This week, BC Stats released a progress report that shows the growing strength of British Columbia’s high technology sector. This report is a solid indication that the BC Jobs Plan is working and that British Columbia now competes with the best in the industry.
Most British Columbians are already familiar with home-grown success stories like Hootsuite, Global Relay, Mobify and Plenty of Fish. But we’re also home to companies such as D-Wave in Burnaby that may not be household names, but D-Wave is recognized by companies such as Google as a truly global leader in one of the most technologically complex fields in the world, quantum computing.
In fact, there are many local businesses drawing international attention. Seamor Marine in Nanaimo recently partnered with NASA to build underwater robots that will assist the NASA Space Program. Another example is Trulioo, a Vancouver-based company that provides social media, mobile and web identification services. While this company has a catchy name, it’s also on venture capitalist mogul David Blumberg’s radar as possibly the next Hootsuite. This company is rapidly expanding as an industry pioneer and they’re doing it right here in B.C.
The province is also attracting foreign investments in technology development centres for Star Wars productions, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Electronic Arts. The recent TED conference was hosted in Vancouver after being based in California since it first opened. The list goes on. These global powerhouses recognize the competitive advantages our province offers and are bringing their business here and putting down roots.
We know this didn’t happen overnight. It takes good people with great ideas, who are willing to develop their ideas and build companies, to get to the level of prosperity that we are seeing today.
That’s why we’re working hard to support the sector with the fuel people need to get their ideas into the marketplace. Through our support of the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), we’re providing strong support for budding local entrepreneurs who are trying to get their companies and ideas launched in a very competitive industry.
For example, BCIC’s provincewide Venture Acceleration Program provides guidance, coaching and training for early stage technology entrepreneurs and innovators. The program helps to accelerate the process of defining a business model based on best practices for starting and growing technology entrepreneurs.
Since 2011, the BCIC accelerator program has grown to 10 delivery partners throughout the province. Nearly 300 entrepreneurs have been trained, 523 jobs have been created, and $9.9 million in revenue generated by this program.
The recent tech report shows that 253 new businesses emerged in the B.C. tech sector last year. These new businesses are now working alongside industry veterans like Sierra Wireless, a global leader in wireless technology. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates is another pillar of the community and a surprising number of today’s successes can be tracked back to spinoffs from this Richmond based company that designs, builds, launches and operates satellites.
While the numbers we’re seeing are impressive, we don’t intend to rest here. We’ll continue to work with the BC Innovation Council, to find ways to continue to grow the tech sector. Building a strong tech sector means more opportunities and greater economic prosperity for British Columbians in the years to come.
Profile of the British Columbia High Technology Sector - 2013 Edition: www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/StatisticsBySubject/BusinessIndustry/HighTechnology.aspx