trade mission

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “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

    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.”

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Victoria is reaching across the border to strengthen the city’s economy. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Victoria is reaching across the border to strengthen the city’s economy.

    This weekend, a 31-person trade mission led by Mayor Lisa Helps will be in San Francisco to showcase Victoria companies, meet potential clients, promote Victoria as a destination and work on academic partnerships to create research opportunities.

    The team includes B.C. Technology Minister Amrik Virk and representatives from the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC), Greater Victoria Development Agency, Tourism Victoria and the post-secondary education sector.

    The budget for the trip is $34,000, with the city’s share $5,000.

    “We’re hoping to highlight the already strong connections between Victoria and San Francisco,” said Helps, noting high-tech and tourism have for years been closely tied to the Bay area.

    But Helps is also going recruiting. Building on a provincial initiative that saw a B.C. booth at the Calgary Stampede imploring former residents to come home, Helps said they will be taking a come-back-to-Victoria message to Canadian workers and entrepreneurs in the area.

    “We will be saying for those of you who are Canadian and living down there come home and bring your business back to Victoria, to British Columbia,” Helps said.

    She will also be showing off the city’s draft economic action plan, and hopes the plan to establish a business hub at City Hall will show potential businesses, investors or start-ups that the city is committed to helping business grow.

    The city’s high-tech industry sees the trip as a chance to cement relationships and reach out to those who missed the recent Experience Tectoria event.

    “We are using this trip as a way to connect with those who couldn’t make it this year to open their eyes to the investment and partnership opportunities in Victoria’s tech sector with the aim to bring them to the city in the coming year to meet local entrepreneurs and see first hand the innovation in our tech sector,” said VIATEC's Executive Director, Dan Gunn.

    Paul Nursey, chief executive of Tourism Victoria, said they saved up sales calls for this trip.

    “We have lots of reason to go to San Francisco, primarily for sales meetings,” he said. His group will meet with convention bookers and meeting planners by day and join the trade mission for functions in the evening.

    Nursey said he’s selective about trade missions as they require discipline and strong focus to have any kind of success.

    “This one made a lot of sense for us,” he said. “San Francisco is a very important source market.”

    Gunn agrees, noting “trade missions are hard to get right.”

    “We’ve learned over the years to set aside all the time required to support the planned agenda while hustling to fill all remaining gaps with one-on-one relationship building meetings to maximize on the opportunity,” he said. “Trade missions offer unique benefits due the many connections a large group can bring when they all go to the same place at the same time.”

    During the visit, Helps will host a luncheon and expects to meet with representatives from Apple, tech campus Rocketspace, venture capital firm Blumberg Capital, and the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

    There is also a reception for 80 influential Bay area business people that will feature discussions with Jeff Mallett, co-founder of Yahoo, and James DeGreef, co-founder of GenoLogics Life Sciences Software and chief executive of ChatterBlock.

    The trade mission team will get together this fall to outline results of the trip.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Mayor Lisa Helps will lead ‘Team Victoria’, a 31-person, multi-stakeholder trade mission to San Fran see more

    VICTORIA, BC On Sunday, Mayor Lisa Helps will lead ‘Team Victoria’, a 31-person, multi-stakeholder trade mission to San Francisco, California. The team will include the Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, and representatives from the Greater Victoria Development Agency and Greater Victoria’s high-tech, tourism, business and education sectors. Together, they seek to build and enhance strategic relationships with key influencers of North America’s epi-centre of innovation and technology.

    “Two weeks ago we unleashed Victoria’s draft economic action plan Making Victoria – Unleashing Potential, and now we’re taking it on the road,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “I’m thrilled to be leading this diverse and influential group of leaders to San Francisco.”

    The trade mission provides an opportunity to showcase and grow Victoria’s local tech companies, with the goal of attracting investment and talent to the region, and building investor and entrepreneur relationships. Over two days, ‘Team Victoria’ members will meet with potential clients, promote Victoria as a destination, and work to build academic partnerships to foster research opportunities and job development networks. 

    “British Columbia is committed to growing our economy and strengthening our technology sector,” said Minister Virk. “San Francisco has a large Canadian talent pool that we are going to continue to engage, to build and strengthen our industry, seeking growth and partnership opportunities that will enhance our tech strategy. Our similar markets, low corporate tax rates, and a strong angel investor community makes our province the place to invest.”

    In addition to the scheduled partner meetings, Mayor Helps is hosting a luncheon. Guests include representatives from Apple, Rocketspace, Blumberg Capital, and the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Rocketspace is a premiere technology campus in San Francisco, exclusively designed to help entrepreneurs, start-ups and corporate innovation professionals succeed. Blumberg Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm that specializes in providing seed funding to technology companies. The Bay Area Council Economic Institute is a partnership of business with labour, government, higher education, and philanthropy that works to support the economic vitality and competitiveness of the Bay Area and California.

    "We are thrilled that our three-year Trade and Investment Program, launched in 2014, can serve as a catalyst to make this initiative come together in alignment to all stakeholders,” said Dallas Gislason, Economic Development Officer for the Greater Victoria Development Agency. “The fact that this effort achieved such strong buy-in region-wide is very telling about the importance of the San Francisco area to many sectors of our economy here at home."

    On Tuesday evening, close to 80 Bay Area influencers will attend the ‘Team Victoria’ reception at the Aquarium by the Bay, where they will have the opportunity to network with trade mission members and enjoy a “Fireside Chat” with Jeff Mallett, co-founder of Yahoo! and James DeGreef, co-founder of GenoLogics Life Sciences Software and CEO of ChatterBlock.

    “It is vital that we continue to build relationships in San Francisco and the Bay Area. It's only a two-hour flight away and provides the world's largest concentration of tech investors, advisors, partners and customers,” said Dan Gunn, Chief Executive Officer for VIATEC. “We will be meeting one-on-one with existing key contacts to keep them up to speed on the opportunities in our local tech scene while leveraging the group of community leaders on the trade mission to draw out potential new partners that are interested in building stronger ties to our local innovators and entrepreneurs.”

    ‘Team Victoria’ members plan to hold a report-back session later this fall to outline opportunities and relationships that developed from the trip. The estimated budget for the trade mission is $34,000. Each team member is contributing towards the cost, with the City of Victoria providing $5,000. 

    Create Prosperity Through Economic Development is a key objective of the City of Victoria’s strategic plan for focus and investment over the next four years. The trade mission to San Francisco supports this objective and includes some members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development and Prosperity. Established in April, the Task Force has developed Making Victoria: Unleashing Potential, a draft economic action plan to grow Victoria’s economy. The draft plan is available for public input until September 30. For more information:

    Greater Victoria Development Agency Quick Facts:

    Greater Victoria's largest industry is high-tech, with an economic impact exceeding $4 billion annually. Many local firms rely on global connections to grow their business and create jobs. These companies directly employ 15,000 Tectorians.

    Tourism is Greater Victoria's second largest industry with $1.9 billion in economic impact and over
    22,000 jobs.

    There are over 40,000 students enrolled in the region's three post-secondary education institutions.
    Each year several co-op students get placements at companies in the San Francisco/Bay Area. Companies like Google, Oracle, Tesla, HP and others provide unparalleled opportunities and
    connections for local students.

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    BOTTOM: ‘Team Victoria’ Delegation Members


    For More Information:

    • Mayor Lisa Helps    
      City of Victoria
      Cellular: 250.661.2708    
    • Tasha Schollen
      Communications Director
      Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services
    • Dallas Gislason
      Economic Development Officer     
      Greater Victoria Development Agency
      Office: 250.360.3478 Cellular: 250.812.0510
    • Dan Gunn
      Chief Executive Officer
      Office: 250.483.3214


    The ‘Team Victoria’ delegation includes the following people:

    • Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria
    • Councillor Margaret Lucas, City of Victoria
    • Jocelyn Jenkyns, Deputy City Manager, City of Victoria
    • Kerri Moore, Manager of Strategic Relations and Business Development, City of Victoria
    • Honorable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
    • John Jacobson, Deputy Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
    • Nick Facey, Chief of Staff for the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
    • Dallas Gislason, Economic Development Officer, Greater Victoria Development Agency
    • Kathryn Dafos, Project Coordinator, Greater Victoria Development Agency
    • Dan Gunn, CEO, VIATEC
    • Rob Bennett, COO and Program Director, VIATEC
    • Paul Nursey, President and CEO, Tourism Victoria
    • Rob Ringma, Director of Sales, Tourism Victoria
    • Geoff Dickson, President and CEO, Victoria Airport Authority
    • Brent Sternig, Director, Research, Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization, University of Victoria 
    • Terry Cockerline, Director, Alumni Relations, University of Victoria
    • Curran Crawford, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria
    • Tom Zsolnay, Associate Vice President of Alumni and Development, University of Victoria
    • Margaret-Anne Storey, Software Engineering Program Director, University of Victoria
    • Jody Kitts, Development Officer, Engineering and Science, University of Victoria
    • Gloria Darroch, Program Manager, Co-op and Career Centre, Peter B Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria
    • Evelyn O’Connor, Senior Account Executive, Victoria Conference Centre 
    • Monika Lebedynska, Senior Account Executive, Victoria Conference Centre
    • Owen Matthews, Wesley Clover and Alacrity Foundation
    • Richard Egli, Managing Director, Alacrity Foundation
    • David Miller, Cube Global Storage
    • Rajkumar Padmawar, President and CEO, ASASoft
    • Will Fraser, CEO, Referral SaaSquatch
    • Karl Swannie, CEO, Echosec Systems Ltd.
    • Jim Hayhurst, President/CEO, Pretio Interactive
    • Bob Husband, Managing Partner, Arbutus Cove Enterprises