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Scale Your Company Faster With Communitech Outposts

The Communitech Outposts program has come at just the right time. With remote work, not to mention familiarization with remote work, growing, the Outposts program offers an easy way for companies in Canada to hire internationally and scale faster.

We spoke with the Head of Communitech Outposts, Azhar Janjua, to learn more about the program and which companies might benefit from it (spoiler alert: all of them!). Follow along our conversation to see if the Communitech Outposts program is right for your company.

Let’s start with a bit about Communitech. What is Communitech and what’s its mission?

Communitech was founded in 1997 to help grow companies and create jobs and prosperity for Canada and is based out of the Kitchener, Waterloo region.

Our mandate simply is to help companies start, scale and succeed. We do that in a variety of ways like providing access to growth coaching, start and scale programs, pitch competitions and venture capital. We lead programs on the future of work, the future of retail and the future of X and we support multinational organizations, like Manulife and TD Bank on corporate innovation projects.

Communitech is always looking at different ways to help companies in Canada scale their particular businesses.

Interesting, so how does Communitech Outposts fit into this vision?

The Communitech Outposts program starts with the Chair of our Board Dave Caputo. Many years ago, Dave ran a company called PixStream and learned firsthand just how difficult the process to grow a company beyond Canadian borders can be. It’s costly and time consuming and filled with a number of regulatory hurdles that slow down the scaling process.

These challenges are a real problem for entrepreneurs and Canadian companies that want to grow and get into new markets quickly in order to gain an advantage. So, Dave presented this need to Communitech and in September 2019, the Communitech Outposts program launched.

The Outposts program makes it easier for Canadian companies to hire talent anywhere in the world and ease international expansion. We provide an employer-of-record service with a network of entities that any company can tap into and as of November 2020, Outposts is available in over 160 countries.

Cool! What are these barriers to international recruiting you speak of?

Basically, time and money.

Initiating the international hiring process and creating an infrastructure as an individual company can take months, like a good six to eight months, to get everything organized and can easily cost up to $60,000 to set up right, not including your employee costs.

That’s a lot of time and money!

Yes! Fun fact: at a previous job, it once took me one and a half years to set up a bank account in the United Arab Emirates. These are the types of barriers the Outposts program will alleviate. No foreign bank account needed!

We know the different employment policies, procedures and requirements in foreign countries and have expert human resources as well as legal support available to navigate them, cutting recruiting time from months to weeks and bringing recruiting costs way down.

Our team also works with companies to ensure they understand key industry sector compliance requirements that might affect your business.

This all sounds really great! What type of company would benefit from this program?

Pretty much any company in Canada that wants to put boots on the ground outside of Canada will benefit. We’re a national program that can help any company in any vertical, from a startup to an established organization, find the best person for the job to help grow and scale faster.

Okay, let’s break it down: how does Communitech Outposts work exactly?

It’s as simple as a company can register for the program, make their hire and Communitech will take care of the rest.

For example, a company can call me and say they want to put somebody in Tokyo, Boston and London and we can make that happen. Talent acquisition is always in the hands of the company; we step in to simplify and complete the international hiring process. We compliantly hire the employee through our network of global entities while handling all foreign filings and year-end requirements — substantially mitigating the cost and risk to your business.

We also work with leading benefits providers to offer the best and most cost-effective health and extended benefits and ensure all mandatory state requirements are in place.

What’s the benefit of using Communitech Outposts to hire an employee versus say using a contractor?

It can theoretically be cheaper to go with the contractor model; however, there are a lot more risks associated with it.

For example, it puts the onus on the contractor to be compliant in the country with respect to tax filings and local remittances , which can be a hassle. If the Canadian company has too many contractors, that could trigger a CRA audit to make sure the company is compliant and not actually working with foreign employees. Misclassification can result in hefty penalties both in Canada but also where the contractor resides.

Also, here’s a big thing, you don’t know what you don’t know, which always opens companies up to risk.

The Outposts program helps minimize those risks and benefits both the company and employee by managing compliance risks and increasing awareness of the laws in the country that a company is looking to operate in.

Well, that all sounds pretty good. What are the next steps for a company interested in using the program?

Companies in Canada interested in expanding globally should reach out to us!

It’s good to have a general idea of what you need or why, but we’re pretty flexible and are here to help companies figure out the best direction for them.

Thanks Azhar!

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- March 26, 2021