By Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
Victoria: British Columbians have a tendency to roll up their sleeves and get things done – but sometimes we forget it’s OK to be proud of our accomplishments. A great example of this is the success of our world-class technology sector.
A new BC Stats report released this week confirms what I’ve been saying in communities, meeting rooms and events since taking over this file – B.C.’s tech sector is an incredible success story.
It’s a story of a talented and driven community, punching above its weight on the world stage. Tech-based economic activity has grown to more than $23 billion, with last year’s tech exports exceeding $1 billion for the first time ever.
We have home-grown stories like Hootsuite, and Slack making their mark around the world, from here in B.C. These companies recognize that B.C. is the place to build your tech business.
Our reputation continues to grow as a tech hub globally, attracting the best and brightest from around the world. Both the TED conference as well as SIGGRAPH chose Vancouver as their locations in 2014. The top visual effects companies in the world all have offices here, working on projects like the next Star Wars, Marvel and Star Trek movies.
Major players like Sony, Amazon and most recently Animal Logic choose to make large investments setting up shop in B.C. because they recognize our competitive advantage. They understand how a positive business environment supported by programs like the BC Jobs Plan creates the foundation for success.
As the sector continues to grow, so will the job opportunities. In 2013 employment grew by 1.4%, with over 86,000 people employed in the B.C. tech sector. To keep this trend going, we are taking action in post-secondary education and skills training to ensure that businesses here will have the trained, professional workforce they will need to keep growing.
Home-grown talent is the best way to guarantee we have a sustainable tech industry. To help ensure they have the tools they need to succeed we support the BC Innovation Council. Their network of incubators and accelerators around B.C. provides strong support for local companies and ideas trying to launch and take flight.
As Minister responsible for Technology and Innovation, I’m proud of B.C.’s tech accomplishments. I see a great future and part of my job is to ensure that what’s being accomplished here is celebrated, both at home and around the world. In that spirit, let’s get out there and cheer on #bctech!