From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, technology is all around us.
The simple things we take for granted – our smartphones, our favourite apps, the purified water we drink, the medical images that keep us attuned to our health – demonstrate the significance of technology in our lives. Each one of these tech innovations started with a spark – an idea that gradually took shape thanks to people who believed in it; people who recognized the value of investing in a product or service and the talent behind it.
British Columbia’s tech sector is thriving, but to take it to the next level, we have worked with the sector over the past year to determine what is required to to ensure continued growth, investment, career opportunities and a more diversified economy.
On Jan. 18, 2016, Premier Christy Clark unveiled government’s multi-year #BCTECH Strategy at the inaugural #BCTECH Summit, an event which brought together more than 3,600 participants including business leaders, tech companies, entrepreneurs, investors, academics, 600 students and more than 1,250 webcast connections from around the province (often with multiple viewers).
During the summit, B.C.’s tech companies pitched innovations to more than 150 international and local investors, and more than 250 business-to-business meetings occurred involving B.C.’s tech companies with potential clients. It’s the basis of those discussions, that we fully anticipate relationships and business partnerships will evolve.
The B.C. tech sector offers endless opportunity for innovation. From the Reveal wearable sensor, developed at UBC, that could help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to the Victoria Hand Project, which combines 3D printing technology with clinical expertise to create 3D printed prosthetic hands that can be fitted at a distance and are a fraction of the cost of conventional prosthetics – B.C. tech companies are developing ideas that are changing lives.
The strategy represents our vision for British Columbia’s tech sector in every region of the province. It represents the investments we are committed to making in the economy and in our youth – and is comprised of three pillars: improving access to capital, deepening the talent pool and opening access to markets overseas and here at home.
We will prepare our young people for the future and give them the tools they need to succeed in the marketplace by giving every child from kindergarten to Grade 9 and beyond, the opportunity to learn coding. New standards in math and science, along with a new and redesigned applied design, skills and technologies (ADST) curriculum also will help students develop the problem-solving and creative-thinking skills they will need for success in B.C.’s tech sector.
A $100-million BC Tech Fund will help promising tech companies to access the capital funding they will need to develop their products and ideas right here in B.C.
We will assist the tech sector to access new markets by making it easier to sell to government and facilitate business growth through exports. These actions will pave the way for ambitious tech entrepreneurs to create successful ventures and reach local and international customers.
Today in B.C. there are over 86,000 jobs in the tech sector – 120,000 when you take all associated administrative positions into account – and these are jobs that pay 60% higher than the average wage. The #BCTECH Strategy aims to build on this number with new investment, new opportunities and career paths for future generations.
Our goal is to ensure British Columbians have every opportunity to forge a career in this sector – but where our talent pool is tapped, companies need to be able to access talent from other parts of Canada and around the globe.
The #BCTECH Strategy reflects the spirit of collaboration between government and our tech industry – and a common vision. And it signifies how the continued growth of this sector is integral to diversifying our economy, strengthening our business landscape and creating jobs in communities throughout the Province.