BC’s tech sector is getting a big boost from the province.
The $100 million capital fund will focus on three key pillar in the province’s investment into the multi-year BC tech strategy.
“Government gained a better understanding of what was needed to support growth of the technology sector by speaking with its leaders and influencers,” says Greg Peet, chair of the Premier’s Technology Council. “Putting those needs into action has resulted in a strategy that provides promising tech companies with access to the capital they need, and reaffirms government’s commitment to help researchers and innovators succeed in building world class new businesses that create
high paying jobs in B.C.”
“They talk about funding being very hard for first round of funding for tech companies,” says Innovation Central Society Interim Executive Director Shauna Harper. “We’re also looking at how to get more talent, how do we get more access to other markets… So it’s very exciting to see there will be investment into the tech industry.”
According to the province, B.C.’s technology sector is growing faster than the overall economy.
In 2013, it grew at a rate of 4.7%- a good deal higher than the 3.2% growth in the provincial economy.
“For our industry and resources, innovation is needed, and technology is obviously a part of that,” adds Harper. “This will definitely help to accelerate start-ups as well as our existing businesses.”
The final pillar of the plan is the search for talent.
Many schools in SD57 are implementing coding classes, with schoolchildren across the province going as far as developing their own apps.
Harper feels this is very applicable to Northern BC, as a free coding event is set to launch in Prince George this weekend.
“I think our remoteness has us looking at technology as a way to connect with the rest of the world. We definitely have technology and innovation in our city, however, due to population we may not have the access to capital that other urban centres may have.”
The technology sector employs more than 86,000 people in BC.
The province is currently looking for a fund manager, while the capital will kick into operation in the new year.