Victoria tech sector aims high: $10 billion in revenues by 2030

Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy

Victoria tech sector aims high: $10 billion in revenues by 2030

Victoria’s high-flying tech sector has set a bold new goal for itself — to have its constituent firms more than double their existing combined revenue to $10 billion by 2030.

“I think it's ambitious, but entirely feasible,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, which came up with the target at its last board meeting.

“Our last revenue numbers showed revenues over $3 billion and that number is now three years old. It’s probable the tech sector’s revenue is approaching, if it hasn’t already eclipsed,

$4 billion,” he said. “So we’re talking about a little more than doubling in size in 13 years. The sector has shown it can do that.”

Gunn said what has held the city back in terms of tech growth is the same problem many tech hubs face: a lack of talent. “But as you get bigger, the gravity you create gets stronger and then you attract more of the resources you need,” he said.

The tech sector in Victoria is on its way as it has grown to include more than 880 businesses and employs more than 15,000 directly. It also counts another 3,000 consultants and 5,000 others who work in tech jobs within larger firms and government. VIATEC’s own membership has doubled to 526 members over the last two years.

Gunn said the time was right to “take a moonshot” and get to work achieving it.

“Typically, our plans have been operational and our time horizons have been short, three to five years, but we decided to look at what the tech sector might look like in 2030,” he said,

“Tech people are ambitious and competitive, and giving them something to aspire to strive for will pay dividends,” Gunn said. “It will motivate them and will change what people think is possible and what they consider successful. We didn’t do this lightly.”

To reach the goal, VIATEC believes the key is establishing anchor companies and those with the ambition and ability to grow into anchor firms.

Gunn said by focusing on companies that aspire to be $250-million to billion-dollar companies, and working on the problems that they face by tailoring programming, resources and education to them, they expect it will benefit the entire tech community. “It’s a case of a rising tide carries all boats,” he said.

The impact of the sector will be on display today at Crystal Garden when VIATEC puts on its annual Discover Tectoria showcase. It’s a day-long, behind-the-scenes look at the tech sector, featuring a trade show of local firms showing off what they do, video game lounge to test local game studios’ latest creations, start-up alley’s sneak peak into future firms, and the innovation theatre that will host a series of speakers and panel discussions.

Gunn said the event, which runs from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. is geared to demonstrating the size, diversity and impact of the sector, and a chance for people and students who want to work in tech to find out what it takes.

As many as 4,000 people will walk through the displays of more than 70 companies.