Finding success stories in British Columbia during 2016 has not been difficult. The tourism sector had a banner year. B.C.’s retailers are leading the nation in sales growth. Those involved in film and production have solidified the province’s global reputation for providing the services required for major film and television productions. And B.C. continues to incubate and be a magnet for the technology industry.
This success is expected to spill over into 2017, with B.C. again expected to either lead Canada in economic growth or be right near the top.
In its 2016 British Columbia Technology Report Card, KPMG reported that B.C.’s tech sector is growing faster than the tech sectors in Canada and the United S. This growth had a direct positive effect on jobs and salaries. Total annual salaries in the tech sector have ascended to $7.6 billion and the average weekly salary for tech workers is $1,580 per week, 75% higher than the average weekly salary in B.C.
Through the #BCTECH Strategy, which was developed in consultation with industry, the Province has placed greater post-secondary emphasis on technology and coding in the K-12 curriculum, as well as wider availability of learning and development programs such as government-funded incubators through government’s Crown agency, the BC Innovation Council, and coding academies. The provincial government is also looking at ways to streamline immigration and labour mobility, to attract talent to B.C. when local supply is tight.
The year 2017 promises to be bright for up-and-coming B.C. tech companies seeking an avenue for new capital with the launch of the $100-million BC Tech Fund, a fund of funds that makes direct co-investments into B.C. companies and into B.C.-based venture capital funds. Kensington Capital Partners was chosen as the BC Tech Fund manager and has made investments in tech company Mojio and venture capital firm Vanedge Capital. These A-round investments will help B.C.'s venture capital system grow and in turn, spur on the creation of high-paying jobs and increase the strength of the province’s technology sector.
Also on the horizon is March’s #BCTECH Summit, the largest technology conference in B.C. Back for its second year after 3,500 participants attended the sold out inaugural event, it will showcase B.C.’s vibrant technology industry and offer companies the chance to network with potential partners and investors while learning about next-generation innovations and ideas. Approximately 1,000 students from throughout B.C. will explore coding, careers in tech and the latest tech innovations.
With above average salaries, healthy job prospects and a growing and diverse network of innovation and talent, British Columbia has established itself as one of North America’s premier technology hubs.
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services –
“2017 promises to be another year of growth for British Columbia’s tech sector. We have the talent and the right business conditions to open doors to new opportunities for tech companies – both big and small. Their future is bright and our government is there to enable them to succeed.”
- According to BC Stats’ Profile of the British Columbia Technology Sector released in September 2016, B.C.’s technology sector grew at a rate of 3.3% in 2014, a higher rate than the 2.9% growth observed for the provincial economy as a whole.
- B.C. outperforms all other provinces in venture capital investment per capita, with $450 million invested in 2015.
- The tech sector produced approximately $25.8 billion in revenue in 2014, a rise of 4.8% from 2013.
- B.C. has seen a 3% rise in the number of new technology companies in June 2014 compared to the previous year, growing to over 9,700 businesses in 2014.
#BCTECH Summit: http://bctechsummit.ca
#BCTECH Strategy: www.bctechstrategy.ca
BC Tech Fund: http://www.kcpl.ca/bc-tech-fund