Editorial – 30-2

By Mark Henderson, Editor

Other provinces would do well to look west towards British Columbia and its new Tech Strategy. Short and succinct yet broad in its scope, it aims to build upon one of the country’s most vibrant tech sectors and drive incremental economic and job growth without a huge price tag.

From clean tech and genomics to gaming and forestry, the strategy takes a pragmatic approach to align the skills base to the needs of the tech sector, use government procurement to stimulate company sales and enhance support and data for marketing internationally.

The measure gaining the most attention is a $100-million venture capital tech fund targeting the dearth of series ‘A’ financing in the province. With an anticipated leverage factor of five, cash hungry tech firms will undoubtedly benefit from the investment.

Consultation with major players such as the BC Technology Industry Association, the BC Innovation Council, the Premier’s Technology Council and others has resulted in a strategy that’s reflective of the needs of the sector.

The strategy was conceived from a position of strength relative to other provinces. BC stands alone in its ability to table balanced Budgets, having delivered its fourth in a row on February 17th.

The province’s thriving tech sector — largely concentrated in the greater Vancouver area — has contributed to that positive bottom line, with 9,000 firms generating more than $23 billion in revenue and adding $13 billion to provincial GDP (2013 data). The sector’s 86,000 workers earn 60% more than the average industrial wage. It’s a great Canadian success story.