The #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan – and key to building a competitive, diversified, export-oriented economy.
The #BCTECH Strategy is a multi-year strategy that will support growth in B.C.’s vibrant technology sector, and strengthen B.C.’s diverse innovation economy.
It focuses on four key pillars: access to capital for promising companies, talent development, market access and data innovation.
- Government’s $100-million BC Tech Fund, and is managed locally by Kensington Capital Partners, has invested in three companies; Mojiio, Vanedge Capital and Lumira Capital.
- The Small Business Venture Capital Act provides a 30% tax credit to eligible B.C. investors who invest directly into companies or indirectly through venture capital investment funds. The program supports up to $128.3 million annually in local investments.
- Budget 2016 included a $5-million tax credit increase to the Small Business Venture Capital Act for a total of $35 million. This increases the total amount of equity that can be raised annually from $110 million to $116.6 million.
- Budget 2017 committed to a series of enhanced tax credits, specifically targeted to grow the tech sector and B.C. businesses:
- Cut the small business corporate income tax rate to 2% from 2.5%.
- Increase the annual Small Business Venture Capital tax credit budget by $3.5 million, for a new total of $38.5 million in 2017.
- Expand the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) to include augmented reality and virtual reality products designed to entertain and work with B.C.’s technology industry to ensure that the IDMTC is available to commercial augmented reality and virtual reality opportunities as well.
- Adjust the principal business requirement for the IDMTC to allow corporations with annual qualifying BC labour expenses greater than $2 million to claim the IDMTC.
- Allow eligible business corporations participating in the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit program to be eligible for the IDMTC as well.
- Extend scientific research and experimental development tax credit for five years to Aug. 31, 2022, to encourage research and development.
- Government is continuing to pursue federal funding under the recently-announced $950 million clusters initiative and work with B.C.’s industry leaders to develop a competitive bid.
- Since January 2016, $35.3 million has been provided through the BC Knowledge Development Fund, for a total investment of more than $610 million in research and innovation since 2001.
- Government has provided approximately $450 million to the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, helping to attract and retain some of B.C.’s brightest emerging health researchers.
- The province has provided $241.5 million, including $20 million announced in March 2017, to Genome BC to support the future of health tech in B.C. through an innovative new program intended to advance growth-stage health tech and life sciences companies.
- B.C. will increase the number of technology grads by 1,000 per year by 2022 in regions throughout the province.
- Government has committed to doubling post-secondary tech degree program co-op placements to over 1,400 students annually, and to expanding the Mitacs student research program by two-thirds to over 800 internships annually.
- Government is also investing approximately $400 million over the next two years in tech and life science post-secondary capital projects, including $133 million from the Province:
- SFU: $126 million for a new energy systems engineering building in Surrey, including $45 million from the Province.
- Camosun College: $48.5 million for a new health sciences building at the Interurban campus, including $31 million from the Province.
- NVIT: $8.9 million for a new Centre of Excellence in Sustainability in Merritt, including $2 million from the Province.
- UBC Vancouver: $80 million for new undergraduate life sciences laboratories, including $11.8 million from the Province.
- UBC Okanagan: $40.65 million for a new teaching and learning centre in addition to a number of infrastructure upgrades, including $11.34 from the Province.
- RRU: $21.5 million for a new Centre for Environmental Science and International Partnership, including $5.7 million from the Province.
- TRU: $30 million for a new Industrial Training and Technology Centre in Kamloops, including $7.03 million from the Province.
- UNBC: $4.5 million for a new Wood Innovation Research Lab, including $2.62 million from the Province.
- VIU: $39.9 million for a new health and science centre in Nanaimo, including $16.5 million from the Province.
- Funding has been provided for 10 sites of coding academies at 10 post-secondary institutions.
- The Province is investing $6 million to support coding and the new curriculum. This includes training teachers and helping buy computers so coding and the new curriculum are a success.
- Some school districts are already offering coding courses this school year, and beginning in 2018/19, every student in B.C. will take a coding module or course between grades 6 and 9.
- The Province demonstrated its commitment to STEM by launching new Science, Mathematics, and Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies curricula for grades K-9, with embedded creative thinking competency, in September 2016.
- Students completing programs related to the technology sector are now eligible for B.C. Completion Grants for Graduates.
- The Canada-BC Job Grant invested over $1.8 million with tech sector employers last year, and another $1 million has been made available in 2017-2018 under the CJG Priority Sectors Stream.
- Government allocated up to $4.5 million in Canada-BC Job Grant (CJG) funding over five years under the Priority Sector Stream to support employers and organizations in the tech sector to provide skills training to their employees.
- Since the Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched two years ago, 25% of post-secondary operating grants targeting high-demand occupations has resulted in more than 1,000 Full Time Equivalent (FTEs) student spaces aligned with tech occupations to date; additional FTEs are targeted in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
- UBC president, Prof. Santa Ono has been appointed chief advisor of a new Innovation Network to foster greater collaboration between public post-secondary institutions and innovation-driven industries.
- Government is creating a new B.C. Science and Technology Research Chairs program to support leading researchers and their teams of graduate students in work relevant to the technology and the life sciences sub-sector.
- Work is underway to enhance specialized and targeted tech skills-training programs for British Columbians who are unemployed and under-represented in the sector.
- Government is working with the First Nations Technology Council to continue their Bridging to Technology program, a comprehensive skills-development program that includes the professional development training stream for people who are already employed to empower, enhance and upskill existing skills sets as well as student training and work placement.
- The 2025 Labour Market Outlook added computer engineers and user support technicians to the Top Opportunity Occupations, and an updated profile of Science and Technology occupations has been published on: WorkBC.ca/Industry.
- Provided $600,000 to the tech sector for customized labour market information and strategies as part of the Sector Labour Market Partnership Program, which produced the 2016 TechTalentBC Report.
- Funding for a foreign qualifications recognition project resulted in Immigration Pathways to Careers in Technology (IMPACT). IMPACT helps both employers and employees maximize the potential of workers who were trained outside of Canada.
- Government invested $129,000 in the Techstart Training Program for refugees in B.C., funded under the Canada-BC Job Grant program, to train 13 refugees for jobs in the tech sector.
- Streamlined the Provincial Nominee Program application assessment, B.C.’s only direct immigrant selection tool to attract global talent, and introduced an online registration and application system. As a result, processing times for applications in the Skills Immigration stream now take only two to three months – a considerable improvement and among the best in the country.
- Government will continue to work with the federal government on immigration processes to find innovative ways to increase the number of skilled immigrants with technology skills entering B.C.
- The March 2017 #BCTECH Summit engaged over 5,500 participants, including 1,500 youth, 250 business-to-business meetings, and connected 145 B.C. tech firms with 41 potential technology buyers and scouts from the private and public sectors.
- $40-million was added to the $10 million Connecting B.C. program to provide high-speed Internet service to British Columbians in rural and remote areas. Once connectivity projects under the current provincially-funded program have been implemented, we will have achieved 97% of our stated goal of 100% of British Columbians with access to high-speed Internet connectivity.
- The Okanagan Centre for Innovation has opened to support tech entrepreneurs, businesses and students to develop their innovative ideas.
- Government is expanding the Export Navigator pilot from four to six rural communities to help businesses become export ready, under a $250,000 commitment in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy.
- BritishColumbia.ca, B.C.’s trade and investment website, is fully launched.
- The government is creating a Procurement Concierge Service to act as a matchmaker between government’s needs and tech companies’ solutions.
- A new Innovative Ideas Fund is being established to encourage the purchase of innovative technology products.
- A “Startup in Residence” program is being piloted to provide a platform for small companies to work with government to test and co-develop solutions to public-sector challenges.
- A rural representative is being appointed to the BC Innovation Council, to support regional innovation with actions such as matching local challenges with home-grown solutions and showcasing regional innovations and opportunities.
- The Province is increasing its trade presence on the U.S. West Coast, opening new trade and investment offices in Seattle and Silicon Valley to attract investment to B.C. and help B.C. companies connect with venture capitalists, skilled tech workers, strategic partners and investors, and new customers.
- The government is continuing to work with Washington State on the Cascadia Corridor to create regional economic opportunities for innovation in the tech sector.
- Supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, the BC Innovation Council started BioEnterprise, an agri-tech accelerator to fuel the growth of agribusinesses.
- The Province’s investment will reach up to $52 million in a home health monitoring partnership that improves access for British Columbians with complex care needs to their health-care providers by using technology to help manage their health conditions.
- The Ministry of Health commissioned a consultation with the Life Sciences Sector to better understand opportunities for health sector and life sciences collaboration.
- The use of short form RFPs over standard length RFP’s has increased – from 23% in fiscal year 2015 to 30% in fiscal year 2016.
- Create a Centre for Data-Driven Innovation in B.C., a trusted and secure platform to make new discoveries with government data, support better public policy, and transform and personalize government services for all British Columbians.
#BCTECH Strategy Update: https://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/bctech-progress/