When Jay El-Kaake first got his startup off the ground and saw it take off, he found himself quickly in need of software developers with expertise in large platforms, e-commerce, artificial intelligence and software-as-a-service.
El-Kaake, founder and the chief executive officer of Fera.ai, was frustrated. He watched as bigger tech companies hoovered up talent. When he found potential employees in the United States, they invariably wanted way too much money.
After locating two ideal candidates, one in India, the other in Brazil, El-Kaake applied through a federal program called Global Talent Stream to bring them here. Their applications for permanent resident status and work permits were approved within three weeks.
"I absolutely love it," El-Kaake said of the program.
Fera.ai, a Kitchener company that has developed an e-commerce app that it says improves consumer engagement, is one of 45 tech companies in Waterloo Region that have used the program to fill 113 positions.
Hiring talent is one of the biggest challenges facing the region's tech sector. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 jobs available in that sector today.
"Without the Global Talent Stream program I believe Canada's innovation sector is doomed," said El-Kaake. "I really hope it continues."
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