Tessa Bousfield posted an articleThe Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine program, also known as DER3 launches today. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
A built-on-the-Island program designed to help companies transition to the digital economy or expand their digital footprint is about to spread across the province and allow some Island tech firms to flex a bit of their muscle.
The Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine program, also known as DER3, developed by the Innovation Island Technology Association in Nanaimo, will be offered in regions throughout B.C. starting Monday.
The program, which has been operating out of Nanaimo since April, offers one-to-one business and technical expertise for companies hoping to improve their digital capacity and give them the tools they need to respond to the current pandemic and expand to new markets.
Graham Truax, executive director of Innovation Island, said the program has been a boon for some businesses in the mid- and north-Island, and they are optimistic it will see the same kind of adoption as it is unveiled around the province.
Truax said Innovation Island has worked with nearly 400 companies of all sizes, from all sectors and with varying degrees of digital literacy.
“This program covers everything from the absolute basics to stuff on the cutting edge, based on where a company is at,” he said, noting they have linked companies with no web presence to experts that have guided them into the global marketplace, and at the same time helped established technology firms pivot when their markets disappeared during the pandemic.
The expanded program, funded out of a $2.95-million infusion from Western Economic Diversification, is also expected to be a shot in the arm for local tech companies and the regional technology associations that will administer the program.
“For us, it’s a nice little stretch from having a mandate of helping technology companies thrive and succeed to helping main street adapt,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC). “We happen to know a lot of people with the skills and resources that would be helpful to main street. The goal is to provide support and resources to help more typical companies and businesses to adapt their models and approach to the realities of the pandemic.
“And it’s probable it will mean improvement for them beyond the pandemic.”
Truax said he has seen some success stories already out of the mid-Island, with old-school companies now finding strong sales online with an improved online presence and enhanced digital marketing.
“Some of them have wondered why they didn’t do it 20 years ago,” he said.
Gunn said he’s not sure what the uptake will be like in Victoria, but he said VIATEC has a target of working with at least 180 companies to start.
“I don’t think there’s any question there are more than 180 businesses that can benefit from experienced advice from subject-matter experts to help them move their business forward utilizing more digital tools and approaches,” he said. “The real key will be how many will want to and take the time and do the work to make the change.”
Paula Parker posted an articleBC's tech companies pivot, collaborate, and innovate to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. see more
Source: BC Business
Author: Raghwa Goptal
Across Canada, our approach to flattening the curve has been a communal effort between our governments, communities, and private sector. And these efforts have been enhanced and accelerated by our country’s world-renowned tech sector.
In B.C. specifically, we’re seeing our tech companies pivot, collaborate, and innovate to provide hands-on support to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. The most prominent example is AbCellera, who secured a whopping $175M investment from the federal government to identify antibodies that could be used to create a treatment for COVID-19. The B.C.-based Digital Technology Supercluster has also stepped up to the plate, funding several local projects through their COVID-19 Program.
But as we expand our scope outside the Lower Mainland, it becomes clear that our province’s COVID-19 relief efforts have received a significant boost from all of our regional tech communities, most notably in Vancouver Island.
Victoria’s tech sector, which accounts for $5.22B in economic impact for the region, represents one of the country’s fastest growing tech hubs. Since this pandemic began to take hold in early March, some of the city’s top tech companies have quickly mobilized to provide direct support to hospitals, governments, and Canadians across the country.
StarFish Medical, Canada’s largest medical-device design company, is working with the Federal Government to manufacture 30,000 ventilators in an effort to curb expected medical device shortages across the country. Fellow Victoria medtech standout, Telmediq, is leveraging their extensive reach across North America to give healthcare systems complimentary access to their software to provide distance support for patients and families dealing with COVID-19. And not to be outdone, one of Victoria oldest tech firms, ImmunoPrecise Antibodies, is working with the World Health Organization to develop coronavirus vaccines.
Dan Gunn, the CEO of Innovate BC-funded VIATEC, notes that while some of the city’s biggest companies have tackled the pandemic head on, the entire Victoria tech sector has come together to share resources and experiences to help their peers navigate the changing landscape.
“While our community has been apart physically, we have never seen it come together more in spirit,” says Gunn. “A sense of community is always important but during a crisis the value of coming together is even more tangible and appreciated."
Tessa Bousfield posted an articleRedbrick’s annual revenue run rate increased to an impressive $80M in 2020 see more
It takes more than an idea to build a successful company. It takes leadership, a mix of resources, investment capital, and most importantly, people. Victoria’s Redbrick serves as a great example. In 2011, the company started out as an intimate, red-brick office of software developers — and has since grown into a global portfolio of disruptive tech-first companies that are engaging audiences around the world.
What do they do exactly? The innovators and investors at Redbrick acquire products that they scale into disruptive digital companies. One of these products is Leadpages, which Redbrick acquired this past March. It’s a no-code website builder enabling entrepreneurs and small-business marketers to easily build and publish websites. As a result of the acquisition, Redbrick’s annual revenue run rate increased to an impressive $80M in 2020.
To accelerate the company’s growth and with $24,300 in support from Innovate BC’s Tech Co-op Grants Program, Redbrick has hired nine co-op students over the past two years. Innovate BC talked to Isla Swanwick, Redbrick’s People Operations Coordinator, to learn more about their company and find out about their experience working with co-op students.