Arizona is steadily becoming a popular hub for Canadian businesses looking to expand (or sometimes relocate) their operations into the United States; over 400 Canadian-owned businesses are currently operating in the state. One of the newest additions is Nerds On Site, a Canadian IT company that launched operations in Arizona earlier this year.
Based out of Ontario, Canada, Nerds On Site provides IT services to SMEs (small and midsize enterprises) in markets across the globe. Arizona was the first U.S. market the company launched in; since then, Nerds On Site has also launched operations in Florida, Las Vegas and the Carolinas.
According to Dave McLurg, a shareholder with Nerds On Site and an executive lead on the company’s U.S. expansion, one of the main reasons the company expanded to Arizona is its “business-friendly” environment.
“We just think of Phoenix as being a very dynamic market here,” he said. “There’s a lot of capital being spent each day on people looking for IT services to be able to build a business, and we’re looking for some of that market share.”
McLurg said that because Arizona’s economic climate is attractive to entrepreneurs looking to start their own business, many new enterprises are developing that will have a need for IT services down the road.
“Every business now is being driven by technology, and every business is being disrupted by technology; the challenge is that the majority of businesses are not led by tech-minded individuals,” he said.
While cyberattacks on large companies often makes headlines, data suggests that small businesses may be equally vulnerable. A recent study of 500 SMEs by cybersecurity firm Keeper found that while 66% of business owners said they felt a cybersecurity attack on their small business was unlikely, in reality, 67% of SMEs experienced cyber attacks within the last year.
McLurg also said that many small businesses can’t afford to hire a full-time IT specialist, and that he thinks Nerds On Site’s business model – creating partnerships with SMEs—will resonate with Arizona’s business community.
“It’s a growth mindset here in Arizona, where people are looking for opportunities to start businesses, to grow business, to expand their business,” he said.
McLurg said that he thinks one of the reasons so many Canadian companies are expanding to Arizona is because it’s easier to do business at a larger scale here.
“In Canada… it’s just a smaller country, but also smaller economically,” he said. “The exciting thing here is that there’s just such significant opportunity in volume.”
As a dual citizen of both the United States and Canada, as well as an entrepreneur for over thirty years, McLurg said he also thinks Arizonans (and Americans in general) are more open to new types of business solutions.
“Americans are very, very open to finding ways to be able to grow,” he said. “That’s why we wanted to launch here — business is growing, and we’re a service that can meet the needs of growing entrepreneurial businesses here.”
In the U.S., Nerds On Site operates through a franchise model. Right now, the company operates six franchises in Arizona, but McLurg says that number could potentially reach over 100 someday.
“I see us as a state leading a number of markets as we continue to grow,” he said. “I just really see us progressing.”