VIATEC posted an articleThe tech sector in Greater Victoria has a total economic impact of $5.22 billion and employs 16,775 see more
VIATEC releases Economic Impact Study of the Technology Sector in Greater Victoria
There is a total economic impact of $5.22 billion and the sector employs 16,775 people.
VICTORIA, BC (October 15, 2018) - The Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC), has surveyed local technology companies and commissioned an independent researcher (Alan Chaffe, senior economics lecturer at the University of Victoria), to collect and analyze the data - releasing a brand new Economic Impact Study.
The study shows there has been a growth of 30% since the last study was released in 2013:
The technology sector in Greater Victoria has a total economic impact of $5.22 billion and employs 16,775 people.
The tech sector contributes significantly to employment and economic output in both the local community, as well as throughout the Province of British Columbia. Growth in revenue and the number of technology firms for Greater Victoria outpaces the national average.
Greater Victoria is home to a vibrant, diverse, and successful technology sector that has been a major driver of innovation and economic growth for the BC economy. The technology sector in Greater Victoria has experienced significant growth over the past decade—with industry revenues (direct impact) increasing from $1.0 billion in 2004 to $4.06 in 2017. This represents a more than fourfold increase over this period.
The combined direct ($4.06 billion) and indirect ($1.16 billion) economic impact of the technology sector in Greater Victoria for 2017 was $5.22 billion—a 30% increase from the $4.03 billion estimated in 2013. The technology sector is responsible for a substantial portion of the region’s employment. In 2017, there were 16,775 employees in the sector.
The technology sector in Greater Victoria is expected to continue to grow. The number of technology firms in Greater Victoria is expected to increase, reaching over 1,000 before 2020. VIATEC recently adopted a strategic plan focused on supporting the region’s tech sector in growing to $10 billion in annual revenues by 2030. Based on the findings of this study, it is expected that this goal will be achieved if not surpassed in that time frame.
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.
Our Focus Areas are: Regional and Sector Promotion, Networking and Connections, Talent and, Education and Mentoring. www.viatec.ca
AOT Technologies posted an articleStop by our Open House & check out the Douglas Innovation Room - free event space for VIATEC members see more
AOT Technologies Open House
An open invitation to the tech community to join us for our Open House!
Stop by this Thursday, June 20th, between 4 and 7 PM to enjoy some drinks and appetizers, and to check out our new office!
If you can make it, please register at the following link:
Introducing the NEW Douglas Innovation Room!
Our new convertible board room/conference room will be available for free to VIATEC members hosting non-profit events. The space is perfect for events like lunch-and-learns, seminars, small fundraisers, etc.
You can check out the new Douglas Innovation Room at our Open House on Thursday, June 20th or direct your inquiries to our Office Manager (email@example.com).
Michaela Schluessel posted an articleVIATEC is excited to announce that they’ve expanded their team with two new crew members. see more
VIATEC Rounds Out Team to Better Serve Its Members
VIATEC welcomes Michaela Schluessel and Forrester Whitney as part of the crew
VICTORIA, BC (April 24, 2019) – VIATEC is excited to announce that they’ve expanded their team, recruiting Michaela Schluessel (Mish-ay-la Shlew-sell), as Community Manager and Forrester Whitney as Facilities Manager. The decision was made to better serve VIATEC’s organizational goals in supporting the significant growth of Greater Victoria’s technology sector.
Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC, shared that better profiling VIATEC members and communicating VIATEC’s current and upcoming initiatives is a key strategic priority. This will help members more clearly understand how they can get more involved and what is being done to help them grow their local tech companies.
“Adding people to our team allows us to have the resources we need to convey and share our new and ongoing efforts to serve and help grow the Victoria tech community more specifically, more regularly and in much greater detail,” added Dan.
There’s also a two-way opportunity to increase awareness of what members are experiencing and how the organization can support them. By growing the team of VIATEC it allows for an increased professional capacity to execute ambitious goals and support members successfully.
The candidates were chosen using a unique approach that didn’t outline a specific role but instead listed the ideal qualities and skills VIATEC was looking for. According to Dan, Michaela and Forrester stood out because of their enthusiasm and aligning strengths.
“We tried to find the most interesting and talented people that wanted to work with us and then see what we could create. We had a shortlist of two people and we were struggling with what we were going to do; due to a team change, it meant we could bring both on board.”
Michaela Schluessel joins the VIATEC team with a background in event management, communications, tourism, and managing her family leather business based in Calgary. She recently graduated from Royal Roads University with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication.
Forrester Whitney comes on board with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Victoria. He has experience working on large engineering projects as well as facilitating workshops and being a mentor for youth. Aside from his work experience in engineering he also knows how to make a great cocktail and you might see him on the weekends bartending at Upstairs Cabaret.
Michaela’s role will utilize her strengths in communication with a focus on helping members better appreciate and understand each other through storytelling and feature articles. Her passion for writing combined with her unique experience running a family business will add value to her role as Community Manager.
“I love Victoria and I’ve always wanted to be involved in a role where I can make a difference in the community,” said Michaela. “At VIATEC I’m happy to be part of a team that’s doing that every day. I was so excited about the opportunity I flew down for the interview from Calgary and made my decision to move back to Victoria largely for the chance at it.”
“Our efforts around community management and communications will make it easier to feel plugged in and affiliated,” said Dan. “I think it will increase the bond and the connection among the members in the community.”
Forrester’s technical expertise will be an asset to assisting with events and ensuring Fort Tectoria facilities and operations are running smoothly in his role of Facilities Manager. As we approach the 5 year anniversary of the opening of Fort Tectoria it is more obvious than ever what a place that encourages the tech community to get together for meetings, training, networking and cultural events along with affordable office spaces can do to support tech entrepreneurs and provide some added glue to the community.
“I’m really excited to be working in an organization that’s providing people the resources and opportunities they need to be successful,” said Forrester. “Not only will you see me holding down the Fort (no pun intended), I’m also looking forward to engaging with the community on a more personal level.”
Michaela and Forrester look forward to meeting all the members and working with the rest of the VIATEC crew to continue serving the tech community to the best of their abilities. Make sure to introduce yourself when you see them around!
To learn more about the team behind VIATEC visit www.viatec.ca.
Dan Gunn, CEO
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. www.viatec.ca, www.forttectoria.ca
Victoria event helps to remove the stigma and isolation from screwing up see more
Author: Nina Grossman
Victoria ‘F*ckUp’ event shines a light on failure
Victoria event helps to remove the stigma and isolation from screwing up
Robert F. Kennedy once said that “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” – but anyone who’s made a mistake (everyone) knows that doesn’t make it any easier to face.
A Victoria event puts failure in the limelight by having professionals take the stage to discuss their biggest screw-ups.
F*ckUp Nights Victoria has been sharing stories of professional missteps and their personal consequences for the last two years. It’s a branch of a global initiative that started in Mexico City six years ago and now has events in more than 250 cities across the world.
Three “f*ckuppers” get seven minutes to tell their stories to audiences and have up to 10 minutes to answer questions.
Speakers include everyone from successful tech giants or Olympic athletes to entrepreneurs and even an outdoor guide who was involved in a decision that cost seven people their lives.
Alongside organizational partner VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council), the Victoria event was started by Ian Chisholm and Jim Hayhurst, who experienced failure himself as an entrepreneur.
After their first successful F*ckUp Nights Victoria event, Hayhurst took the stage to tell his own story.
“I talked about the depression and the loneliness and the isolation that comes with the entrepreneurial journey and not always succeeding,” Hayhurst said. “It’s really heartwarming and confidence-inspiring to get up and tell your story and have 200-plus people applaud you for telling them about how badly you screwed up.”
Hayhurst said the event has grown in popularity since it started running it in Victoria, and he thinks it’s filling a void in the narrative around success.
“What’s the difference between trying something and not accomplishing your goal, and really, truly having that gut-check moment of, ‘oh my god, it’s over.’” he said. “How do you get back up?”
“A lot of us feel that we don’t really spend a lot of time looking at those failures and really unpacking them… But if you don’t take the time to learn from what you just went through, then guess what? It’s likely that you’re going to make the same mistake again.”
And for many, failure is isolating, Hayhurst added. Especially in a social media-driven world that highlights and rewards our accomplishments.
“[Failure] is something nobody should be shying away from and I think, more and more in our society we should be celebrating people who have that courage.”
The next F*ckUp Nights Victoria is Feb. 28 at the Duke Saloon. Tickets are sold out, but Hayhurst said the event returns April 25.
He suggests anyone interested follow the F*ckUp Nights Victoria Facebook page for information on ticket availability.
Tickets are sold through Viatec.ca.
Students toured Limbic Media, Robazzo, VIATEC and Bambora... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Island students get taste for tech at Doors Open to Technology event
More than 100 students from around the Island got a peek Tuesday into the region’s growing tech sector with the first regional Doors Open to Technology event in Victoria.
It was a chance for high school students to see what life at a tech firm is like and, according to organizers, an invaluable opportunity to dispel some of the myths about the sector.
“We were seeing a disconnect with some kids in high school,” said David Nichols, chief executive of Inventa, the company that organizes the Doors Open events.
Nichols said some students were discouraged from entering the industry because they believed there was no place for them unless they were “super smart” or devoted to coding.
“Meanwhile, the industry was telling us that there are so many different jobs in the industry,” he said, noting the event was all about showing them what’s possible and that a career in the industry is attainable.
“We are trying to highlight the immense opportunity there is for the growing tech industry and careers in that industry,” Nichols said, adding technology is actually part of almost every industry.
There is no question there is plenty of opportunity in tech locally. An economic impact study commissioned by the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council last year noted the tech sector boasts a $5.22-billion annual economic impact on the region, with combined annual revenue of its 955 companies of $4.06 billion, and employing 16,775 people directly.
The study also suggested there could be another 15,000 people working in the industry by 2030, but companies are at a loss when it comes to where they will find those people. Province-wide, the technology industry expects there will be over 83,400 tech-related job openings by 2027.
“The companies in B.C. see a real challenge in finding people,” said Nichols, who said the goal of the event is to light a spark in students to get them on the path early. “This gives them more understanding of what the opportunity is here.”
Students toured Limbic Media, Robazzo, VIATEC and Bambora, and watched presentations from companies such as Microsoft and B.C. Hydro, tech insiders and government representatives.
“B.C.’s tech sector holds incredible promise for young people looking to start a career, offering well-paid and engaging work,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.
“DOT helps students by giving them first-hand exposure to some of the innovative companies that are spurring economic growth on Vancouver Island and across the province.”
The DOT program, which was launched in 2016, has toured more than 600 students through the working spaces of tech firms in Victoria and Vancouver. They expect to run three events this school year.
Nicole Smith had a problem getting great vacation photos, so she launched Flytographer and scaled it see more
Source: Douglas Magazine
Author: Susan Hollis
The Soaring Success of Flytographer
Nicole Smith had a problem getting great vacation photos, so she launched Flytographer and scaled it into the world’s largest and most innovative vacation photography platform.
Good ideas are uncomfortable beasts. They don’t sit politely — they spring ahead, loud and ready to be seen. Even when you ignore them, they fuss in the background with the perseverance of toddlers wanting dessert. This is what Flytographer founder Nicole Smith experienced when she came up with the idea for a business built around vacation photography. Frustrated by the quality of photos she and her friend were taking on their 2011 trip to Paris, Smith realized if a photographer were to meet them for a short time, they could easily capture the best of their trip and secure powerful mementos of the weekend. So they called a third friend to take casual street photos of the two of them — and the resulting snapshots became treasured souvenirs.
Upon returning home, the idea for a vacation photography business percolated. Despite trying to ignore it, Smith found herself walking towards it backwards, securing the URL “just in case” and telling herself it wouldn’t hurt to gently test the concept on friends. Those initial beta sessions got rave reviews, so she used her savings to build the company, putting everything on the line for an idea that just wouldn’t go away.
VIATEC CEO Dan Gunn has been watching Smith grow Flytographer from its inception, when he first encouraged her to apply for VIATEC’s accelerator program. He says her grit and receptiveness to direction made her an excellent candidate.
“There are lots of people with interesting ideas,” says Gunn, “but the ones that actually seek help, who admit what they don’t know and are willing to work hard on what doesn’t come easily to them, are the ones with the greatest chance of doing something special.
“Her business concept at the time wasn’t the typical startup applicant we expected but we could see in her that she was brilliant, ambitious, focused and yet still coachable.”
Canada is ranking high among the top North American startup incubators and accelerators see more
Author: Kayla Gladysz
7 of North America's top startup incubators and accelerators are in Canada
The numbers are in.
And it looks like Canada is ranking high among the top North American startup incubators and accelerators.
These companies exist to support the growth and development of startup companies, through various types of training, office spaces, tools and technology, connections and mentorship.
Of a recent top 40 list by Salesflare, a CRM software for small businesses, seven of the spots are held by Canadian names. Here’s the breakdown:
Accelerate Tectoria (VIATEC, at Fort Tectoria)
So if you’re planning on beginning a startup in Canada, it looks like you have plenty of options for solid support on your endeavours.
And if you’re interested in the ones from further south, here are the incubators and accelerators that made the Top 40 from the US:
Tech Ranch Austin
Chicago Blockchain Center
New Venture Challenge
Make in LA
Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
Fintech Innovation Lab
New York Digital Health Innovation Lab
With his crack team of advisors at Roy Group, Ian is shaping this city's leaders into world-class... see more
Author: Alex Van Tol
Photography by: Jeffrey Bosdet
In Conversation with Ian Chisholm, Business Yoda and President of Roy Group
With his crack team of advisors at Roy Group, Ian Chisholm is shaping this city's leaders into world-class mentors
Ian Chisholm — Chiz to those who know him — is pretty open about being a bit of a zealot: he sees leadership in everybody. And, after decades of guiding people to bring only their best selves to every single interaction, he’s become one of Western Canada’s most in-demand organizational alchemists, working with government ministries as well as organizations like Fountain Tire, ATB Wealth, West Point Grey Academy, St. Michaels University School and Fraser Academy.
A hardworking farm kid from Saskatchewan, Chisholm entered leadership development in New York City, taking talented inner-city kids through a leadership development program, a job that had grown out of his summer internships with the American Management Association. During his time in the Big Apple, Chisholm helped to expand that initiative to multiple centres across the U.S.
When an opportunity arose to head up an entire centre for international leadership development, he jumped — even though it was on the Isle of Skye.
It requires collaboration, leverage, dedicated resources, long term effort and focus to... see more
Author: Dan Gunn - CEO, VIATEC
What do I Mean by Return on Community?
I bring up Return on Community whenever I'm asked why companies join VIATEC. As a private-public innovation hub that supports a community of 955 tech companies from startups to scale-ups, our success is determined by how much they understand and support us. Not all of them are members (yet) but, the ones that are understand that they have a shared interest with the entire tech community and it requires collaboration, leverage, dedicated resources, long term effort and focus to effectively address those interests.
Let me give you a recent example. What I'm about to share would not have been possible if VIATEC, thanks to decades of membership support, was not ready and willing to move quickly.
We just submitted a comprehensive funding proposal to the Federal Government for the Women's Entrepreneurship Strategy's Ecosystem Fund. A five-year program developed to strengthen capacity of organizations supporting women entrepreneurs by ensuring they have the business supports they need to start or grow a business.
On October 26, at 8:25am we were notified about this program. I was in Kitchener at Communitech's Hub observing a cohort in their Strong Leaders Program. I was there to compare our current leadership programming, find new ideas and learn from other approaches. We're big believers in sharing our playbooks and learning from other organizations by visiting them....I'll save that for another article.
Anyway, by 8:48am, that same morning (5:48am PST) I had forwarded the details of the program to our COO, Rob Bennett, and asked that we get started right away on a submission.
VIATEC is focused on developing new projects, programs and partnerships aimed at supporting existing and future women leaders in our community’s tech sector. Currently, 34% of the companies in our accelerator program have a woman founder giving us a head start on most communities. The national average for women CEOs in tech companies is usually estimated at 5%, with only 1% of our top TSX companies having a woman CEO. It’s great to be above average but we intend to continue to support building on this advantage as a strategic priority. This also will get an article of its own soon.
Given our current strategic priorities, we had to take a run at this. The deadline for proposals was November 22. Less than four weeks away. That is a very short amount of time to develop the kind of quality partnerships, program details and budgets that we pride ourselves on. To us, it was worth setting aside other key initiatives and focusing our efforts on putting together a submission that, if approved, will help support and, in turn, increase the number of women founders and leaders in our community.
In the end, we submitted a doozy of a proposal. We're proud of it. It includes partners from Accelerate Okanagan (also our forming partners in creating BC's Venture Acceleration Program with Innovate BC), UVic, UBC and the Alacrity Foundation. We benefitted greatly from Erin Athene's ongoing work (Ladies Learning Code, Flip the Switch event and the BLAST Program), consultation from Communitech's Fierce Founders program and our Board Chair, Bobbi Leach, even took time out of her busy schedule at RevenueWire to review and edit our submission.
That is a big tent! Thankfully, our members have been supporting our organization for decades. That support means that we have a team of experienced program creators, proposal writers and partnership managers along with connections throughout our community, province and country.
It's in the hands of the decision makers now and it is tough to gauge our chances. What I know is that, thanks to our community and member's support, we were able to put this together and without that history of them understanding the value of Return on Community and supporting us we wouldn't have had a chance.
When it comes to a paid membership, the tip of the iceberg is the obvious "what's in it for me" R.O.I. stuff. Things like program access, company profile, member to members deals and discounts on training, job postings, workshops, space and events. While it is tangible and obvious, that alone is not enough and not nearly as valuable as the rest of that iceberg.
The rest of the Iceberg is where the real impact is. It is the convergence of resources, relationships, reputation, social capital, financial leverage, expertise, accountability, long-term thinking, shared interests, community mindedness, capacity, curation and knowledge harnessed by an honest broker dedicated to finding and addressing the great consequential denominators among its members. That concentration of influence is the difference between the impact and potential of an iceberg versus an ice cube.
Biggest thing holding back the growth of our tech community is our ability to attract exp. talent see more
Author: Dan Gunn - CEO, VIATEC
Getting Victoria's Tech Sector to $10billion by 2030
VIATEC's strategic goal is focused on getting Victoria's tech sector from $4 billion to $10 billion in revenues by 2030. We call it the 10/2030 plan. We believe that the biggest thing holding back the growth of our tech community (just like everywhere) is our ability to attract experienced, senior talent. We need people who have scaled big, know what it takes and how to do it.
That said, those people are rare and have lots of options. Our companies have appealing opportunities for them but, in the eyes of those desired candidates, we do not have enough breadth and depth. As such, great candidates often look to larger cities where they feel more confident that there are a long list of viable companies that can use and would want their talents. It's a safer bet.
To create more of the critical mass and awareness we need, the development of locally grown anchor companies are key. We call them Whales and are aiming to support the emergence of a $1b company with 1,000 staff. We would consider four new $250m or ten new $100m companies also a success. It's not so much about adding a $1b in revenue to the total as it is what companies like that can bring. The critical mass provided by bigger companies create attention, spinoffs and leadership that knows how to build great companies. This benefits every part of the ecosystem...big and small.
The emergence of more locally founded and built anchor companies is a long-term goal. So, what do we do in the meantime? We set out to identify the highest potential leaders and companies and we provide them with advanced skills training. We're not turning our back on medium size companies, lifestyle ventures or start-ups. We're focusing on building great leaders and every organization needs those. Programs that support our highest potential leaders and ventures will benefit the entire community.
Imagine our $4.06b tech sector and its 16,775 employees were one entity. That would make it a Fortune 500 company (or at least close). The vast majority of companies that size have programs designed to identify their top performers and their highest potential team members so that they can provide them with professional and personal development and training.
That's what we want to do at VIATEC. Offer a Top Talent program to our members so that we can build the leaders we need to take us to $10b.
Victoria added 1,000 tech jobs to the labour force between 2012 and 2017 see more
Source: Goldstream Gazette
Author: Keri Coles
Victoria named in top 10 Canadian cities for tech talent
First time B.C.’s capital has made the list
Victoria now ranks in the top ten cities for Canadian tech talent, according to a new report released Thursday by CBRE Canada.
It is the first time B.C.’s capital has made the list, which analyzes the conditions, cost and quality of the labour market for highly-skilled tech workers. The rapid growth of Victoria’s tech sector and its momentum is being credited for the ranking boost.
The 2018 Scoring Canadian Tech Talent Report, published by real estate company CBRE, notes that Victoria added 1,000 tech jobs to the labour force between 2012 and 2017 – a 16.1 per cent increase.
While Victoria was ranked number 10, its overall score of 46.4 was almost half that of the city at the top of the list – Toronto at 87.3.
The analysis was broken down into three indicators – tech talent employment, educational attainment and high-tech industry. Victoria was ranked 14, 10 and 6, respectively, out of the 20 cities analyzed.
Victoria’s SaaS (Software as a Service) and high-tech manufacturing industries pushed its high-tech concentration to 3.6 per cent, well above the national average of 2.6 per cent.
Tech is noted as one of the fastest growing industries in Greater Victoria, with a 48.3 per cent growth in high-tech industry from 2012 to 2017 and an estimated economic impact of $5.2 billion, according to Statistics Canada data.
The report says the primary tech industries in Victoria are SaaS, ocean science, and advanced manufacturing.
Early this year, B.C.-led Digital Technology Supercluster, of which Victoria is a part, was chosen as one of the funding recipients for the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative, created to facilitate and fund collaborative technology projects.
It is expected to boost GDP in B.C. by more than $5 billion and create more than 13,500 jobs over the next 10 years.
The Victoria tech sector’s growth has outpaced its labour pool. It posted 30% growth the past 4 yrs. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Businesses struggle with labour shortages, bosses pitch in on frontlines
The labour crisis that has held Greater Victoria in its grip for the last several years shows no signs of abating, and continues to force company executives and business owners to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty on the front lines.
“It’s definitely all hands on deck,” said Al Hasham, owner of Maximum Express Courier.
Hasham, who employs 35 people between his offices in Victoria and Vancouver, said he’s short as many as five employees right now. With the busiest time of year approaching, he is constantly looking for part-time and evening workers to pick up the slack.
That has meant Hasham has been on the road a lot, delivering packages for Maximum clients as well as overflow from Amazon and Purolator. In between, he’s personally looking after the company’s overall operation.
“The last few years it’s been tough,” Hasham said. The company has asked some full-time, permanent staff to take on additional weekend and evening work that would normally be farmed out to part-time and casual staff. “It really is all hands on deck ... we have to do whatever we can, but everyone is hurting.”
Hotel Grand Pacific general manager Reid James is no stranger to loosening his tie and rolling up his sleeves as he and his executives have had to pitch in and clean rooms and take on other front-line tasks wherever necessary. This year, facing the prospect of another banner visitation year, Hotel Grand Pacific managed to hire early and retain enough staff to handle the crush of tourists at the height of summer. Other properties have not been so fortunate, James said.
“People are doing more with less,” said James. “At some smaller properties, I know managers who are cleaning rooms and bussing tables.”
James said the Hotel Grand has been forced to operate most of this year without a full complement of staff. At its best, the hotel had six vacant positions.
“I’ve heard of some places where the vacant positions are double that, and some larger hotels where it’s as high as 40 positions,” James said.
“We continue to struggle with the more skilled positions like the kitchen and in some areas like bellmen and guest services,” he said. “The good ones are hard to find and to keep.”
Victoria businesses have been feeling the squeeze for some time.
The regional economy has hummed along for the last several years, and Victoria has consistently had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. In October, it remained at 3.9 per cent, the second-lowest unemployment rate, behind only Guelph at 3.3 per cent.
Despite solid net migration numbers to the province (in 2017 B.C. had a net gain of 20,000 people, 5,000 of those coming from other provinces), economic growth and demand for workers has continued to outstrip the labour supply.
“Right now there is a real war for talent,” said Frank Bourree, principal of Chemistry Consulting, which works on human resources issues. “At the higher-paid professions, it’s not that bad. But in Victoria where there’s a construction boom and we have a burgeoning tech sector, it’s brutal.”
Bourree said the problem is the demographic mix, not just in Victoria but across Canada.
“Growing economies like Canada and the U.S. have an aging population, while countries like Spain and France have a much younger population. Spain has something like 40 per cent youth unemployment right now,” he said.
Bourree said Victoria will have to continue to encourage older workers to remain in the workforce longer and tap into younger workers over the age of 15 to a greater degree. “And we can work on more in-migration from other provinces.” He noted that it falls to the federal government to act. “The feds opened up 40,000 more spaces for immigration this year with new programs, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what we need across the country.”
The province’s recently released labour outlook study showed there will be 903,000 job openings between now and 2028, including the creation of 288,000 new jobs due to economic growth.
The study also revealed while most of the job openings would be in the Lower Mainland, 17 per cent would be on Vancouver Island, meaning 153,820 job openings.
“While we do have a shortage, this isn’t a Victoria problem, this isn’t a tech problem. This is a global problem in the technology industry at least,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council.
Gunn said the Victoria tech sector’s growth has outpaced its labour pool. It posted 30 per cent growth over the last four years.
“As a result, our companies are having to look far and wide to find the talent they need to keep up with the opportunities in front of them,” he said.
One arrow in the tech sector’s quiver could be a planned road show involving VIATEC, the City of Victoria and the South Island Prosperity Project, which early in 2019 intends to tour Western Canada to entice tech workers to the Island.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi led a similar tour to Vancouver recently to entice workers from the mainland to head to Alberta, highlighting the fact the labour shortage is not isolated to B.C.
“The nice thing is we can compete in many ways with our quality of life and cost of living, which in Victoria is quite low for the character and quality of life it offers on a global scale,” said Gunn.
But it can be a tougher sale when some workers are looking at the relative cost of living and working on the Prairies.
Rory Kulmala, chief executive of the Vancouver Island Construction Association, said that cost, housing availability and affordability makes it hard to compete for skilled trades.
Kulmala said the shortage of labour may have slowed the pace of building in the region, but “I believe we have punched above our weight.”
“Despite all that, we seem to be getting things done. There always seems to be another crane gong up,” he said. “The sector seems to have aligned itself to the tempo of how to work in this busy environment.”
The construction sector still sees value in continuing its work to reach high school students early to get them to consider a career in the trades.
There is plenty of room for growth in that area, as Kulmala notes only one in 70 students chooses to go into the trades.
The newest tech firm to open doors in Victoria commands a stunning view of the region see more
Brazilian software firm Daitan Group finds right environment in Victoria
From its ninth-floor window at the corner of View and Douglas streets, the newest tech firm to open doors in Victoria commands a stunning view of the region.
It’s that view, and what’s tucked within that idyllic scene and the buzz of the city, that convinced Augusto Cavalcanti, founder and chief executive of Brazilian software firm Daitan Group, to open the company’s first development lab outside of South America. For the software company, which develops custom products for its clients, Victoria ticked a lot of boxes.
“I wanted a city that would offer to our employees a great environment,” said Cavalcanti. “Victoria is very in line with the principles and values of the company.
“We want to offer a great work environment, developing top technology, as well as a great environment for living life and that’s what we found here,” he said. “I came to Victoria and saw the family orientation, schools, parks and a good quality of life.”
It took a year of planning, research and deal making to get to the point of opening the Victoria office. Much of that heavy lifting was done or facilitated by the South Island Prosperity Project, which Cavalcanti said has made the transition easier.
“Daitan Group is a prime example of the ideal type of company SIPP works to attract. It’s a values-driven, innovative, growing company that believes in putting their employees first and creating a healthy work environment,” said SIPP chief executive Emilie de Rosenroll. “We helped Daitan Group analyze the opportunity in the region. We knew [they] would be a good fit, and their decision to move here reflects Greater Victoria’s ability to compete in the broader region.”
Cavalcanti said in Victoria he saw strong similarities to Campinas, São Paulo, where the Brazilian company started, as the south Island offers a strong technology community, universities and a culture that understands the importance of work-life balance.
It doesn’t hurt that Victoria is also strategically well-placed to service the bulk of Daitan’s U.S. clients, most of which are in Silicon Valley.
Daitan, which has 665 employees, already has a small executive, sales and customer service team in Silicon Valley, but Cavalcanti said in order to build what he hopes will be a team of more than 100 developers within the next two years he needed a city that was more affordable than Silicon Valley while having a talent pool to draw from.
He also noted the type of work they do — collaborate with companies to develop custom software — requires a lot of face-to-face interaction.
“To build a team there you face the difficult cost and the lack of available people,” he said. “The whole Bay area it’s immensely difficult to hire people.”
He understands Victoria will have problems like that as well, but he said a company culture that stresses work-life balance, offers challenging work and takes care of its people should help Daitan attract talent.
He intends to draw from the local talent pool as well as recruit from across Canada and internationally when possible.
“The whole world wants [software developers]. Who offers the best environment in terms of work as well as living I think will retain those guys and that’s why we chose Victoria,” he said.
Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, said that decision is another sign of the strength and appeal of Victoria’s tech industry.
Last week, NetMotion Software announced it will open a fourth international headquarters with a team of five people in Victoria.
As for the intense competition for talent, Gunn said all firms are facing the same situation.
“We have to find a way of growing our companies in the face of that, which means attracting people from other places and graduating more people [into the workforce],” he said. “We are still growing at such a pace that we are struggling to fill the vacancies we currently have.”
Daitan opens in Victoria with a team of 10, chosen from the company’s Brazilian operations. Cavalcanti said he is excited at the prospect of growing the new Victoria venture.
“Growing 30 per cent sounds like a lot, but honestly I think the sector’s potential was higher..." see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Greater Victoria’s tech sector still booming, but recruiting a challenge
Victoria’s high-tech industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the past five years, but it’s still likely under-performing, according to the head of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council.
Dan Gunn, chief executive of VIATEC, said the sector might have grown 30 per cent since 2014, but it could have grown bigger and faster.
“Growing 30 per cent sounds like a lot, but honestly I think the sector’s potential was higher than that,” he said. “We under-performed and we under-performed for one specific reason — we haven’t been able to find enough skilled and experienced talent.”
Gunn was reacting to a new economic impact study commissioned by VIATEC and written by Alan Chaffe, senior economics lecturer at the University of Victoria. The study, which VIATEC will release publicly on Monday, shows the tech sector has a $5.22-billion annual economic impact on the region, with combined annual revenue of its 955 companies of $4.06 billion, and employing 16,775 people directly.
“We were under the impression and pretty confident we were at $4 billion in revenue based on the level of activity since our last study, but it’s great to have that reaffirmed,” said Gunn. “We are confident of the numbers and we know there are a number of ways we could have used higher numbers to get a big story, but we wanted something accurate and conservative.”
The study, which predicts there will be in excess of 1,000 tech firms in the region by 2020, suggested the sector is on target to meet its goal of combined annual revenues of $10 billion by 2030. “We wanted to set a big, hairy, audacious goal to motivate the sector,” said Gunn. “This study revealed that not only is that attainable, but highly likely that we are going to hit that level of growth before 2030, which is fantastic.”
But it also comes with problems. Gunn said that kind of growth likely means as many as 15,000 more people working in the sector, leading to the questions of where those people will be found and how they will be housed when they are here.
The study pointed out housing availability, affordability and a skills shortage have been limiting factors to growth among the region’s tech firms.
Gunn said the region needs more breadth of opportunity — more companies and larger companies offering a variety of roles in order to attract talent.
But despite the challenges, the study revealed a highly optimistic sector in the region.
It noted the firms responding to the VIATEC survey estimated total revenues are expected to increase by nearly 13 per cent this year alone, while 77 per cent of all respondents indicated they expect to hire additional staff over the next two years.
If that happens, total employment in the technology sector would be expected to hit 18,280 by the end of 2019.
The study suggested that optimism is because of Greater Victoria’s quality of life, access to an educated workforce and close economic links within the Pacific Rim.
Gunn said studies like this are important both within and outside the sector.
“It shows the sector the value of what they are offering in their community, and seeing if they are ahead or behind pace,” he said. “And it gets the attention of policy makers to understand the value of it.”
Gunn said despite its growth and increasing profile, tech remains a pretty quiet industry, taking up anonymous real estate in the second floors of downtown buildings.
VIATEC puts their FREE tech expo on at the Crystal Garden Feb 23, 2018 from 11am to 6pm see more
DISCOVER TECTORIA TO SHOW OFF LOCAL TECH WITH ONE-DAY EXPO
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.
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. www.viatec.ca