High hopes for big ideas are in the air for 2015 as three incubator and accelerator organizations get ready to spend major government funding.
In late November, the BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA), Wavefront, and Highline received a total of $20.5 million in funding from the Canadian Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) in an effort to help small and medium-sized businesses expand.
“A lot of that funding is earmarked to help build the infrastructure and support network around the technology ecosystem here in Vancouver,” says Ray Walia, Executive Director at Launch Academy.
The new investment by CAIP comes at a crucial time not only for some of Vancouver’s startups but also for some of the larger technology leaders that are continuously looking for new developers and marketing professionals in a rather limited pool of local talent.
“This year, we are going to see a desperate cry from pretty well every tech company for more talent. We’ve already seen an amplification of that. There is just a huge shortage of qualified people,” says Bill Tam, President & CEO of the BCTIA.
With that in mind, a flood of networking and educational opportunities for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals, and developers are already starting to fill the social calendar in Vancouver.
The momentum that is being generated to help build awareness about our local technology scene is not just for the benefit of local companies; there is a greater purpose in mind.
One of the hopes for 2015 is the desire by the tech community as a whole to raise its somewhat limited profile as a tech hub on an international scale.
“Why is Amazon building a thousand-person office here? Why is Facebook here? Why is Microsoft here? These are all major corporations in the tech ecosystem. Once you mention that to people about Vancouver, their eyes open up,” says Walia.
With major tech companies opening up shop, success stories from locals like Hootsuite, BuildDirect, and Broadband TV, and three incubator/accelerator organizations grabbing a bunch of government funding, Vancouver might just have a fighting chance at garnering some of the well deserved tech attention it desires.