Accelerator Program

  • Sadie Evans posted an article
    VIATEC and partners to launch an accelerator program for women entrepreneurs in tech see more

    VICTORIA, BC (December 12, 2019) - VIATEC is honoured to announce that it has, with partners, secured a $475,000 CAD investment from the Digital Technology Supercluster to pilot a Women’s Entrepreneurship Program.

    The Women’s Entrepreneurship Program will be a dedicated set of three accelerator cohorts created by women, for women, to increase the support for and the presence of women founders in the rapidly growing tech-sector. The program intends to strengthen the capacity of organizations elevating women entrepreneurs by ensuring they have the business support they need to start or grow a business. 

    This collaborative project including Accelerate Okanagan, UVic’s Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre, Purpose Five, and CDMN/Communitech, will see three cohorts of women entrepreneurs created; one in Kelowna and two in Victoria. If successful, this pilot project has the potential to evolve into a nation-wide offering. 

    "Typically, 10% or less of tech companies have a female founder. This pilot project is aimed directly at empowering women to build a program that works for them,” said VIATEC’s CEO, Dan Gunn. “It’s important that any program feels welcoming and supportive to entrepreneurs considering participating. It’s also vital that the participants feel a sense of belonging and identify with others in the program through shared perspectives. Most accelerator programs were developed by men and we’ve learned that those programs aren’t always the right fit for women entrepreneurs. We’re proud that we have been able to bring together this group of experienced partners with the funding needed to empower some of the trailblazing women in our communities to build a program that will better serve and support current and future women founders in tech.”

    The VIATEC cohort will be helmed by Shelley Voyer as Program Manager. Voyer, currently an Executive in Residence for VIATEC’s Accelerator Program, will take on the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. 

    Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed the unique challenges women in business face - especially when launching and scaling their own company. I felt this first hand when I launched my tech start-up”, said Voyer. “While the rigours of growing a successful business aren’t unique to women, the support they need is. I’m thrilled to be a part of this essential initiative to provide an environment where women can thrive and ultimately strengthen our community for everyone.”

    "Tech has been the #1 industry in our region for over a decade and it’s well on its way to $10 billion in annual revenues,” continued Gunn. “However, there is plenty of evidence that women continue to be underrepresented in the sector and leadership roles in particular. In order for our companies and communities to reach their full potential, we need to take steps to engage, involve and empower more women which will both make our companies stronger and also help address the talent crunch. Supporting women to build an accelerator program that works for them is a step in that direction and I expect that not only will this assist women entrepreneurs, but it will help evolve accelerator models in general."

    The Women’s Entrepreneurship Program aligns with VIATEC’s values and current focus on developing new projects, programs, and partnerships aimed at supporting existing and future women leaders in the Greater Victoria tech sector. This project announcement comes on the heels of the VIATEC Foundation’s donation of $30,000 in funding towards the Gender Equity Fund and VIATEC’s sponsorship of HR Tech Group’s Diversity & Inclusion Tech Project.


    About VIATEC
    VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Technology is Victoria's #1 industry with a $4.06 Billion Annual Revenue, a $5.22 Billion Economic Impact and over 16,775 employees across 995 high-tech companies - and growing!)

     

    About Digital Technology Supercluster

    The Digital Technology Supercluster consortium, led by Founding Members MDA, Microsoft, Telus and global leaders such as D-Wave Systems, LifeLabs, MDA, Teck Resources Limited, and TimberWest, and in collaboration with BC’s leading post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations including Accelerate Okanagan, British Columbia Institute of Technology, BC Tech Association, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), and other Members including Finger Food Advanced Technology Group, LlamaZOO, and Terramera. (a full list of Members can be found here) aims to position Canada as a global leader in digital technologies and solve industry’s and society’s most challenging problems. The Supercluster co-invests in ambitious technology solutions to improve sustainability and competitiveness of our natural resources, healthcare and industrial sectors and energize the economy. By leveraging the strengths and diversity of small and large companies, research organizations and government agencies, our approach aims to deliver an impact with the speed and magnitude that no single organization could achieve on its own. The Supercluster manages the investments provided by the Government of Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative and the public and private organizations which constitute its membership.  www.digitalsupercluster.ca.  

     

    About the Capacity Building Program

    The Capacity Building Program aims to develop a diverse pool of digital talent to ensure we have a workforce prepared for the jobs of tomorrow with a focus on improving the inclusion and participation of under-represented groups, including Indigenous Peoples and women.
     

    For media inquiries related to VIATEC


    Sadie Evans
    Marketing & Communications Manager
    VIATEC
    sevans@viatec.ca

     

    For media inquiries related to the Digital Technology Supercluster


    Kathleen Reid

    Switchboard Public Relations

    604-724-1242

    kreid@switchboardpr.com

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Is it French? Does it somehow involve weddings? Not quite. see more

    Source: Gustavson School of Business
    Author: Eve Olynyk

    I actually really struggled to write this “day in the life post,” because there are incredibly few “standard” days in my work at VIATEC!

    So to break the rules, in true VIATEC fashion, I welcome you to join me in “a week in the life” of an Engagement Concierge.

    But first, just what the heck is an Engagement Concierge anyways? Is it French? Does it somehow involve weddings? Not quite. In essence, the Engagement Concierge’s role is to make VIATEC’s Accelerator Programs (think bootcamp for tech startups) run smoothly and carry out the vision of the Program Director.

    Monday

    Mondays are almost always free from meetings, as if there is some kind of unspoken rule between the four Executives in Residence (past-CEOs of multiple successful companies who now mentor companies in the Accelerator). After our team stand-up, I’ll use this day to plan out the rest of the week’s meetings and events, and catch up with emails. If there’s time I’ll work on side projects such as redoing the Accelerator website or updating our resources folder.

    Tuesday

    Intake Presentation days mean an early 8am start. After making sure agendas are printed, the conference room is ready, and AV is working, I’ll see that the Executives in Residence (EiRs), and external mentors (CEOs, Investors, IRAP reps) are set up with coffee before welcoming the first candidate. Following a pitch and Q&A, the panel considers: whether the company is viable, the founder is coachable, and whether we have the relevant skills to truly help them. One thing I love about Intakes, or Quarterly Reviews (which follow a similar format but are used to assess the progress of companies already in the program), is our tradition of Tacofino for lunch!

    Wednesday

    Once new companies are onboarded into the program, I’ll schedule their first EiR meetings. In the afternoon I’ll head to our bunker boardrooms where existing companies and their EiRs will tackle unique issues; everything from getting their first customers, creating financial projections, preparing pitch decks for investors, and firing underperforming employees. I have never learned so much about business strategy in all my schooling combined as I do in these meetings. In addition to note-taking, I bring up relevant bits of advice from other EiRs and see if there are any good introductions we can make between companies. Startups fail notoriously frequently, but strong connections and the sharing of talent allows the community to quickly adjust.

    Thursday

    Back to back EiR meetings all day can be exhausting, but the networking events, fortside chats, or patio parties that Thursdays often bring make it all worthwhile! I’ve moved chairs from the Bengal Lounge, bartended, and even acted as a bouncer (at 5’1 this was more for show than anything). Beer is a must at VIATEC’s events, so I’ll finish off the night with a cold Phillips in my hand while watching a B2B company’s pitch or learning about a prominent local investor’s favourite spot to go running.

    Friday

    As if working at the VIATEC Awards earlier in the year wasn’t exciting enough, nothing could prepare me for the sheer joy of manning the VIATEC VIP Cabana with the rest of my team at Rock the Shores (shout out to our amazing server Erin; I don’t think I can ever wait in a food or beer lineup again). When I originally mentioned the idea as a joke to my marketing director, I never thought she would make it happen with just a few phone calls but… by the end of the weekend I was throwing several dozen whales off of a crane during Cat Empire! The crowd was screaming, the sun was setting, it was magical.

    To conclude, this all sounds pretty freaking amazing right? And it is. However, what I didn’t highlight as much are the slower days without much to do, the lack of sleep that comes with lots of evening and weekend events, or the ambiguity and confusion that comes with such a dynamic company. And here’s why: this role is utterly and completely what you make of it. Good ideas are welcomed and encouraged, and being self-directed isn’t only expected… it’s an absolute must.

    Sound like you? Then apply via LIM for Fall 2016!

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    There have certainly been a lot of firsts for Rob in the last 5 years of working with VIATEC! see more

    Source: Gustavson School of Business
    Author: Rob Bennett

    I’ve had a lot of roles over the years from co-founding Municipal Software and Datamat Services, angel investing in Teampages, Oprius and Simation, to my role as a BCIC accredited mentor and my participation in the Gustavson School of Business mentor program. The two common themes in my varied roles has been coaching and working with a wide variety of stakeholders – two things that have prepared me well for my work at VIATEC. And speaking of my work at VIATEC…

    One day, the then Chair of VIATEC, Art Aylesworth, stopped by the office and saw me hanging a disco ball from the ceiling. He asked me how I was doing. I responded, “Really well, Art”, which I think Art took as a pat response. So he pulled in closer to me and said, “Rob, no, really – how’s it going?” I said, “Art, every day I do something I’ve never done before, and will never do again!”

    Whether it’s dressing up in a foam finger at a golf tournament declaring that “Tech is #1”, or as Darth Vader welcoming guests at VIATEC’s Tech Awards and leading the World’s Largest Indoor Light Sabre Battle, or as Jolly Old St. Nick during VIATEC’s Member Christmas Party, there have certainly been a lot of firsts in the last 5 years of working with VIATEC!

    But here’s the amazing part – even the serious days are truly remarkable. I get to work with a number of very successful, insightful and generous people in our community who are interested in seeing entrepreneurs and their companies grow. Through programs like ICE at UVic, or working with the faculty and staff at the business school or the Faculty of Engineering, or our own Accelerator Programs, there are some incredible people who offer sage words of advice for entrepreneurs that are dedicated to their dreams. These people have “been there, done that;” they get involved because it is the right thing to do, and also sometimes because they’re willing to place a financial bet on the entrepreneur and their team. It’s quite humbling and mind-blowing all at the same time, and I continue to learn from these very accomplished people on a daily basis.

    And then there’s the entrepreneurs – from every walk of life. Their passion is inspirational, and the energy they put towards their ventures is awesome. These people want to change the world, and we have a community of others that wish to help them. Is there anything better than that?

    Oh yeah, one more thing that just has to be said. Events. VIATEC EVENTS. There’s a bit of a reputation that VIATEC has built over the years about having kick-ass events. From the VIATEC Technology Awards to Discover Tectoria, from multi-day events held annually like Experience Tectoria to one-evening events like the monthly VIAfest meetings, or the many festivals that we support around the community. There is always something happening – an excuse to meet people, get caught up and learn from each other. Although there is always a serious thread to every event, fun is the priority. A tremendous amount of work is done by the very accomplished team at VIATEC and our events typically go off without a hitch. To be part of Team VIATEC is an amazing experience unto itself – it’s truly remarkable what such a proficient – and prolific – team accomplishes.

    Today I’m preparing for five companies to come and interview with our crack Executive-In-Residence team to get access to our Accelerator Program. We’ve met with all five already, and I’m quite excited about what each of these companies has to offer. The mere thought that one of these companies, or one of the alumni from the program, could grow to become the next Hootsuite or Shopify makes one pause to think a bit. And to be someone that has perhaps said something or done something to help along the way makes this one of the most fulfilling roles I’ve ever had!

    Rob Bennett is the Chief Operating Officer and Program Director for VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), and it’s the best “job” he’s ever had!