High-tech sector has more than 101,000 people now working in software development, advanced tech... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
B.C.’s technology sector leads in growth: report
The province’s high-tech sector has broken an employment record with more than 101,000 people now working in software development, advanced technology and research around the province.
According to figures released Wednesday by the provincial government, the tech sector, which employs about 20,000 directly in Greater Victoria, employs more people around B.C. than the mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined.
According to B.C. Stats’ Profile of the British Columbia Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, technology now employs 101,700 people earning a weekly average salary of $1,590 – 75 per cent higher than the average wage in B.C. and higher than the Canadian technology sector average of $1,480 per week.
“For the fifth year in a row, B.C. has seen significant growth in its diverse technology industry. We have more technology companies than ever, with more technology workers, earning higher wages than the Canadian technology sector average,” said Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services. “Our #BCTECH strategy is further creating the conditions that are helping the sector continue to grow and thrive.”
B.C.’s tech sector also leads the country in terms of job growth. Employment in the tech sector rose 2.9 per cent, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 2.5 per cent and national tech sector employment growth of 1.1 per cent.
Technology now employs approximately 4.9 per cent of B.C.’s workforce and is the third-largest tech workforce in Canada.
The gross domestic product of the province’s tech sector grew by 2.4 per cent in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output.
At the same time, tech revenue increased five per cent to a record $26.3 billion.
A dozen VIATEC Member companies are showing the province how incredible Greater Victoria's tech is. see more
January 6, 2016 - Victoria, BC - The #BCTECH Summit runs from January 18th to 19th at the Vancouver Convention Centre West with the goals of showcasing BC’s vibrant technology industry, building cross-sector opportunities for businesses and exploring the latest ideas that will drive a competitive advantage for BC.
VIATEC is supporting the summit as an Innovation Industry Partner, bringing 10 VIATEC Member companies with them to show the province how incredible Greater Victoria's tech industry is. The following companies will be exhibiting with VIATEC in the main conference area:
- GlobalWide Media
- Iris Dynamics
- Priologic Software
- RaceRocks 3d
- StarFish Medical
- Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services
- Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of BC
- Eric Ries, Author, The Lean Startup
- Ambrosia Vertesi, VP Talent, Hootsuite
- T.K. Rangarajan, Corporate Vice President, Technology & Research, Microsoft
- Andrew Wilson, CEO, Electronic Arts
- And many, many more
- How to build a lasting tech company
- Capitalizing opportunities for BC
- Changing the Game: Digital and the transformation of entertainment
- Minds & Machines: The next industrial revolution
- Shaping the future of health
- And many, many more
A streaming event will take place at Fort Tectoria for those who can't make it to the event. Details to follow.
“It’s an exciting time for our city as our tech sector continues to grow,” said Dan Gunn, VIATEC CEO see more
Source: Vic News
Author: Tim Collins
It’s a common misconception that tourism is Victoria’s biggest economic engine. In fact, while tourism is important, it’s actually the high-tech industry that generates the capital region’s greatest economic impact.
At about $4 billion annually, the high-tech industry has roughly twice the impact of tourism.
That’s why last week’s courting of investors from across North America was hugely important, according to Mayor Lisa Helps.
It all started out as a sort of “reverse trade mission,” meant to attract investors from San Francisco in the wake of last year’s trade mission to that city. But last week’s visits by potential investors and conference planners from across North America exceeded all expectations.
“It was an amazing response to our event,” said Helps. “We had 30 people attend, representing Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Winnipeg.”
The event, hosted by Helps and a prominent group of local representatives, transcended the original goal by far and helped solidify Victoria’s reputation in the competitive world of cutting-edge technology.
“It’s an exciting time for our city as our tech sector continues to grow,” said Dan Gunn, the CEO of VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council).
He said he was thrilled so many influential people in the industry had taken the time to visit and learn more about what is driving a “new era in Victoria’s economy and community.”
Attendees started their visit at Fort Tectoria where they heard why Victoria is the ideal place to visit, work, play and invest. They heard presentations by Helps, Amril Virk (minister of technology innovation and citizen’s services), United States Consul General Lynne Platt, and Tim Catlin, vice president of engineering at Change.org.
But perhaps the presentations that made the greatest impact were those made by the dozens of Victoria start-ups — all pitching Victoria as the ideal place to invest and do business.
“With our three T’s — talent, taxes, and time zone — our reputation as a desirable place has created world wide appeal,” said Virk. “But we’re also renowned as an educated, creative and talented community.”
He said it all combines to attract investors to the tech industry and to help fuel the region’s economy.
“It was just awesome,” said Helps. “Some of these people had no idea that Victoria even existed. But they were just thrilled. It created a buzz… a vibe. We know that these people will go back home and tell their associates about Victoria’s innovation economy. It’s a big win for the city.”
Have a listen to some of the on location interviews at Discover Tectoria! see more
On February 19th Jon Williams of the Zone@91.3fm broadcasted live from Discover Tectoria to get the inside scoop and share the best with Zone listeners.
- Scott Amos, Monkey C Interactive
- Eric Jordan, Codename Entertainment
- Andrew Wynn-Williams, Codename Entertainment
- Alan Deciantis, FTS
- Justin Love, Limbic Media
- Paul Kovacs, Checkfront
Armstrong has worked with angel investors, tech startups and educational institutes to commit $280k see more
(Image: Kate Armstrong, director of Emily Carr University’s Living Labs, has worked with angel investors, tech startups and educational institutes to commit donations and in-kind support to teach code and web development to refugees | Rob Kruyt)
Kate Armstrong recalls feeling helpless last fall as the Syrian refugee crisis unfolded.
There would be 25,000 refugees entering Canada by the end of February, and the director of Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s Living Labs wasn’t convinced they would all crack the code to enter the job market successfully.
But since November, Armstrong has worked with angel investors, tech startups and educational institutes to commit $280,000 in donations and in-kind support to teach code and web development to 100 refugees.
The Startland initiative (stylized as “#Startland”) plans to raise another $150,000 through the FundRazr crowdfunding platform to provide refugees entering the tech workforce with free workspace, laptops and smartphones.
“We’re in desperate need of new coders,” Armstrong said. “It’s sort of a win-win because the technology sector needs new people, and there is a skills gap.”
A 2014 BC Technology Industry Association report found the gross domestic product (GDP) of the province’s tech sector has grown by 12% since 2007. B.C.’s overall GDP has grown 6% over the same period.
Meanwhile, about 84,000 British Columbians are working in the tech sector, and startups have long lamented a shortage in talent.
Premier Christy Clark announced in mid-January as part of B.C.’s technology strategy that the province would begin phasing in coding to the school curriculum this fall to deepen the tech talent pool. Clark said Victoria would also streamline the B.C. provincial nominee program to bring in specialized tech talent from overseas to fill in the labour market gaps.
But Carla Morales, director of the Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISS), said the Startland initiative stands out because the private sector is taking the reins from the government to find talent shortage solutions.
“That for me is the future of business,” she said, adding that the initiative is the first of its kind.
ISS has partnered with Startland on the initiative to provide it with access to and support for refugees entering B.C.
Armstrong admits it was a necessity because none of the organizers had prior experience working with refugees.
The ISS evaluates labour markets to ensure refugees are being aligned with in-demand jobs, and Morales doesn’t expect that to be an issue for clients trained to code. But applicants to the program could face major language barriers or be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It’s a very individualized process,” she said. “You might have one client that comes in that has excellence language [skills], that may be interested in code, that may be the age of 21 … and then you may have a client on the other end.”
B.C. is expected to welcome about 3,000 refugees from Syria, but ISS does not have a breakdown of the demographics entering the province.
If B.C.’s intake heavily favours children or the elderly, Startland might be left with few refugees able to join the program.
While the Startland initiative will be open to all refugees no matter their countries of origin, Armstrong said the program would not likely start until late February at the earliest so that Syrian refugees arriving in B.C. would have time to adjust.
In addition to partners such as ISS, the Startland initiative includes Wantoo, Lighthouse Labs, Red Academy, CodeCore Bootcamp and BrainStation.
Armstrong added Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) and Espresso Capital have also provided seed donations to the initiative.
While 100 refugees will be trained to code initially, Armstrong said Startland will “step that up and get it moving.”
VIATEC turns 25 see more
The organization charged with promoting and advocating on behalf of the Victoria high-tech sector turns 25 today.
And age seems to suit the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, the oldest tech association in the province, which may look more vibrant now than when it was first formed in 1989.
These days the organization boasts more than 400 members and speaks on behalf of a sector that has seen incredible growth -- when last measured in 2014 it had an economic impact on Victoria of more than $4 billion.
According to current chief executive officer Dan Gunn, who has been with VIATEC for 15 years, in the early days the Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre, as it was then known, worked more closely with government delivering programs to the industry.
“It did have memberships and there was a mandate to be an industry association but a lot of the budget came from program funding from the province and that shaped priorities for the organization,” he said.
That has evolved over time into the current model, which prides itself on both getting the word out about what is now Victoria’s largest and fastest growing private industry -- helping it attract new companies, investment, and potential employees to the city -- while establishing programs to help small and medium-sized companies grow.
Those new incubator programs were built on some of the early mentorship programs VIATEC established in the 1990s under Bob Skene, Bill Cook and Colin Lennox.
Eric Jordan, currently the chief executive officer at video game developer Codename Entertainment, agreed, noting VIATEC’s work with young companies over the entire 25 years has been a huge boon to the industry.
He recalls plenty of support from both Lennox and Cook when he was starting software firm PureEdge Solutions in 1993.
“Now they are building on it, now they do so much more for the whole spectrum of companies,” he said.
VIATEC evolved again when government funding for programs all but dried up around the same time of the dot-com bubble around 2000-01.
Gunn said the organization took some time to find its feet and determine what it was going to look like In 2005 it decided to dedicate itself to the industry, making the priorities and interests of the tech sector its sole purpose.
“We spent five years re-establishing our connection with industry, and then in 2010 we got more ambitious and I think came into our own,” he said.
In the last five years, on top of its programming and advocacy work, VIATEC has significantly expanded its footprint with its own physical downtown base at Fort Tectoria (777 Fort St.), has reached out into the arts and hospitality communities and other groups to partner in festivals, conferences and building the community.
All the while it has sung the praises of the companies growing in the city and beyond.
The result has meant there are few decision makers that don’t realize tech is the region’s largest industry -- 900 companies, employing 22,000 people with revenue of $3.2 billion and an economic impact of more than $4 billion.
“VIATEC has played an important role in the community by bringing together programs that facilitate and encourage technology, entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Alex Mendelev, co-founder of design studio Tiny Mob Games. “With VIATEC, every technology venture in Victoria not only has access to resources, but an opportunity to engage and connect with a rich network of professionals.”
Gunn said VIATEC’s growth and that of the local tech sector is a product of timing as much as anything else.
“I’m confident in saying VIATEC has played a key role in raising awareness of the importance, impact and vibrancy of the sector and that has led to more investors looking at the region, more employers and potential employees looking at the region,” he said.
The change is pretty incredible since the early days.
The Times Colonist in 1994 quoted Skene as saying there were 125 tech companies in the region, with as many as 300 on the Island. The Island tech industry’s combined revenue at the time was estimated to be about $200 million.
“It’s been such a transition,” said Jordan, noting he grew up in Victoria and for years all anyone ever heard about was the impact of tourism on the region. “Now the unquestioned statement is that tech is our largest industry.”
Jordan said that messaging is due in large part to VIATEC’s work to promote the sector and unite the various groups within it.
Gunn believes the city has also played a big role.
“I feel in the last eight to 10 years Victoria itself has become more entrepreneurial, exciting and innovative,” he said. “That’s partly because of demographic shift and definitely due to industry shift, and that plays into the hands of a growing innovation sector.”
Gunn said VIATEC’s next strategic plan includes some new wrinkles, including more focus on established companies, helping to bring together investors and growing firms and perhaps establishing a foundation to connect tech companies with the local community’s needs.
Elton Pereira, co-founder of ParetoLogic, said VIATEC has been a strong supporting partner that has “engaged the local and international communities promoting technology, innovation, job opportunities and diversity in the workplace.
“It has been a big year for VIATEC, in particular, they have had success as an incubator for young tech startups and ambitious entrepreneurs. They have some great momentum and I look forward to hearing more success stories coming out of their program.”
BC's tech sector has broken an employment record with more than 101,000 ppl now working in its ranks see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
B.C.’s tech job force bigger than mining, oil and gas, forestry
British Columbia’s technology sector has broken an employment record with more than 101,000 people now working in its ranks.
Data Wednesday from the province show the tech sector — which employs about 20,000 in Greater Victoria — employs more people around B.C. than the mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined.
According to B.C. Stats’ Profile of the British Columbia Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, technology employs 101,700 who earn a weekly average salary of $1,590 — 75 per cent higher than the average wage in B.C. and higher than the Canadian technology sector average of $1,480 per week.
“For the fifth year in a row, B.C. has seen significant growth in its diverse technology industry. We have more technology companies than ever, with more technology workers earning higher wages than the Canadian average,” said Amrik Virk, minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.
“Our strategy is further creating the conditions that are helping the sector continue to grow and thrive.”
B.C.’s tech sector, which has more than 9,900 companies, also leads the country in terms of job growth. Employment in the sector rose 2.9 per cent over the previous year, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 2.5 per cent and national tech-sector employment growth of 1.1 per cent.
Technology now employs about 4.9 per cent of B.C.’s workforce and is the third-largest tech workforce in Canada.
The gross domestic product of the province’s tech sector grew by 2.4 per cent in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output. At the same time tech revenue increased five per cent to a record $26.3 billion.
“I think it is wonderful news and a long time in the making,” said Victoria tech veteran Eric Jordan, CEO of Codename Entertainment. “This didn’t happen overnight, but is the result of decades of effort from many people and organizations in our community.”
Jordan said Victoria’s tech community has a lot going for it. “Victoria continues to be a great place to build technology companies, including video-game companies. We are large enough to have a variety of critical supports, such as educational institutions like UVic and Camosun, as well as easy access to key hubs such as Vancouver, Seattle, Toronto and San Francisco,” he said.