BC’s tech scene is one of the province’s brightest sectors, but it needs to keep its momentum going. That’s the main message from Andrew Reid, founder and president of Vision Critical, in an article he wrote for Cantech Letter.
Fresh from his keynote at the 2015 Cantech Investment Conference in Toronto, Andrew says BC tech is at a “critical juncture” and encourages the sector to step up its game. “If we want the sector to create big opportunities for future generations, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels,” he writes.
According to Reid, in order for the local tech scene to stay strong, the following steps must be taken:
- Strengthen the local community.
The efforts of the BC Tech Industry Association and the BC Innovation Council help build and bolster the BC tech community, but it shouldn’t stop there.
“Contributions from individual entrepreneurs like Boris Mann (Full Stack) and Mike Edwards (Mobio Technologies) are just as crucial,” explains Reid. “Overall, we’re still a fragmented community. We need to support the efforts of these organizations and these individuals as they help strengthen the BC tech community.”
- Get government support.
Working with all levels of the government can help BC-based tech companies solve the sector’s current talent crunch. As reported in the recently released British Columbia Technology Report Card, the tech sector is producing many high paying jobs, with an unemployment rate that’s lower than the province average. But the need for more talent will only accelerate.
Reid says the government needs to make it easier for companies to attract and keep talent. “Vancouver’s affordability problem affects the industry’s ability to attract and retain top talent, so it’s something that the government also needs to address.”
- Make early stage funding easier to access.
The local venture community is still risk-averse, argues Reid. Despite the fact that BC tech companies have raised raised $1 billion in venture capital and public and private equity financing in 2013, many startups still look outside the province (and sometimes outside of Canada) to get funding.
The growth of mobile, cloud and social technologies has helped usher in the age of the empowered customer—and many innovative BC tech companies have benefited as a result. But BC’s journey as a world-class tech hub has just begun, in Reid’s point of view. The community can’t afford to stop now.
For more, check out the article on Cantech Letter.
Photo credit: Cambridge House