VIATEC

  • 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.

    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Dan Gunn
    CEO
    VIATEC
    dgunn@viatec.ca
    250-882-2820

     

    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.

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

     

  • 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

    Toronto

    Creative Destruction Lab
    DMZ
    Extreme Accelerator
    Ideaboost

    Vancouver

    Launch Academy

    Victoria

    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:

    Techstars
    Capital Factory
    Tech Ranch Austin
    MassChallenge
    MergeLane
    Chicago Blockchain Center
    New Venture Challenge
    WiSTEM
    The Brandery
    Make in LA
    MuckerLab
    AngelPad
    Betaworks (Camp)
    Blueprint Health
    Cofound Harlem
    Dreamit
    Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
    Fintech Innovation Lab
    MetaProp NYC
    New York Digital Health Innovation Lab
    Startup52
    VentureOut
    XRC Labs
    AlphaLab
    BoomStartup
    Capria
    500 Startups
    Alchemist Accelerators
    Boost VC
    Founders Embassy
    Illumina Accelerator
    Matter
    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

    Source: DouglasMagazine.com
    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. 

    [CLICK TO READ MORE]

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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.

  • 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.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    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.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The newest tech firm to open doors in Victoria commands a stunning view of the region see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    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.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “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.

    aduffy@timescolonist.com

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The event features tech companies of all stripes and stages, from start-up experimental technology.. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Tectoria showcase opens tech sector to community

    Crystal Garden will be brimming with life, both actual and virtual, on Friday as Victoria’s technology sector pulls back the curtains for what has become its annual open house, Discover Tectoria.

    The one-day event organized by the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council will welcome up to 4,000 people of all ages into the showcase that has become a recruiting tool as much as it is about showing off the tech sector.

    “It used to be, back in 2003, that no one believed there was a technology sector in Victoria, so we had this thing that was an opportunity to see it all in one place,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of VIATEC. “But as the sector has grown and demand for people has increased - It’s morphed into a career-profiling, day-in-the-life kind of thing.”

    The event features tech companies of all stripes and stages, from start-up experimental technology firms to established gaming and engineering outfits.

    Almost all of them are growing and in need of people and investment to expand.

    Victoria's tech sector has set a new goal for itself — to have its constituent firms more than double their existing combined revenue to $10 billion by 2030. Currently, it collectively has just over $4 billion in annual revenues from its 904 companies and employs about 20,000 people.

    “There are big career elements at Discover Tectoria. Companies are hiring, picking up co-op students for work terms and even listing what kinds of things you should be taking in school if you want to work in their space,” said Gunn, noting the event is deliberately held on professional development days in the school district to encourage students to explore what’s possible.

    “Most students don’t know what a tech career looks like because you don’t see that on TV, but this is a chance to meet people face-to-face see what they make and find out how they got there.”

    It’s also a chance for anyone interested in the sector — be it someone considering a career change, just curious, media or policy makers wanting to understand the sector. “There are lots of people who have been hearing about the tech sector in Victoria don’t see it first hand because we don’t sell a lot of product here, so it’s an opportunity for the curious, no matter what age or stage of career to come out and get a better sense of it all,” he said.

    Discover Tectoria has 76 company booths on two floors, trade show, panel discussions, science demonstrations, virtual reality exhibits, a jam hut and samples from Victoria Beer Week. There is also start-up alley for new firms finding their feet, research projects from the University of Victoria, and interactive experiences to try. The showcase is open to all 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Crystal Garden. There is no admission charge.

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

    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.

    For the full Program and Exhibitor Map, click here.

    [Exhibitor Directory 2018]

    [2017 Video Recap]

    [2017 Photo Gallery]


    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Dan Gunn
    CEO, VIATEC
    dgunn@viatec.ca
    250-882-2820

     

    www.DiscoverTectoria.com


    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. www.viatec.ca

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    It opened in January on the top floor of the stunning 55,000 square-foot Songhees Wellness Centre see more

    Source: Globe and Mail
    Author: Mark Rendell

    Indigenous entrepreneurs collaborate at B.C.'s Songhees Innovation Centre

    Founder hopes the centre will become a model for entrepreneur-driven economic development in First Nations communities

    For Ojibwa technology entrepreneur Jeff Ward, finding a reasonably-priced space to work and collaborate with fellow Indigenous programmers hasn't been easy. Office space in Victoria, where his digital communications and software company Animikii Indigenous Technology is based, can be expensive for startups. There are few dedicated spaces in the city, or in the entire province for that matter, for tech-focused First Nations entrepreneurs.

    That problem spurred Mr. Ward two years ago to approach the Esquimalt-based Songhees Nation with a plan for an innovation space on the band's urban reserve just outside of downtown Victoria. The result is the Songhees Innovation Centre, which opened in January on the top floor of the stunning 55,000 square-foot Songhees Wellness Centre overlooking Esquimalt harbour.

    "We have a growing demographic of young talented Indigenous students that are graduating through some amazing technology and business programs," Mr. Ward said. "Wouldn't it be cool if there was [a place for them to work] in an Indigenous community led by an Indigenous community?"

    The centre is modelled on the kind of co-working spaces increasingly popular among digital startups and freelancers. Several anchor tenants, including Animikii, have year-long leases on permanent desks in the open-concept space; other desks are available for businesses or freelancers to rent on a monthly or even daily basis.

    "We think a lot will happen if just two people are sitting side by side and working on something and chatting," Mr. Ward said. "They find out they know similar people, they can connect people up to other people, or find out they can joint venture on something."

    The broader hope is that the innovation centre will become a model for entrepreneur-driven economic development in First Nations communities, particularly in urban reserve settings. Indigenous employees of companies based on reserve are eligible to receive income tax breaks – a boon for Indigenous companies competing to attract tech-savvy talent, Mr. Ward said. Being based within a First Nations community can also open up opportunities to secure contracts with band governments.

    "As our governments are getting more and more sophisticated, we need these [technology] tools. But there's a lot of mainstream tools that just don't fit," said Christina Clarke, executive director of Songhees Nation. "If we get Indigenous people coming up with solutions for some of the issues that we have, then we can create a virtuous loop of keeping some revenues in the community."

    Ms. Clarke also sees the innovation centre as a way for Songhees Nation to achieve some of its own economic development goals. Band members get a discounted rate to use the space, and Ms. Clarke hopes that members who graduate from the Wellness Centre's various education programs will become tenants of the co-working space.

    "If they're taking an entrepreneurship program and they come up and see all kinds of entrepreneurs working, it's much more real to them, especially to see Indigenous companies up and working successfully," Ms. Clarke said.

    From the start, the innovation centre has been supported by a number of local economic development organizations, such as the South Island Prosperity Project and the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC).

    "I think that Victoria is ready for truly engaging with First Nations in a way they historically haven't been," Ms. Clarke said. "But [there isn't] really a forum for it to happen, they don't quite yet know how to reach out … So we're hoping this becomes a touchpoint for facilitating that communication, without us having to go there and get lost in it."

    Emilie de Rosenroll, chief executive officer of the South Island Prosperity Project, echoed this, adding that increased ties between First Nations communities and the wider Victoria business community will benefit everyone.

    "Helping more Indigenous businesspeople thrive in the tech world makes particular sense, she said.

    The tech sector, after all, "is actually the largest sector now in Greater Victoria, so we're no longer all about tea and flowers."

    Tenants are only just beginning to move into the centre, but the collaborative nature of the space has already begun to work its magic, Mr. Ward said. Before the centre even opened, he was developing plans with fellow tenant Lawrence Lewis, whose company OneFeather designs voting registration software for First Nations governments.

    "When he came to check out the space and explore the opportunity, within 15 minutes we had four ideas to collaborate on projects or cost share in the development of apps," Mr. Ward said. "It just so turns out that he uses the same coding language to develop apps as we do, so just by being in the same space, there will be a lot learning back and forth."

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    It seems Victoria has its entrepreneurial wings at last... see more

    Source: Douglas Magazine
    Author: Pamela Roth

    Victoria Is a City of Entrepreneurs

    With angel investors arriving en masse this spring, and startups, popups and meetups infusing our lingo, it seems Victoria has its entrepreneurial wings at last. But don’t expect a copycat of Silicon Valley. This city has its own vibrant attitude...

    [Click to read more]

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “To find skilled and experienced talent has been difficult and it’s probably the biggest thing... see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Greater Victoria struggles to fill jobs

    Greater Victoria is facing an employment “crisis” and it will take a multi-pronged attack to deal with it, according to a human resources consultant.

    Statistics Canada reported the country had an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent — a 40-year low — in December and that Victoria now has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.4 per cent.

    Frank Bourree, principal of Chemistry Consulting in Victoria, said inaction is not an option as businesses scramble to attract workers.

    “This can only be solved through immigration, workforce housing and better transportation and daycare, or it’s only going to get worse, because I don’t see the economy going south anytime soon,” said Bourree.

    His firm oversees Work B.C.’s employment centres.

    “It is a crisis. We have been tracking this for the last six years and our caseloads have been dropping dramatically, and they took a real dip last year.”

    Bourree said a booming economy that has raised most sectors and a shift in demographics as Baby Boomers continue to leave the workforce has played a role in exacerbating the problem of finding workers.

    “And in each of the sectors, we are not getting migration from other provinces anymore because they are doing well,” Bourree said. He noted that potential workers are also put off by the cost of housing in Victoria, as well as barriers such as lack of childcare spaces and overburdened transportation infrastructure. “Here, the workforce is in the West Shore and the work is downtown.”

    The biggest issue, however, is that immigration has not kept pace with the shrinking workforce, said Bourree, noting some effort has been made to open the gates. “It’s now easier to bring skilled workers, but harder to bring in two-year temporary foreign workers and to be honest, that’s what we need.”

    Victoria’s 3.4 per cent unemployment rate represents a slight change from the 3.3 per cent recorded in November, and is well off the 5.0 noted in December 2016. According Statistics Canada, the total number of people employed in Victoria increased to 193,300 in December, up from 186,600 in December 2016, while the Greater Victoria labour force grew to 200,100 from 196,500 the year before.

    While the unemployment rate is very low, it’s still well off the lowest Victoria has seen. In May 2008, the rate hit 2.8 per cent.

    “I would say [the lack of skilled workers] isn’t a 2017 or 2018 problem, but it’s been an ongoing challenge for the growing tech companies in Victoria,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council. “To find skilled and experienced talent has been difficult and it’s probably the biggest thing holding back growth.”

    Gunn said while the city — and tech sector in particular — has never focused as much attention on the problem as now, it still has to compete with a strong national economy that demands workers.

    Locally, the tech sector has seen steady demand for workers. The VIATEC job board has posted more than 1,100 jobs over the last year and has consistently had about 100 jobs on its board each month. “When the economy was overheating in 2007, we saw between 140 and 170 jobs, and we don’t want to see that again, so we have to keep working to attract more people,” Gunn said.

    Statistics Canada’s survey found that the biggest gains over the last year were seen in retail and wholesale trade, which boasted 26,500 jobs in December, up from 24,000 the year previous. The finance, insurance and real estate sector added 2,300 new positions and the accommodation and food-services sector added 3,500 positions.

    Those gains were offset by a decline in the business, building and support-services sector, shedding 4,600 positions since December 2016, and information, culture and recreation sector, losing 2,000 positions.

    Canada’s low unemployment rate was due to 13 straight months of job creation, but it has economists warning it could push the Bank of Canada to raise its key overnight interest rate by 25 basis points later this month to 1.25 per cent.

    Statistics Canada reported the largest employment gains in December were observed in Quebec and Alberta, with the former adding 27,000 jobs for a 4.9 per cent unemployment rate and the latter generating 26,000 jobs for a rate of 6.9 per cent.

    B.C. closed out the year with an employment growth rate of 3.4 per cent, with 83,000 additional jobs, with almost all of the gains in full-time jobs.

    In the 12 months to December, the unemployment rate in B.C. fell by 1.2 percentage points to 4.6 per cent, the lowest among all provinces.

    Job-creation numbers follow Canadian economic signals that have been positive for some time, said TD Economics senior economist Brian DePratto.

    “If you go back and look at the economic growth figures Canada was putting out late last year, early this year, we saw very, very robust growth across effectively all sectors of the economy,” he said. “I think to some extent we’re seeing catch-up activity from the output of the economy on the employment side.”

    Matthew Stewart, director of national forecast for the Conference Board of Canada, said he is concerned about a tight labour market going forward but added business should be pleased with wage increases shown by the statistics. “Slower, more sustainable job growth is in store for the year ahead,” he said in a statement.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    "The PNW is getting less attention than it deserves, especially considering the great things that... see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    B.C., Pacific Northwest tech sectors start network

    In a bid to bring B.C. and the Pacific Northwest together to help grow the region’s technology sectors, a broad section of organizations in the province, Washington and Oregon have launched the Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network.
    Nearly 50 groups, including tech organizations, universities and investors, have signed on to the network, which will try to match startups with funding, among other initiatives.

    “B.C.’s tech sector is firing on all cylinders, with businesses and researchers increasingly looking to work together on a larger scale,” said Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s minister of jobs, trade and technology. “[This] will help B.C.’s homegrown talent connect with partners across the Pacific Northwest region to boost our economy and create new jobs here in B.C.”

    In its early stages, the network will focus on information technology, life sciences and clean-tech sectors.

    Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council, said signing on was a no-brainer.

    “Of course we wanted to be part of that,” he said. “There’s obviously an opportunity for people close to each other to support each other.”

    Gunn said the network might go a long way toward elevating the region and putting it on the map.

    “One thing the Pacific Northwest lacks is having the same weight that maybe some other regions have, at least in terms of how it’s perceived,” Gunn said. “The Pacific Northwest is getting less attention than it deserves, especially considering the great things that are happening there.

    “[The network] could start to address that, or at least play a role in addressing that.”

    There are 17 founding members from B.C., including VIATEC, along with 19 from Washington state and 12 from Oregon.