An entrepreneurial program launched by the BC Innovation Council to help British Columbians transform their ideas into successful businesses is helping drive B.C.’s growing tech sector.
Over the past five years, the Venture Acceleration Program has created 1,640 jobs, attracted $196 million in investment and generated more than $81.6 million in revenues provincewide.
“B.C. boasts many innovative thinkers who are choosing our province as the place to start their technology companies,” said Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services. “The Venture Acceleration Program helps harness those ideas and bring local innovation to market more quickly, growing our tech sector and creating jobs.”
The program helps entrepreneurs bring ideas to market faster, like LlamaZOO’s revolutionary 3D veterinary training platform, EasyAnatomy.
“Participating in the Venture Acceleration Program gave us a formula and process to make sure we did the right things to validate our product, from finding and defining the customers to segmenting the market,” said Kevin Oke, LlamaZOO Interactive co-founder and vice-president of sales. “It was really instrumental to our success.”
The program also helps experienced tech developers hone their business skills and make new connections, such as AirSenze Solutions and FreshWorks Studio founders Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani who joined the program after immigrating to B.C.
“We decided to stay in Victoria and start our own mobile app development company after completing our masters of business administration at the University of Victoria,” said Samarth Mod, AirSenze CEO and co-founder. “Participating in the Venture Acceleration Program at VIATEC provided us with mentorship, helped us get office space and network. Most importantly, by attending their fireside chats and other local tech meetups, we got to know the local tech community and learn from the experience of industry veterans.”
The Venture Acceleration Program is delivered by a team of experienced professionals known as Executives in Residence, who act as mentors to help aspiring entrepreneurs bring new ideas to market more quickly, using a set of best practices for growing tech companies. Every entrepreneur in the program is assigned an Executive in Residence who becomes their primary advisor, often acting like an active member of their management team.
“In just five years, program participants have successfully generated over $81 million in revenues through locally generated ideas, products and services,” said Carl Anderson, president and CEO, BC Innovation Council. “I couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments of our entrepreneurs provincewide, which I’ve witnessed first-hand when I was an Executive in Residence for BC Innovation Council’s Venture Acceleration Program.”
The BC Innovation Council established the program with Accelerate Okanagan and Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC), to assist small tech companies, which make up the majority of B.C.’s tech sector, develop growth opportunities.
“Programs like Venture Acceleration are incredibly important to B.C.’s growing small business sector because they allow entrepreneurs and start-ups to hone their skills and grow,” said Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “With the majority of the high-tech industry made up of small businesses, it’s essential to have the right support to help them achieve their goals.”
The Venture Acceleration Program supports the #BCTECH Strategy by helping B.C. tech companies develop revenue growth opportunities.
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.
In partnership with its Crown agency, the BC Innovation Council, the Province continues to drive tech through B.C.’s second #BCTECH Summit, March 14-15, 2017, with made-in-B.C. tech innovations, thought-provoking keynotes and networking opportunities. To register or learn more, go to: http://bctechsummit.ca
- As of February 2017, the Venture Acceleration Program has trained more than 995 entrepreneurs from over 589 companies.
- The program is supported by the BC Acceleration Network, which is made up of 14 partners in nine regions throughout B.C. including:
- Accelerate Okanagan Technology Association (Kelowna)
- Bioenterprise (provincewide)
- Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association (Smithers)
- entrepreneurship@UBC (Vancouver)
- Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre (Surrey)
- Innovation Central Society (Prince George)
- Innovation Island Technology Association (Nanaimo)
- Kamloops Innovation
- Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (Rossland)
- New Ventures BC (provincewide)
- Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech (Mission)
- VentureLabs (Vancouver)
- Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council
- Wavefront (Vancouver)
- 95% of B.C. tech firms are small businesses, with most employing fewer than four employees.
BC Innovation Council: http://bcic.ca/
Venture Acceleration Program: http://bcic.ca/for-entrepreneurs/vap/
#BCTECH Strategy: http://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/
LlamaZOO Interactive: http://www.llamazoo.com/
AirSenze Solutions: https://www.airsenze.com/