B.C. startups' ideas and expertise to improve government services

B.C. startups' ideas and expertise to improve government services

Victoria, BC (September 14, 2017) - 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.

STIR project company bios, full challenge descriptions and product vision statements are included in the attached backgrounder.


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."

Quick Facts:

* The technology sector directly employs more than 100,000 people, and 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.

Learn More:

B.C. Startup in Residence program: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/business-government/startup-in-residence

Arkit: http://www.arkit.io

Big Bang Analytics: http://www.bigbanganalytics.ca

Design + Environment: http://design-environment.com

Latero Labs: http://laterolabs.com

PurposeFive: https://purposefive.com

Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council: https://www.viatec.ca


Government Communications and Public Engagement Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
250 889-1121

Startup in Residence companies and projects

PROJECT 1 - Making it easier for citizens, academics and B.C. companies to support complex resource management decisions with detailed geospatial data

Company: Arkit

About: Established in 2011, Arkit is a Vancouver-based software provider on a mission to change how people work, communicate and share through the use of mapping technology. For many companies, managing field projects with information scattered across spreadsheets and complex systems is a challenge. Arkit solves this by combining field project management and collaboration into an intuitive, map-based software that everyone can access, contribute to and share.

Challenge statement: The Natural Resource Transformation Secretariat is looking for a way to allow spatial datasets containing detailed resource management information to be geographically viewed, queried and reported.

Product vision statement: For stewardship staff and the public who need to quickly and efficiently understand land use objectives for a defined geographic area.

PROJECT 2 - Helping school districts access and analyze information more easily

Company: Big Bang Analytics Inc. (BBA)

About: BBA was launched in Victoria in January 2017, with a single goal: help owners of big data not only access their data, but help them use it to make better-informed business decisions. All three principals look forward to growing their business based on the STIR project and offering solutions across multiple markets based on business intelligence needs.

Challenge statement: The Ministry of Education is looking for a way to provide secure data to school districts throughout B.C. as a report or raw data extract, with capacity to both extract and undertake analysis within the tool.

Product vision statement: For school district administrators who need to understand trends and patterns that impact educational outcomes.

PROJECT 3 - Teaming up to deliver digital literacy training to public servants in an interactive and memorable way

Company: Design + Environment (DE) and AppScoop

About: The BC STIR Digital Literacy Platform is a collaborative partnership for DE and App-Scoop. DE is the project and design lead and App-Scoop is the development lead.

DE is a design and environmental consultancy and technology company on a mission to "solve problems using design and environmental science" on projects ranging from environmental analysis for climate-change adaptation through to integrated cross-media design for a science centre. DE has its headquarters in Vancouver and has offices in Montreal and Vienna.

App-Scoop is a Vancouver-based development and consulting firm focused on delivering polished mobile and web solutions. The team includes highly experienced and specialized software developers who have succe ssfully delivered complex projects ranging from startup ideas to enterprise software.

Challenge statement: Natural resource-sector ministries are seeking a creative solution to help establish a common understanding of "digital literacy." The new solution would deliver a multi-media platform to create an interactive end-user experience, enabling users to self-select their curriculum and track learning outcomes on a variety of topics such as Agile and UCX.

Product vision statement: For B.C. public servants who want to understand how to apply emerging digital concepts to improve services for citizens.

PROJECT 4 - Creating a tool to help social workers match children in care with the best available housing options in real time

Company: Latero Labs Inc.

About: Latero Labs is an app/web development firm focused on creating robust technology platforms. It provides technical strategy and implementation for complex business problems. Its focus is on building software based on principles of user-centred design, high adaptability and easy maintenance.

Challenge statement: The Ministry of Children and Family Development is looking for a way to provide resource workers with real-time availability of contracted residential resources, such as beds and associated services, to ensure that when children and youth need to be in the care of the ministry, they are matched quickly and efficiently with the most appropriate resource available to meet their needs.

Product vision statement: The Placement Mapper is for social workers and service providers who need to find a safe, contracted residential home for children in care.

PROJECT 5 - Creating a tool that intuitively tracks all government services and guide internal decision-making on how to best deliver them

Company: Purpose Five

About: Purpose Five is a Victoria-based technology startup that builds innovative software, superior websites and digital marketing campaigns to accelerate online revenue growth and capture user engagement. It is committed to gender balance and promoting women to lead roles on its executive and technical teams, and is passionate about building technology that communicates well to a diverse world, using its expertise in accessibility, behavioural design and inclusive design.

Challenge statement: As a part of the work to develop a personalized digital service strategy, the Government Digital Experience Division is looking for a technology solution to provide reliable data on what services exist, how they are accessed, how they interrelate, who runs them, who they are for and how much they are used.

Product vision statement: For service providers and program owners who need to better understand the services in order to improve service outcomes for citizens. The management tool will track data from all government services, and present that information in an accessible manner that will help inform decisions on how to best deliver government programs.

Government Communications and Public Engagement Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
250 889-1121

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect