Nearly 50 tech, research and investment partners from British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest launched the Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network today, which aims to match tech startups with funding and collaboration opportunities across borders.
“B.C.’s tech sector is firing on all cylinders, with businesses and researchers increasingly looking to work together on a larger scale,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, who was in Seattle to commemorate the signing between partners. “The Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network will help B.C.’s home-grown talent connect with partners across the Pacific Northwest region to boost our economy and create new jobs here in B.C.”
The 48 signatories from B.C., Washington and Oregon convened to sign a memorandum of understanding for the network, each pledging to work collaboratively in support of entrepreneurs and researchers across the region.
The Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network is initially focusing on the information technology, life sciences and clean-tech sectors, with additional sectors to be added over time.
British Columbia’s 17 founding members include tech accelerators, incubators, universities and others that can support researchers and early-stage companies to commercialize, access resources and scale up within the Cascadia region.
“We’re incredibly excited about this partnership, which is designed to accelerate the growth of industry and innovators across the Cascadia region,” said Carl Anderson, president and CEO of the BC Innovation Council, a founding member of the network. “I’m looking forward to pushing the boundaries of innovation with our new partners, and welcoming them to our upcoming #BCTECH Summit this May 14-16, 2018.”
The Consulate General of Canada facilitated the creation of the Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network, building on the establishment of the overarching framework for engagement across the Pacific Northwest, the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, established by the Province of B.C. and Washington State.
In September 2017, a suite of new projects and programs for the Cascadia Innovation Corridor were announced, including:
- A partnership between three internationally recognized polytechnics;
- Expansion of the Global Innovation Exchange to include the University of British Columbia;
- The launch of the Seattle-Vancouver Financial Innovation Network;
- Progress on transportation connecting the Cascadia region.
In November 2017, Premier John Horgan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee reaffirmed their commitment to work together to further develop the Cascadia Innovation Corridor Initiative.
The technology sector directly employs over 106,000 people, and wages for those jobs are around 85% higher than B.C.'s average.
- B.C. has seen a 3.3% rise in the number of new technology companies in 2016, growing to over 10,200 businesses.
- Employment in the tech sector rose 4.1%, surpassing B.C.'s overall employment growth of 3% and national tech sector employment growth of 0.3%.
- B.C. tech wages and salaries hit a new all-time high for the sixth consecutive year, climbing 7.4% to just under $9.4 billion.
- The tech sector produced approximately $28.9 billion in revenue in 2016, a rise of 9.2% from 2015.
To learn more about Governor Inslee and Premier Horgan’s joint statement, please visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017PREM0121-001945
To learn more about the new Trade and Investment Representative Office in San Francisco, please visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017JTT0154-001901
To learn more about Cascadia Innovation Corridor conference, please visit: http://www.cascadiaconference.com/
To learn more about Cascadia Innovation Corridor MOU, please visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BC_WA_Innovation_MOU.pdf