Tech Sector

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    VIATEC puts their FREE tech expo on at the Crystal Garden Feb 23, 2018 from 11am to 6pm see more


    VIATEC puts their FREE tech expo on at the Crystal Garden Feb 23, 2018 from 11am to 6pm

    Victoria, BC (February 22, 2018) - Discover Tectoria is the Island's BIGGEST Tech Expo and it’s taking over the Crystal Garden from 11am to 6pm on February 23rd. This year’s showcase features 76 booths over two floors, a great lineup of panel discussions, science demos for kids, VR experiences, a “Jam Hut”, samples from Victoria Beer Week, the Spirit of Tomorrow car and more. The expo, organized by VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council), will feature a:

    • Main floor Tradeshow
      (local companies demonstrating products, hiring talent and co-op students)

    • The Creativity Hub, sponsored by BC Public Service Agency
      (A collection of interactive tech displays, showcasing our city's most excellent creativity)

    • Startup Alley, sponsored by Work BC
      (get a sneak peek at the future of Tectoria)

    • The UVic Research District
      (see some amazing projects post-secondary students have put together)

    • The Innovation Theatre, sponsored by TD Canada Trust
      (a line-up of great talks and panel discussions - schedule TBA soon!)

    • The Combustion Chamber
      (Science Venture LIVE demos for the kids!)

    • Partner Row, sponsored by Royal Roads University
      (a group of incredibly useful organizations that serve businesses and the community).

    VIATEC is once again taking full advantage of the tri-district Pro-D Day scheduled on the same day and is encouraging parents to bring their kids to enjoy a full day of exploration.

    Youth get a glimpse into a future working in tech, post-secondary students and job seekers get to meet potential employers, local and visiting investors can check out some up-and-coming businesses, and tech companies get to showcase their products and services to thousands of attendees.

    “We created this event in 2003 to showcase the innovation taking place right here in Victoria,” explains Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “Discover Tectoria gives our local tech companies a platform where they can be seen and heard by investors, media, job seekers and youth. We are aiming to draw out 4,000 attendees, many of which will make up the leaders and vital team members of our community in the immediate and near future. There’s no better way to inspire our future tech workers than filling a space with all the opportunities, creative minds and unworldly inventions.”

    Simultaneously, VIATEC, the City of Victoria, the Capital Investment Network and NACO are hosting the Western Regional Angel Summit for a contingent of visiting angel and VC investors which kicked off on February 21 and runs until the February 23. Invitees are experiencing first-hand the city’s highly sought after quality of life, including how easy it is to travel to and from Victoria, the vibrancy of our innovative business community and the depth of our local deal flow. The trip will finish with a visit to Discover Tectoria.

    For the full Program and Exhibitor Map, click here.

    [Exhibitor Directory 2018]

    [2017 Video Recap]

    [2017 Photo Gallery]


    Dan Gunn



    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 (Victoria's biggest industry).

    We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “Victoria has a lively, robust and burgeoning tech sector,” see more

    Source: Goldstream Gazette

    Funding brings more tech spaces to UVic and Camosun

    Students can look forward to the addition of hundreds of tech-related seats in Victoria, which will provide them with the relevant education and training needed to succeed in B.C.’s rapidly growing tech sector.

    “People throughout B.C. will have increased access to good-paying jobs in the booming tech sector with our government’s investment in tech seats throughout the province,” said Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark. “Victoria is a great place to thrive in a tech career and by funding a range of engineering, computer science and information technology programs, we are opening doors for people to reach their full potential.”

    The University of Victoria will receive $400,000 in startup funding in 2017-18 to expand its undergraduate computer science and engineering degree programs. Prospective UVic students can look forward to an additional 500 undergraduate degree spaces in computer science and engineering – including electrical, computer, software, civil, mechanical and biomedical – by 2022-23. This is expected to result in 125 additional tech graduates per year by 2023.

    “UVic’s engineering and computer science programs are well known for being a destination for B.C. high school grads and college transfer students, providing a great education with lots of hands-on learning, and a pathway to personal success and good jobs upon graduation,” said Jamie Cassels, president of UVic. “Adding tech seats to the undergraduate engineering and computer science programs is a huge benefit to students from Vancouver Island and throughout B.C. A big thanks to the ministry for supporting 500 additional spaces, allowing us to increase capacity in these programs.”

    Camosun College will receive $200,000 in startup funding in 2017-18 to support increased access to technology-related certificate programs in web technologies programming and engineering graphics, to get to a total of 40 new spaces by 2019-20. With continued government funding, Camosun will produce an additional 40 graduates per year by 2020.

    “Victoria has a vibrant, rapidly growing and diverse tech sector,” said Sherri Bell, president of Camosun College. “Students will be thrilled to know that there will be more spaces in tech, so they’re able to get the tech jobs that are in high demand.”

    Of the 83,400 job openings in tech-related fields in the next decade, 10,700 will occur in the Vancouver Island/Coast region. This provides opportunities closer to home for graduates of the expanded tech programs at UVic and Camosun, should they choose to stay.

    “Victoria has a lively, robust and burgeoning tech sector,” said Dan Gunn, executive director, Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC). “Access to qualified and talented people is mission critical. Expanding tech programs at UVic and Camosun will support the rapidly growing tech sector that is helping to drive a strong 21st-century economy.”

    These spaces are part of the investment in approximately 2,900 additional seats in tech programs at colleges, universities and institutes throughout the province, announced by Mark earlier today. Total startup funding this year is $4.4 million, and is expected to increase to $42 million as programs ramp up over the next several years.

    Quick Facts:

    * About 83,400 tech-related job openings in B.C. are expected by 2027. Of those, 10,700 will be in the Vancouver Island/Coast region – jobs like computer programmers, information system analysts and software engineers.

    * The tech sector in B.C. is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the B.C. economy, generating approximately $29 billion in revenue. The tech sector supports over 106,000 good-paying jobs and is home to more than 10,200 businesses.

    * Tech-sector workers earn weekly average salaries almost 85% higher than the average wage in B.C.

    * Post-secondary institutions in B.C. award more than 10,000 credentials annually in programs that support the tech sector: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The sector is behind the times when it comes to finding a place for women in senior roles. see more

    Source: Globe and Mail
    Author: Sean Silcoff

    ‘We absolutely have a problem’: Canada’s tech sector gender gap

    Canadian technology companies may be breaking new ground as innovators, but a landmark study published on Wednesday finds the sector is behind the times when it comes to finding a place for women in senior roles.

    The survey of more than 900 Canadian tech firms found women account for just 5 per cent of CEO roles and 13 per cent of executive team positions, while more than half – 53 per cent – of tech companies have no female executives. On average, women account for 8 per cent of director roles, while 73 per cent of firms have no women on their boards.

    Seventy per cent of Canadian venture capital firms that finance young tech firms have no female partners, while 12 per cent of all partners are women. The study was led by a new Toronto organization called #movethedial and co-authored with PwC Canada and MaRS Discovery District.

    To lead the way on innovation, tech sector must close the gender gap

    "We absolutely have a problem in Canada that there is significant gender and overall diversity gap in the technology ecosystem – the data is clear," said #movethedial founder and Toronto entrepreneur Jodi Kovitz.

    The data are little better among tech companies that have raised the most funds from venture capitalists or gone public. When the report's authors narrowed their look, at The Globe and Mail's request, to those companies that had raised $50-million or more in venture financing from 2010 to mid-2017– so-called "scale-ups" – none had a female CEO or founder, 30 per cent had no women senior executives and women accounted for just 6 per cent of director roles. Nearly two-thirds had no women on their boards.

    Among the 20 publicly traded companies that make up the TSX Capped Information Technology index, there are no female CEOs, while women hold 8 per cent of executive team jobs and 12 per cent of board posts. Eight per cent have no female executive or board members.

    By comparison, recent studies have found that 21 per cent of board seats on Canadian stock index companies and more than a third of senior management positions with the banks are held by women. "The statistics are dismal, there's no way around that," said Carol Leaman, CEO of Waterloo-based digital learning firm Axonify Inc. "Am I surprised? I can't say I am."

    The report comes during a watershed year in which long-standing practices of sexual discrimination, harassment, assault and other forms of bad gender-biased behaviour have been outed – and punished. Revelations of toxic workplaces or allegations against abusers have led to the departures of senior figures in the technology, entertainment and media industries in the United States and Canada. It also led to the unprecedented #MeToo campaign in which countless women declared on social media that they had experienced the kind of alleged abuse that had toppled figures such as film producer Harvey Weinstein and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Dave McClure.

    "I think the fact that Harvey [Weinstein] could be brought down in two weeks is one of the most significantly important things that I've seen in my career … and will have repercussions for all industries," said Carol Bartz, former CEO of U.S. tech giants Autodesk Inc. and Yahoo. In some ways it is surprising that the nimble and change-embracing tech sector has been so impervious to the gender-balancing evolution that has been more common in such fields as financial services, medicine and law.

    "In a sector that should be leap-frogging all others in gender inclusion, it is shocking that 73 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively, of Canadian tech companies have zero women on their board and executive teams, which constitutes an unconscionable lag as compared to the rest of the Canadian market," said Tanya van Biesen, executive director of the Canadian arm of Catalyst, a global non-profit that advocates for better female representation in the corporate world. "Canadian tech companies will only thrive if they have the best and brightest talent, so they should be doing everything they can to position themselves as magnets across the broadest possible pools of people – men and women."

    Several damning studies have pointed to a distinctive and troubling anti-female bias in the tech sector, despite several other reports that show female-led tech companies have posted better returns than those with no female senior leaders.

    For example, a 2016 Catalyst report found Fortune 500 companies with highest percentage of women directors outperformed those with the fewest by at least 53 per cent; companies with more representation of women in management experience 35 per cent better return on equity, according to a Catalyst study of companies in late 90s; and a study by San Francisco-based seed-stage venture firm First Round Capital found companies with a female founder performed 63 per cent better than the firm's investments with all-male founding teams.

    Some blame a Silicon Valley culture that has rewarded what technology journalist Sarah Lacy, author of the upcoming A Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug, has described as "toxic masculinity" in which many tech leaders have little interest in the diversity issue.

    "What's interesting is, this is supposed to be a data-driven industry," Ms. Lacy said in an interview. "There's tons of data showing that … women make better entrepreneurs, women make better investors [and that] gender and racial inclusion makes for stronger teams. There is no shortage of data … And this data-driven industry continues to ignore the data, and inclusion has gotten worse," including a decline in the share of women-led tech firms that received venture financing since the dot-com boom.

    Industry participants say it is vitally important to ensure the tech sector catches up, because it has been a source of substantial economic growth and job creation globally. With Canada facing a shortage of engineering talent in the coming years and cutting edge technology increasingly invading all sectors, "It's not okay for half the talent pool to be on the sides because we need them in order to compete globally and drive our GDP," Ms. Kovitz said. In response, there has been a proliferation of new organizations to help women succeed as tech entrepreneurs, executives, engineers, directors and investors, such as SheEO, The Big Push, Go Sponsor Her, The Raise Collective and Women's Equity Lab (WEL), a Victoria-based project to help 20 local women invest in startups. "There's almost no women investing in these companies," WEL co-founder Stephanie Andrew said. Data from #movethedial also shows firms with female directors or CEOs are likelier to have more women on their executive teams than those that don't.

    "Women need to see role models and they're asking for it, especially women getting into the tech space," said Michelle Scarborough, who is overseeing a new $50-million government fund to invest in women-led tech businesses for Business Development Bank of Canada.

    At the same time, successful women tech leaders say they want to be promoted on their merits and track record, not because of their gender. Many warn of tokenism, whereby firms feel they can get off the hook by hiring a single senior female. Angela Tran Kingyens, one of two partners in Vancouver-based venture capital firm Version One Ventures, said "I can't tell you how many times recruiters have reached out" but they're looking specifically for a woman "which is such a turnoff. It's almost a slap in the face when someone comes to you and says 'We'd love to have a female general partner' versus 'Hey, we really like the way you think around your thesis on network effects.'"

    "One female partner isn't going to change much, just as one female board member doesn't really change much," Ms. Bartz said. "You have to have at least two. Until you start seeing multiple females in these roles, there's not a change."

    Tech industry players say institutional investors must push venture capitalists they back to in turn ensure the young companies they finance are embracing diversity in their culture and hiring practices at an earlier stage.

    Meanwhile, some male Canadian tech leaders, including Ceridian CEO David Ossip and Montreal venture capitalist Helge Seetzen, say the key is for senior leaders to set a tone and ensure female executives are being as equally groomed for promotions to senior jobs as men. "We're probably half way to where we need to be" in terms of female representation in Ceridian's senior ranks, Mr. Ossip said. But as jobs turn over, "you'll typically end up within a few years with an organization that has the right representation."

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    "There are going to be some incredible new ventures coming out of the city." see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    University’s Innovation Centre adds to thriving tech sector

    Greater Victoria’s burgeoning high-tech sector may want to brace itself — it’s about to get even bigger.

    That’s the warning from Jerome Etwaroo, associate director of the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre at the University of Victoria, who said his campus program has been brimming with life since it was relaunched last year.

    “Watch out Victoria. There are going to be some incredible new ventures coming out of the city. We can see the early signs here that something great is going to happen,” said Etwaroo. He noted the program has nearly tripled the number of ventures through its doors that its predecessor saw in its first few years of existence.

    That mirrors the explosion of the local tech sector, which has set a goal of having combined revenues of $10 billion annually by 2030. Currently, technology revenue from Greater Victoria’s 880 tech firms is estimated by the industry’s umbrella group, VIATEC, to be in excess of $4 billion a year.

    The new version of the Innovation Centre, which replaced the three-year-old ICE project in 2016, has a new mandate and focus and a broader appeal than its predecessor, and that seems to have translated into more interest on campus and beyond.

    ICE was initiated in 2012 by the Gustavson School of Business, and expanded the following year across campus. The idea was to provide tools, expertise and space on campus to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas.

    Since its start, ICE helped launch about nine companies and brought 21 companies from ideas to the stage where they were ready for investment.

    Since it was relaunched in partnership with Coast Capital Savings last year — with a financial commitment of $450,000 over three years — the Innovation Centre has met with 75 ventures and helped about 20 to get to the marketplace.

    “Over the last year, we have seen close to 75 companies. When we started last year that was our three-year goal,” said Etwaroo.

    The difference has been the partnership with the credit union.

    With funding from Coast Capital, the centre has offered seed money for prototypes, supported business-plan competitions to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas alongside community mentors and created learning opportunities with co-op terms for students working on their own business ideas.

    Etwaroo said at the same time the Innovation Centre moved out from under the business school and into a more central role in order to appeal more broadly to the entire campus, and in so doing create partnerships between departments and faculties.

    The centre takes no stake in the companies it incubates. “We have support across campus from every faculty,” he said, noting there has been a cultural shift toward eliminating silos and fostering collaborative efforts. “We have more examples of engineers wanting to work with business students and business students working with engineers. We are finding some real community building on campus.”

    Tyler West, program co-ordinator for the centre, said they have seen a bit of everything come through their doors on campus.

    “We have entrepreneurs from every faculty — we have a girl making traditional Chinese dumplings all the way through to some very high-tech projects,” she said.

    They are dealing with companies of all stripes, including Pani Energy, which is working on renewable energy generation and storage systems for sustainable energy development; a mobile application developer called Antidose that is developing software to help people receive first aid in situations of opioid overdose; and an on-demand cleaning service called BnBreeze that bills itself as the Uber of cleaning services.

    Etwaroo said as the program has grown in popularity, so has community support. “A big change in the last year is the number of people who have put up their hands willing to help,” he said. Organizations such as VIATEC and other business veterans have been willing to work with the early stage companies.

    The Innovation Centre now has volunteer executives in residence and a large community of mentors willing to help.

    Etwaroo said early signs suggest a deluge of great ideas are about to hit. “We think the business case for the [Innovation Centre] speaks for itself,” he said. “The indication is the impact has been a positive one and it’s reaching a lot of entrepreneurs and providing them support.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Top-quality office buildings now under construction will help meet demand for tech sector. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Carla Wilson

    New office buildings filling fast

    Top-quality office buildings now under construction in Victoria will help meet demand from the booming technology sector and provide new space for hundreds of provincial government employees.

    The expanding office market unfolds as the capital region basks in a rosy economic climate, where an unemployment rate of 4.7  per cent is one of the lowest in the country.

    Building-permit values released Wednesday by Statistics Canada also show that construction values in January jumped by 40 per cent to $93.5 million, compared with $66.6 million during the same month a year ago.

    Downtown condominium and rental housing is under construction in response to the region’s ultra-hot housing market, bringing vitality to the core and supporting businesses and services in that area.

    Anne Tanner, managing director of Cushman & Wakefield Ltd.’s Victoria and Vancouver Island office, said three technology clients have signed pre-lease agreements for 50,000 square feet of space in 1515 Douglas St., currently under construction across from city hall.

    “That really shows the substantial base that we have here on the technology side,” Tanner said.

    It’s one example of what Tanner calls an “evolution” in downtown’s office market.

    Typical government office space is also being utilized by the “leading, fun, funky tech sector,” she said. About 12,000 provincial government staff work in Victoria, with Crown corporation employees in addition to that.

    As technology firms move up to better-quality office space, it frees up other less costly categories to be filled by other companies, Tanner said.

    Rates for Class A office space downtown run up to $30 per square foot, Tanner said, and it’s getting harder to come by. Downtown’s Class A vacancy rate is only 1.07 per cent, according a recent Colliers International real estate report.

    The Douglas Street building is part of a Jawl Enterprises project that includes a 13-storey tower at 750 Pandora Ave., where B.C. Investment Management Corp. will fill 184,000 square feet. The Pandora tower will be ready by year end, said Robert Jawl. The neighbouring building at 1515 Douglas St. is to open by spring 2018.

    Also under construction is the mixed-use Capital Park, on 6.2 acres bordered by Superior, Michigan and Menzies streets behind the legislature.

    Jawl Development Ltd. and Concert Properties are partners in the project, which is fuelling the local economy with about 200 workers on site daily. To date, building permits with a construction value of $50.6 million have been issued at city hall for that property, a municipal official said. Capital Park features two main office buildings.

    More than 500,000 square feet of new office space will be available through Capital Park and the Douglas-Pandora buildings, Colliers said.

    A total of 700 workers from the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Children and Family Development will move into the first office building late this year.

    “We are really excited about how the buildings are shaping up,” Jawl said. “This is always a very rewarding juncture in a project’s life cycle.”

    A flexible workspace design will maximize the use of space in the office building, said a provincial official.

    The lease agreement runs for 20 years with options to extend it to 40 years. Lease rates are not being disclosed, but the official said the rate is based on market rents.

    The province also plans to lease 55,000 square feet in Capital Park’s second office building, the official said. The province did not disclose what ministry staff will use the space.

    Ministry of Environment workers are currently located at 2975 Jutland Rd. The province will continue leasing that site. Ministry of Children and Family staff are now in offices at 765-777 Broughton St., and that space will be vacated.

    Also on Capital Park, a Menzies Street building will house a Red Barn Market store and a James Bay library branch on the ground level, expected to open by January 2018. Above, 53 rental units above should be ready by the end of August, according to Jawl.

    Jawl said the company hopes to start construction on the second 130,000-square-foot office building in September. It will take two years to complete.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    This Vancouver Island city is drawing a younger crowd keen on the quality of life, great outdoors & see more

    Source: Toronto Star
    Author: Jennifer Allford

    This Vancouver Island city is drawing a younger crowd keen on the quality of life, great outdoors and emerging cool.

    VICTORIA, B.C. - A guy has a skateboard beneath his feet and a piercing under his nose. Another rides by with a guitar strapped to his back. There’s a grey-haired peloton or two, a little tyke with a Spider-Man helmet takes a spill, and a smiling Japanese Rasta walks by.

    It’s quite some time before you see even one little old lady as you ride a bike on the Galloping Goose — a 60-kilometre trail from Victoria to Sooke.

    It’s rush hour for rowers and as you stop on the Trestle Bridge to watch them on the water below, a couple of young women — one with blue hair another with wacky tights — walk past and you have to wonder what happened to the city full of “newlywed, nearly dead and garden beds.”

    Somewhere along the way, Victoria got cool.

    Students from across Canada have always flocked to the University of Victoria to escape the snow, but people in their 20s and 30s are moving here now, drawn by a booming tech sector.

    And the flock of retirees is getting younger — 50s are the 30s.

    Sure, you can still pick up a stack of Irish linens or get your age spots removed, but you can also pop into Smoking Lily for a periodic table silkscreened on a dress and find plenty of grooming shops for the ubiquitous gnome beards.

    Grandmas line up for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress, but at the hotel’s Bengal Lounge, someone’s grandkids are enjoying smart cocktails. (At least until April 30, when it closes. There’s no word on what will replace it.)

    The signature drink features tea-infused vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white and is served, naturally, with a mini scone.

    “I love this room,” says Bruce Livingstone as we settle into one of the Bengal’s low leather couches, taking in the rich wood panelling and colonial ceiling fans.

    Livingstone, the guy who founded iStock and sold it to Getty for $50 million (U.S.), moved from L.A. to Victoria a few years ago and started a new stock photography company, Stocksy.

    “People say how can you live there, it’s so boring,” he says. “But I tell them if you’re bored then it’s your fault.”

    Livingstone and thousands of others are coming to the city for the quality of life and the great outdoors, which can involve throwing on wetsuits to go for a swim, or going surfing or fishing.

    Victoria is good for business, too. “It’s great,” says the entrepreneur. “There’s a great network of tech people and we’re all connected.”

    On Friday night, beautiful people fill every table at Little Jumbo, enjoying dinner with fresh local ingredients — the chanterelle mushrooms that came in yesterday are served with a little parmesan, garlic and wine on grilled bread.

    Tables of tattooed young ’uns sit next to middle-aged couples and every demo seems to be drinking a fancy cocktail.

    The drink list changes every six weeks. If you’re bamboozled by which booze to try, you can always go with the blurb that most tickles your fancy, such as gin-based Tea and Toast: “My good man it took Dutch courage, a stiff upper lip and a nice cup of tea to build an empire. Hang on to your monocle and have at it.”

    Poking fun is all part of the fun in the Royal City.

    At Hotel Zed (named for the Queen’s pronunciation of the last letter of the alphabet) locals line up weekend mornings for breakfast tacos or the mile-high fried egg sandwich at the Ruby.

    The restaurant’s co-owner Chris Jones — “one of the tall bearded dudes with cool aprons” — says the Ruby will open a second location. “Where the locals go, the tourists want to go,” he says of picking spots that aren’t exactly on the red double-decker bus routes.

    The tourists may also miss Discovery St., where Victoria’s graffiti artists have transformed a couple of blah buildings into a gorgeous tapestry of street art. Visitors looking for treasures along the famed Antique Row may come home with something a little more contemporary if they stumble into Polychrome Fine Art.

    “The sun never goes down on cool, my friend,” the Hotel Zed desk clerk shouts to her colleague as he puts on his aviators and walks toward the 1967 VW bus out front.

    The hotel has hipsters in the hot tub, a lobby that looks like The Brady Bunch on acid, and shuttle rides in a couple of VW buses. “They get a lot of attention” my driver tells me during the quick trip downtown.

    Victoria is not “nearly dead” anymore.

    “It’s getting cooler here all the time,” Livingstone says, but that doesn’t mean the city’s forgotten its manners: “Strangers on the street get mad at you if you don’t say good morning.”

    Jennifer Allford was a guest of Destination BC and its partners, which didn’t review or approve this story.

    When You Go

    Get there: Air Canada flies to Victoria direct from Toronto. If you’re in Vancouver, take the 90-minute ferry over to the island as a passenger or with your vehicle. It’s a remarkably beautiful ride. Or save the time and fly in and enjoy the view from the air.

    Season: Victoria can give you your fix of green pretty much any time of the year: flowers are growing around town all year long. If you really want go deep into green, you could visit the Butchart Gardens. If you happen to be in Victoria during one of the rare snowfalls, you can sit back and watch the show as everyone freaks out and drivers attempt to navigate the roads.

    Stay: Hotel Zed (

    Find out more: Tourism Victoria (

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Victoria's unemployment rate 2nd lowest in country bolstered by job growth in tech, govnt. & retail. see more

    Source: CHEK News

    New numbers from Statistics Canada show the jobless rate in Canada moved up in July, as the economy shed more than 31,000 jobs, but BC, and Victoria in particular, are bucking the trend.

    The Capital Region’s unemployment rate was now the second-lowest in the country last month, at 4.7 per cent, bolstered by job growth in tech, government and retail.

    VIATEC CEO Dan Gunn said the Statscan figures showing 5,000 more people working in science and tech in the Capital Region, could actually be low.

    “You have new companies starting everyday and they’re growing fast so the reporting can be slower than the actual reality,” he said, adding that Statscan’s labour force survey also fails to account for contract and freelance workers who make up a large part of the tech workforce.

    And there was at least one surprising stat.

    While the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation just reported the region saw housing starts reach a 15-year high through the first six months of 2016, the number of people working construction in Greater Victoria is down, with 2,700 fewer workers than in July 2015.

    BC’s Construction Association president Manley McLachlan says it’s not for lack of demand.

    “There’s lots of rationale for it. I would say that there’s still a huge demand, we know that, and I think the fact there’s 2,700 fewer people working here today, they’re probably working somewhere else,” he said.

    “I’d suggest look up-Island, the John Hart dam is going strong, two hospitals under construction, lots of private sector work.So it’s a bit of an anomaly.”

    At GT Hiring Solutions, Christine Willow says its also a case of demand outpacing supply, as the construction sector is just one of the industries looking for help finding workers.

    “Companies like Labour Unlimited are coming to us and saying we will come and pick up the people and drive people to the site,” she said.

    And she says from skilled workers, to entry level jobs in kitchens, employers are having a hard time filling openings across the board, leading to plenty of opportunity for anyone looking for work.

    “There are very few sectors where I could say they’re not looking for people … I think now with 4.7 per cent unemployment, there are employers who are perhaps willing to make some concessions and do on the job training as well.”

    But with unemployment higher for younger workers, McLachlan said it’s never been a better time for young people to consider building trades.

    “We know we have retirements coming, two out of every three construction workers [in BC] is over the age of 45,” he said. “Those jobs will need to be filled, there’s huge opportunity.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    In 25 years our tech sector has more than tripled from $1 billion in annual revenue to $3.15 billion see more

    Source: BCIC and VIATEC

    Over the past 25 years, Victoria’s technology sector has more than tripled from $1 billion in annual revenue to $3.15 billion. That type of growth doesn’t happen by chance.

    Countless individuals from different backgrounds including industry, academia and government have worked together to build the city’s advanced technology sector. At the centre of this major collaboration has been the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC).

    VIATEC, part of the BC Acceleration Network, has served as a community hub, connected entrepreneurs to resources and information and been the largest local proponent of advanced tech in Victoria. As a result of their efforts, the city’s sector is now the largest private industry and boasts the following:

    • 900 tech companies
    • 15,000 workers employed
    • $4 billion annual economic impact

    To learn more about how VIATEC has helped to transform Victoria’s economy through the development of their tech industry, read the report: It Takes A Community: How Community-Based Organizations Can Help Grow Advanced Technology Companies in Regional BC

  • VIATEC posted an article
    World-respected futurist Nikolas Badminton on how Experience Tectoria changed how he sees Victotoria see more

    Source: Huffington Post

    Author: Nikolas Badminton - Futurist as and Growth Consultant


    I boarded my float plane and charted a course that took me from Vancouver to Victoria Harbour. As I stepped off of the dock and onto the streets I found a place that felt quite passive. Tourists, students, newly weds and nearly-deads -- or so some say.

    Looking at the Tourism Victoria website, we see an exciting picture painted:


    Victoria, British Columbia is full of life! Victoria has the mildest climate in Canada with gardens that bloom all year. The wild beauty of the Pacific coast and adventures in the great outdoors are within city limits and ocean and mountain vistas will follow you wherever you go.

    Victoria is a year-round destination that offers a friendly, safe haven for all visitors. Getting here is easy and once you've arrived, you'll feel a million miles away. With an energetic and vibrant atmosphere it's no surprise that Victoria, B.C. is one of the world's favourite destinations.


    As I was soon to learn, that energy is here in the technology business, too. It has been hidden away a little, obscured by its modesty, and I do actually think that there is something really special worth shouting about over here.

    In late September, the team at Fort Tectoria -- a coworking space, event hub and home to the VIATeC accelerator program that works to boost Victoria's tech sector -- held their Experience Tectoria conference. Myself and around 150 other attendees got together for something that turned out to be a quite different tech conference. It was almost nothing like one. Sure, there were VCs, journalists, tech founders and entrepreneurs in attendance, but the focus was on a wider cultural discourse. These things are normally about patting each other on the back and mulling over how tough it is to get funding, the challenges we face in the startup world and what new developments are helping drive us forward. This was different.

    There were a variety of guest lectures that felt more like casual chats between friends.

    Paul Singh, the self-proclaimed "blood sucking VC," talked about how the world is changing with the sharing economy and data driving advanced decision-making. He also had a beer and not water as he lectured. It was 9:15 a.m. What's amazing about Paul is that he is a humble and incredibly experienced VC that spent the next three days hanging out and talking with everyone. No jetting in and out here.

    Ryan Guldemond from the rock band Mother Mother lectured us on creativity (seriously, his voice and way of building songs felt like the most human hackathon I'd ever attended). A technology startup founder even made up a song about Roman soldiers on the fly, and it was awesome (maybe Ryan will steal that for his next album). And then, Nathan Fielder, famed for the Dumb Starbucks stunt in Los Angeles and Comedy Central fame showed us some exclusive episodes from his show,Nathan for You. He studied business at the University of Victoria and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2005 and now is bringing his own brand of consultancy to businesses that need it most.

    Add to that, attending the world's first iMax livestreamed underwater interview with the Fish Eye Project , where we learned that rockfish lived for over 200 years. There was also a boat cruise with a band and some ad-hoc interviews with Dann Gunn where Paul Singh got into the detail on Victoria's tech scene. Dan told us there there are around 380 tech companies in downtown Victoria with over 880 in Greater Victoria.

    You can also hit the road from Victoria and travel little further up the Island to find more at Qualicum Beach Digital Media Studio which is incubating some great R&D and startups, to Coombs where some of the world's edgiest VR gaming experiences are being forged by Denny Unger and his team at Cloudhead Games.

    These are all integral parts of the Island technology community. And Victoria is the spark for many.

    In addition, there was Rifflandia, the yearly music festival with over 20 stages and venues along with dozens of bands and DJs from all over the world. The Experience Tectoria attendees and speakers went to as much of this as they could.

    Victoria doesn't seem passive. It seems vibrant and growing. Tourism is big and I think that the tech scene will be a lot bigger in the very near future. Conferences like this exist to show what Victoria is and can be.

    There were three takeaways from this that I think all technology conferences should pay attention to.

    The tech community is an important part of the creative community

    The biggest and most impactful startups are the ones that are the most creative. Some even introduce art and artistic methods into their businesses as well. To really make an impact tech startups really get a lot more done by engaging the creative community.

    Presentation after presentation can really kill inspiration however doing things does not.

    We learn by doing. We learn more by doing things together and this is exactly what conferences really need to do. Talks, lunch, post-conference drinks rarely get the blood pumping.

    Relationships are built on shared experiences.

    Oftentimes we forget that VCs, tech founders and the suchlike have a myriad of interests and perspectives. Relationships brokered in meetings or via email can lead to thin relationships with weak ties. Relationships that are created through new experiences shared together will have more dimensions and many more hooks for deeper more meaningful relationships to be created.

    Victoria is vibrant and very active indeed. Experience Tectoria really stepped up the game in terms of getting to know a place, the tech founders, influencers, and VCs that drive it forward. They key to everything was forgetting that this was a conference and remembering it was a gathering of people that would be great friends going forward.

    In fact, I see Victoria as the "tech wolf in sheep's clothing" and I don't think many will see it coming.