• VIATEC posted an article
    The 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.

    Click here to download the full 2018 Economic Impact Study.


    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.

    Our Focus Areas are: Regional and Sector Promotion, Networking and Connections, Talent and, Education and Mentoring.


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    A recent newcomer to Victoria is Mario Zimmer, Country Manager of Daitan Group see more

    Victoria is an attractive place for many tech companies to set up shop. Warm weather (at least for Canada), the island lifestyle and a supportive community are just some of the reasons people end up staying here from all parts of the world. 

    A recent newcomer to Victoria is Mario Zimmer, Country Manager of Daitan Group, a Brazilian- based custom software development company. In October 2018, Daitan made their Canadian headquarters right here in Victoria.

    After considering options south of the border, the company decided that Canada would be the best spot for the expansion of their business. Victoria was a natural first choice as it offered many amenities and was the warmest place they could find in Canada. 

    VIATEC sat down with Mario to hear about his journey in tech and find out what he loves about Victoria...

    Q&A with Mario Zimmer

    Where did you grow up?
    I grew up mostly in Belo Horizonte, where I was born and in Ouro Branco, a small countryside city. They are in Minas Gerais state, in Brazil.

    Where did you go to school? What did you study?
    I did a technical course in electronics and then I did electrical engineering. After that I did some post-graduation courses in computer networks and the PMP certification. I also did dozens of specific courses and training, always focusing on what was best for my company and my career.

    What did you want to be when you grow up? What/where do you want to be in 10 years?
    As most of Brazilians, when I was 10 I wanted to play football in a professional league! At some point in my childhood, I also wanted to be an astronaut or a car racing driver. When I turned 14, I definitely knew that I would be an Engineer!

    Tell me about what your business does and your role at the company?
    Daitan is a company that does custom software development; we build software for our clients. Most of the time, the software that we code is the product that sustains our clients - the heart of their business.

    What are some things people may not already know about your company and/or product? 
    We are all for long-term partnerships with our clients and with our colleagues. We do some transactional work, but our business model is based on long lasting relationships; not enforced by contracts, but by the will to remain in the partnership. This provides the stability that the company needs, and so the employees can live their lives and create their families.


    What introduced you to this field of work?
    Since my internship, I have always been involved with software development. My role has changed around the product life cycle, but I was always in touch with the development teams.

    What’s been one of your greatest accomplishments? 
    There are many things that I am proud of in my professional life. I helped build a product and I established it around several countries. I helped shape one entire unit inside my company, creating all basic procedures and fundamentals. When I think about great accomplishments, I think of my son! I am so proud of him. He is so polite, smart, intelligent.

    Are your skills self-made or did you learn them in school?
    I guess that’s a bit of both. I also learn with other people. I had some good mentors in my life, like my father and some managers. I also like to observe what works and what doesn’t for others, and try to use that in my favor. Last year I went back to school and studied Data Science for 4 months in the point of view of managers and executives.

    Who are your mentors? How did you meet them? What do they do for you?
    First is my father. He was a model of honesty. Every time I changed jobs I talked to him and he gave me great advice. I had some mentors during my career and I believe that most of the managers I had since I started working contributed to my career. 

    Outside of work and family, what do you love to do? What are you passionate about? 
    I love to resolve problems, find a solution and explain it. If I have to create a PowerPoint, an excel spreadsheet, and a graphic, that it is perfect. As you can see, I talk too much, so talking to resolve a problem is one of the things that gives me a sense of fulfillment.

    What’s something most people don’t know about you?
    I love to play guitar and sing rock n’ roll music!

    What do you enjoy most about Victoria? 
    It is calm, beautiful, organized and offers lots of places to be with my family!


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    There's a big difference between being a top tech city, and being recognized as a top tech city... see more

    Source: ("Didn't see it coming" podcast)
    Author: Mark Stoiber

    Quick, name two top tech cities. San Francisco, and, ummm…


    Being a top tech city and being known as a top tech city are two quite different things. It’s an important difference, too. In a world where tech workers are in high demand, and cities are falling over themselves to secure tenants like Amazon and Facebook, being recognized as a tech city can have a very big bottom line impact, indeed.

    The difference maker, I believe, is brand.

    Here in Victoria BC, my hometown, we’re blessed with an exploding tech sector. Even better, we have an amazing tech city brand. At least part of that is due to the hard work and creativity of people like Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC.

    I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dan and unpack the elements of the Victoria tech city brand. Among other things, we dug into…

    • What’s in a name – and why Tectoria (the name created as an umbrella for everything from conferences to VIATEC’s building) is a great one,
    • The complexities of creating a tech brand in a city where virtually none of the stakeholders – tech companies – sell their products,
    • The brand power in Fort Tectoria – an HQ that is open to the public as well as VIATEC staffers and stakeholders
    • The connection between tech, spilled wine bottles, and inflatable killer whales,
    • Creating a consistent brand code, and ensuring that code is based on the true personalities that live it,
    • Why orange is cool, especially as light bulbs in windows of tech companies,
    • The power of metaphors in describing an industry that is often criticized for hyper-complex, unintelligible communication,
    • Origin stories, and why they work for VIATEC like they worked for Superman,
    • Why evangelists are so much better than ad campaigns, and
    • Why tech industry leaders are coming to Victoria to study how Dan and VIATEC pulled this off.

    I hope you enjoy the conversation. As you might guess, it’s jam-packed with brand information anyone can use – and there’s nary a tech term in the entire 30 minutes!

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    VIATEC is drafting in reinforcements. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Victoria’s tech sector seeks to groom leaders to fuel growth

    With an eye on its lofty goal of helping Victoria’s tech sector grow to $10 billion in annual revenues by 2030, the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council is drafting in reinforcements.

    VIATEC is on the lookout for three new staff to focus on establishing new leadership, human resources and engagement programs for the organization and the broader tech sector.

    Dan Gunn, VIATEC’s chief executive, said while the sector is thriving its growth has been held back by a lack of seasoned talent and leadership.

    Collectively, VIATEC companies claim a $5.22-billion annual economic impact, which includes wages, spending and combined annual revenue of its 955 companies of about $4.06 billion.

    “It is imperative that we attract more talent, while also supporting leadership development among our members for them to reach their full potential,” he said.

    To that end, VIATEC is hiring what it calls a leadership director who will develop a leadership training program for the region’s senior executives, and a director of talent, who will design and implement new programs to establish supply routes for skilled workers and managers.

    “In a city of our size, we can’t attract all that much experienced leadership talent,” said Gunn, noting tech leaders tend to be attracted by a broad spectrum of opportunities. “So we have to build our own.”

    VIATEC hopes grooming new leaders from within Victoria’s tech sector will result in enhancing and growing the companies they work with and the sector.

    The new director of talent will be tackling another of the sector’s biggest issues — the workforce.

    “That role is about finally trying to quantify, coordinate, research and analyze the [human resources] situation,” said Gunn.

    Gunn said the hope is they can dive into the talent recruiting and retaining issues faced by companies of all sizes and by doing that determine what kinds of jobs are difficult to fill, why that’s the case and what steps they can take to address it.

    That role is likely to include creating materials, presentations and displays to sell Victoria as an option to prospective workers around the world. Gunn said they are not looking for a recruiter, but someone to do a proper analysis of the labour force situation and establish programs that will address the issues the tech sector faces.

    Gunn said they are also looking for a new community manager to build and maintain relationships with the organization’s nearly 500 members.

    “For the past few years we have offered pilot programs focused on leadership development and our members have told us that it has been very impactful and for many, the most valuable thing we have done for them,” Gunn said. “We are excited to be moving forward with new resources aimed specifically at addressing these key challenges to give our community another advantage, so that our members can focus on building their products, markets and revenues.”

  • Article
    Victoria’s high-tech community has raised $300,000 to help tackle the issue of local food security. see more

    Source: Times Colonist 

    Tech sector steps up for Mustard Seed

    Victoria’s high-tech community has raised $300,000 to help tackle the issue of local food security.

    During its annual awards show June 14, investor and former chair of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, Rasool Rayani, challenged the full-house audience to pledge money to the cause. They raised $200,000 on the spot.

    The money was combined with $100,000 from the Victoria Foundation, which will be given to the Mustard Seed Street Church to further develop its Food Security Distribution Centre.

    The centre, on Viewfield Road in Esquimalt, currently brings in about 1,815 kilograms of rescued produce each day and is part of the Food Share Network, a partnership of 50 organizations that operate food security programs in Greater Victoria.

    The Mustard Seed estimates more than 35,000 people in Greater Victoria seek a reliable source of food every month.

    Dan Gunn, chief executive of VIATEC, said raising that kind of money within minutes is just a small example of the local industry’s generosity.

    During the VIATEC awards more than 20 individuals and companies stepped up to fund the large donation. They were: Redbrick Technologies, Checkfront, Kixeye, Kano, Rumble, Scott and Jessica Lake, StarFish Medical, RingPartner, FamilySparks, Mark Longo, Stuart Bowness, Gord Macdougall, RaceRocks, Telmediq, Royal Roads University, FreshWorks Studio, Watershed, Quimper, VIATEC and the Victoria Foundation.

    Anyone wanting to donate:

  • Article
    Proceeds will go towards the next phase of development of Food Security Distribution Centre. see more

    VICTORIA, BC (July 2, 2019) – On Friday June 14th, over 1,100 community members came together to celebrate the achievements made in the Greater Victoria technology sector for the annual Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council Awards at the Royal Theatre. The energy in the room was electrifying - so much so that when VIATEC Past Chair Rasool Rayani challenged the audience to raise funds to help food security in Victoria, $200,000 was pledged on the spot by a number of generous local tech companies and entrepreneurs. (See the full list below). The monies will be combined with an additional commitment of $100,000 from the Victoria Foundation for a total of $300,000.

    “Tech companies locate in Victoria for many reasons including the post-secondary schools, research facilities and quality of life,” said Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “That said, most of the tech sector’s $4.06 billion in annual revenues are generated by selling our products globally. As a result, our 955 tech companies do not require the same kind of strong brand recognition locally that the other primary sectors of our economy rely on and they fly under the radar. We know that our members have always given back but, much of that giving has been quiet or anonymous. The VIATEC Foundation was created as a way to encourage, support and recognize the community support of local tech companies and the results of this impromptu campaign shows the impact they continue to have.”

    “The Food Rescue Project is innovative, inspiring and demonstrates how many entities, agencies and organizations can come together for greater good. We are honoured to assist our members in supporting such a great initiative.”

    The VIATEC Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, are putting the money towards the next phase of development of Food Security Distribution Centre. The 22,000 sq. ft facility at 808 Viewfield Road in Esquimalt currently serves as a central hub for the Food Rescue Project, which recovers and redistributes fresh healthy food that currently reaches about 35,000 people every month across the capital region. Consultation and planning is underway to further leverage the Centre to support the local food economy through such things as incubation and development of food-based social enterprises, processing and storage for local food production, or opportunities for food skills training and employment.

    Earlier this year, the Mustard Seed secured financing to purchase the Centre in partnership with the Victoria Foundation and a $2 million grant from the province. The Centre, which launched in 2017, is part of the Food Rescue Project, an initiative of the Food Share Network, a collaboration of more than 50 member organizations, including local non-profits, First Nations, School Districts and other organizations working towards a food secure region.

    For those that would like to take up the challenge, donations can be made to the VIATEC Foundation Fund at or by sending a cheque payable to the Victoria Foundation—with the memo line of “VIATEC Foundation Fund”—to Victoria Foundation, #200 - 703 Broughton Street, Victoria BC, V8W 1E2.


    Generous commitments so far: 

    About the VIATEC Foundation

    The VIATEC Foundation, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, was established by VIATEC to connect Victoria’s technology sector to the broader community. The foundation offers a mechanism for the tech sector to harness its collective charitable efforts to maximize the impact of the sector’s donations.

    About VIATEC
    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.,

    Media Contact:
    Michaela Schluessel

    Community Manager


  • AOT Technologies posted an article
    Stop 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 (



  • Article
    VIATEC 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 



    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., 


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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.”

    [Click here to continue reading]

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Canada is ranking high among the top North American startup incubators and accelerators see more

    Source: DailyHive
    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:

    Quebec City

    Le Camp


    Creative Destruction Lab
    Extreme Accelerator


    Launch Academy


    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:

    Capital Factory
    Tech Ranch Austin
    Chicago Blockchain Center
    New Venture Challenge
    The Brandery
    Make in LA
    Betaworks (Camp)
    Blueprint Health
    Cofound Harlem
    Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
    Fintech Innovation Lab
    MetaProp NYC
    New York Digital Health Innovation Lab
    XRC Labs
    500 Startups
    Alchemist Accelerators
    Boost VC
    Founders Embassy
    Illumina Accelerator
    Upwest Labs

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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. 


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    It requires collaboration, leverage, dedicated resources, long term effort and focus to... see more

    Source: LinkedIn
    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), UVicUBC and the Alacrity Foundation. We benefitted greatly from Erin Athene's ongoing work (Ladies Learning CodeFlip the Switch event and the BLAST Program), consultation from Communitech's Fierce Founders program and our Board ChairBobbi 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 accesscompany profilemember 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.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Biggest thing holding back the growth of our tech community is our ability to attract exp. talent see more

    Source: LinkedIn
    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.