The British Columbia government’s Startup in Residence (STIR) program, the first of its kind in Canada, is helping local startups do business with the Province, while improving services to British Columbians.
STIR is a pilot project that has made the B.C. government a reference customer for five B.C. technology companies to test and co-develop solutions to public-sector challenges. The cutting-edge program combines innovation from tech companies with public-sector expertise, to co-develop and launch solutions during a 16-week residency that will culminate in the improvement of services delivered to British Columbians.
From providing social workers with real-time available housing options for children in need, to helping school districts analyze complex data to better understand trends and patterns that affect educational outcomes, each company is tackling a specific tech challenge identified by the Province. The first cohort of participating companies and the challenges they are solving include the following:
- Arkit is working with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNR) to modernize the way people access information about land-use planning throughout British Columbia.
- Big Bang Analytics and the Ministry of Education are helping school districts to access and analyze information more easily.
- Design + Environment and AppScoop are teaming up with FLNR to deliver digital literacy training to public servants in an interactive and memorable way.
- Latero Labs and the Ministry of Children and Family Development are creating a tool to help social workers match children in care with the best available housing options in real time.
- Purpose Five is teaming with government’s Digital Experience Division to create a tool that will intuitively track all government services and guide internal decision-making on how to best deliver them.
Modelled after a successful program in San Francisco, the pilot promotes innovative procurement in the public sector, while helping companies demonstrate their products and gain customer validation. Participating companies are gaining insight into working with government, developing their own intellectual property, and have the chance to sign multi-year contracts for future licence fees or maintenance work.
Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology –
“Through the STIR program, we’re working with companies that hire locally, and are contributing to the flourishing tech industry here in B.C. STIR is helping to ensure that we provide the best services to the people of British Columbia by becoming more efficient and allocating resources where they are needed most.”
Rick Glumac, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology –
“STIR is levelling the playing field to help smaller B.C. companies succeed and grow. It provides a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with B.C.’s tech sector to create made-in-B.C. solutions that support a stronger, faster and more cost-effective digital government to better serve the people of B.C.”
Dan Gunn, CEO, Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) –
“Although many VIATEC members are already doing business worldwide, getting the chance to collaborate with one of B.C.’s largest local customers offers up-and-coming companies an incredible learning opportunity. Two members participating in STIR are getting the chance to make a difference right here in B.C., and can then take that experience to approach other government clients around the globe.”
- The technology sector directly employs more than 100,000 people. Wages for those jobs are 75% higher than B.C.’s average.
- Employment in the tech sector rose 2.9%, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 2.5% and national tech sector employment growth of 1.1%.
- B.C. has seen a 1.9% rise in the number of new technology companies in 2015, growing to over 9,900 businesses.
- The gross domestic product (GDP) of B.C.’s tech sector expanded 2.4% in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output.
B.C. Startup in Residence program: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/business-government/startup-in-residence
Big Bang Analytics: http://www.bigbanganalytics.ca
Design + Environment: http://design-environment.com
Latero Labs: http://laterolabs.com
Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council: https://www.viatec.ca
STIR project company bios, full challenge descriptions and product vision statements are included in the attached backgrounder.