work contract for BHP Billiton and has another part-time remote contract coming up in June. Something else has transpired on the software front too.  We heard that it has been approved for another Alberta business development grant to pay for a professional marketing plan to be developed by a Calgary consultant.  We have to contribute 25% of the cost, which isn't a small chunk of change but we are going ahead.  The software application (we have more than one) that is going to be pursued is one for securely sharing and exchanging legal documents by smart phones and other electronic devices - the target market is law firms in Canada at first.  We had a market study done back in the fall/winter (also paid for with a grant from Industrial Research Assistance Program of Canada) and three markets were looked at - medical, music industry, and legal.  The research showed the strongest interest from the legal market.

Being chosen to receive this further grant lends stronger credibility in the eyes of Canadian investors.  And we'll circle back around to IRAP to apply for further grant money to help pay for further software development - meaning, paying programmers.  These kinds of things seems to be the ONLY way we will ever get launched in Canada.  This isn't silicon valley - Angels and VC's are virtually non-existent here, and those that exist are loath to part with their money and take any risk whatsoever.  So even though I really don't like working through government programs (seriously, it rankles my libertarian soul), there does not seem to be any other way - and believe me we have tried for years.

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