Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, has announced the membership of Innovate BC’s new board of directors, to help guide and promote tech sector growth, generating good jobs in the emerging economy, increased revenue and economic development all around British Columbia.
Ralston made the announcement at the #BCTECH Summit. Innovate BC’s board of directors is the Province’s new innovation commission, and it will review current provincial technology and innovation programs, and make recommendations on how to help grow the sector provincewide.
Alan Shaver, president and vice-chancellor of Thompson Rivers University, has been appointed chair of Innovate BC, where he will help lead the Crown agency’s delivery of programs that support innovation, entrepreneurship and business development in the tech sector.
“Alan Shaver brings a wealth of leadership experience, which, combined with his background in technology and knowledge of regional B.C., makes him an outstanding choice to lead the Innovate BC board,” said Ralston. “Each member of the board brings distinctive skills that are essential to ensuring B.C. tech entrepreneurs and businesses get the necessary help to grow and create great jobs throughout the province. I’d like to recognize and thank the former BC Innovation Council board of directors for the strategic advice and direction they have provided over the years, in particular, board chair Derek Lew.”
Shaver is joined by a diverse team of 11 directors and one ex-officio member, with backgrounds in regional economic development, research and innovation, academia and entrepreneurship. Board members bring a broad range of expertise, including life sciences, software development and applications of clean tech in B.C.’s traditional resource industries.
“Promoting innovative ideas and practices will improve the quality of life for the people of B.C., and promote sustainable economic development,” said Shaver. “This requires investment in people, our most valuable assets, and partnerships between communities, governments, industry, business, NGOs and academic institutions. I look forward to serving the people of B.C. as chair of the board of Innovate BC.”
The innovation commission is a component of the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the B.C. Green Party caucus. Recognizing its potential to boost B.C. tech, the provincial government has adopted the concept as part of its efforts to help B.C. innovators thrive and build a strong, sustainable economy for everyone.
“With a highly qualified board in place, Innovate BC is ready to help entrepreneurs take full advantage of the economic opportunities ahead,” said B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver. “This key B.C. Green platform commitment was developed through consultation with tech sector leaders. I am proud that our caucus has contributed this idea to support them as they drive B.C.'s economy across all sectors, and in every region of our province.”
Innovate BC was created in March 2018 following the passing of the British Columbia Innovation Council Amendment Act, which expanded the mandate of the BC Innovation Council, and renamed it Innovate BC.
“Technology is everywhere, in every industry, and is enhancing lives in every corner of B.C. So, I am pleased to begin work with this dynamic group, which is made up of leaders from around the entire province,” said Shirley Vickers, president and CEO, Innovate BC. “I’m looking forward to leveraging their leadership and insights to help grow B.C.’s dynamic technology sector, which is powering innovation, creating jobs and growing our economy.”
In collaboration with the Innovate BC board, the B.C. government will work with industry stakeholders to review programs that support the tech and innovation sector provincewide. The Crown agency will also provide tech entrepreneurs with tools, resources and expert guidance, and support Indigenous entrepreneurship.
- Innovate BC will absorb all the programs and services currently delivered by the BC Innovation Council, in addition to expanding its mandate with a broader range of support and responsibilities.
- Innovate BC will provide a single point of contact for B.C. entrepreneurs looking for business development support at all stages of company growth — whether they are new startups, or long-established firms.
- In February 2018, Alan Winter was appointed B.C.'s first innovation commissioner as an advocate for the tech and innovation sector in Ottawa, the Cascadia Innovation Corridor and abroad.
- Innovate BC and the innovation commissioner are separate entities, but they will work together closely to ensure alignment of efforts.
Innovate BC: https://bcic.ca
B.C. innovation commissioner: https://news.gov.bc.ca/16319
#BCTECH Summit: https://bctechsummit.ca
A backgrounder follows.