Future growth of technology in BC rests on collaboration

Posted on Nov 06, 2017
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Some time back, we had written a blog on whether BC is ready to become a Global Supercluster in Digital Technology. At PR Associates, we have been following and working with this sector closely which helps us to be in the centre of all the discussion around the future of this industry. Last week at the BC Tech Association’s ‘The Future of Tech in British Columbia’ panel discussion, some interesting questions and thoughts were raised that serve as good food-for-thought.

  • “What is the future of tech in British Columbia?”
  • “Is the BC-based tech industry too small to compete on the world stage?”
  • “What are some of the tech trends that amaze today’s CEOs?”
  • “What are some of the challenges facing this industry in BC?”

While several viewpoints were exchanged, for me personally, the thought that stayed was – we need more collaboration within the industry in BC to grow.

How to build a tech supercluster in BC

The issue and its simple-yet-untapped solution were aptly captured by the CEO of VIATeC and Fort Tectoria, Dan Gunn. As published in an article by the Times Colonist, “The high-tech sector, boasts annual revenues in excess of $4 billion and is considered Victoria’s most valuable industry.” Yet, we all hear comments such as ‘Victoria downtown has very few tech companies’ or ‘Victoria has a small sized tech sector’.

Tech companies in Vancouver spend time building relationships with Ontario or Seattle whereas the solution is closer to home in Lower Mainland. An interesting statistic shared by Mr. Gunn is a good eye-opener to change that perspective – Victoria downtown alone houses 380 tech companies!

Currently, BC is home to many small clusters within this industry and a collaborative future can ensure a BC-based supercluster that can compete on the world stage.

In a recent Vancouver Sun article, I read, Vancouver is pursuing the federal government’s “supercluster” strategy for virtual and augmented reality that promises to infuse five centres of excellence with up to $950 million over five years to generate high-tech jobs and investment. In the same article, Microsoft President, Brad Smith, responds to the questions ‘What is a supercluster’ by stating “A supercluster proposal is an opportunity to build a technology ecosystem and economy that will really span British Columbia by energizing investment in multiple areas, especially around natural resources, around health care and around new industries. But all relying on digital technology.”

It is clear that Vancouver cannot work in isolation to become a supercluster but needs various collaborative projects and associations within BC to fully utilize the massive opportunity.

Together we are stronger.

Do you agree? I would love to hear your opinion. Let’s chat.

By

Ambika Maitra

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