Today the Province of British Columbia announced the B.C. Startup in Residence Pilot Program, that will enable companies to work within government to deliver innovative solutions to digital challenges.
The pilot program is a made-in-B.C. model designed after a successful program run by the City of San Francisco. Companies, including tech startups, can compete for the opportunity to work within a government department where they identify and rapidly deliver a digital solution that enhances services for British Columbians.
Both startups and government will receive significant benefits through this new partnership. Startups will gain valuable experience by working with government over a 16-week residency as they develop a prototype responding to the digital challenge. In addition, startups will receive the benefit of using government as a reference client and will retain the right to market and sell any prototype they develop to other clients either in B.C. or worldwide. Government will also benefit by having the opportunity to work side-by-side with innovative startups and by receiving a co-designed digital solution at an affordable price.
A call for proposals to help with 10 digital challenges was released on March 14 on BC Bid, and closes in early April. Successful proponents will sign contracts in late June, with a residency period running from June through October and final prototypes presented in November.
The Province is always assessing new ways to make it easier to do business with government while at the same time finding new, digital means to deliver services to citizens. As well, the Province sees the benefit of having innovative thinkers from the technology sector help solve the digital challenges of today.
The B.C. Startup in Residence Program is another example of government responding to the technology sector and working with them to help grow B.C. businesses and create more jobs. The pilot supports the #BCTECH Strategy by helping tech companies find a potential first customer in the government, a relationship that can be referenced by the company as it enters the market.
The #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse innovation economy. The multi-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development and market access for tech companies that will drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour—
“The B.C. Startup in Residence pilot program is great example of how innovation is opening the door for new opportunities. Through this pilot, the Province is levelling the playing field, giving startups a chance to grow, while also innovating how citizens are served. The Startup in Residence program has been successful in other jurisdictions, and we want this made-in-B.C. model to be mutually beneficial for both technology companies and government so we can continue to grow our technology sector in the province.”
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services—
“The Province of British Columbia is always looking at ways we can improve the way we operate and deliver government services. This new pilot program is another example where we are thinking outside the box in order to address specific targeted areas. I would encourage startups to review the call for proposals on the BC Bid website and apply, and I look forward to our continued work in supporting a strong technology sector in B.C.”
Dan Gunn, executive director, Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC)—
“At VIATEC, we are very excited about the opportunities the STIR program will create for innovative technology companies to make a difference by solving specialized problems, while building relationships with government. It is these sorts of programs and initiatives that demonstrate there is sincere interest in finding different ways of building innovative solutions.”
- The technology sector directly employs more than 100,000 people, and wages for those jobs are 75% higher than those of the average B.C. worker.
- Technology employees earned $1,590 per week, compared to $910 per week for the average B.C. worker. This is also higher than the Canadian average for technology workers, at $1,480.
- In 2013, the technology sector added $13.9 billion to B.C.’s GDP.
- The gross domestic product of B.C.’s tech sector expanded 2.4% in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output.
- New technology companies are developing; in 2015, there was a 1.9% rise in their numbers, for a total of 9,905.
#BCTech Strategy: https://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/
BC Innovation Council: http://bcic.ca
For more information, please visit BC Bid at: www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca