Sask. tech startup reacts to Skip the Dishes controversy

Amit Gupta, CEO of Solido Design Automation, says he'd like to see startups like his own also reap the benefits of government support such as the $3 million the province approved for Skip the Dishes.

CEO of Solido Design Automation says he'd like to see other start-ups also receive government support

The staff at Solido Design Automation in front of their Saskatoon office. (Photo courtesy Solido Design Automation)

When Amit Gupta heard the news of Skip The Dishes, a food delivery business, receiving a $3 million provincial government subsidy to create 300 jobs, he hoped it was the start of something bigger. But that hope soon turned to frustration.

Gupta is the CEO of Solido Design Automation, a software-technology company in Saskatoon.

"I think it's good the government is investing, but I hope the government extends the program to other technology companies in the province."

However, it appears this subsidy will be a one-time occurrence. 

Premier Brad Wall says the government simply cannot afford to offer the same deal for other businesses because of budget constraints.

That is frustrating to Gupta.

"If you look at modern economies that are growing quickly, whether that be in Canada or the U.S. or around the world, technology is an important component of those economies. Being able to make Saskatchewan more of a technology hub, I think, would be a smart move."

Government investments important to startups, says Gupta

Solido Design Automation currently has 50 employees and plans to double that number over the next few years.

Where government investment can really help, Gupta explains, is how quickly a company can grow.

"We're established. We're profitable. We're reinvesting those profits into hiring people and adding more investment would allow us to speed that rate of acceleration."

Gupta says the importance of government assistance becomes vital if the company is just starting out.

"For other companies that are earlier stage and maybe just starting up, having the provincial investment is the difference between getting started and not getting started," said Gupta.