TIA BC Tech Scholarship Winners

2018 BC Tech Scholarship Winners

TIA BC Tech Scholarship WinnersOn June 1st the incredible individuals and companies transforming BC’s expanding tech sector were celebrated at the 25th anniversary of the TIAs.   Nine companies and two of the tech community’s most prominent leaders were recognized for their positive impact and contributions to the tech industry.

Alongside, another set of exciting awards were announced. This year marked the 13th year BC Tech has supported high-school and post-secondary students in their goal of pursuing an education in STEM-related fields.   The BC Tech and Bill Tam Scholarship awards were presented providing several gifted and innovative students scholarships to continue pursuing STEM.

Investing in the future of the local workforce is one of the keys to success for the BC technology sector; this includes the students, programs, and institutions that help make that happen. Established in 2005, the industry-funded BC Tech Scholarship is proud to provide grants to students who have a proven passion for technology, a desire to leave a mark in the tech sector, and are pursuing a post-secondary education in a technology-related program.

Eligible disciplines include Engineering, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship, Biotech, Cleantech, IT & Applied Technology, Business & Technology Management, Product Management, Digital Media, and other technical programs.

This year’s recipients of the BC Tech Scholarship and the inaugural Bill Tam Scholarship represent the diversity and innovative spirit that British Columbia was built upon. It’s also the first time that more women than men were awarded the scholarships—a welcome shift towards an increase in women pursuing careers in tech.

“Every year we receive applications from students across the province who are passionate about technology and determined to use tech for good to make the world a better place” said Jill Tipping, BC Tech President and CEO. “This year was no exception, there were so many deserving applicants who aren’t just excellent students, they’re visionary change-makers. This year’s scholarship recipients are truly exceptional, and we look forward to all of their incredible accomplishments.”

The 2018 BC Tech scholarship winners are:

Brianna Carrels of the University of Victoria received UVIC’s Co-op Student of the Year award, is a nominee for the Canadian Co-op Student of the Year Award, and hopes to pursue a career in biotech. She is currently working towards a Bachelor of Engineering.

Kieran Halliday of the University of British Columbia is a decorated athlete, recipient of academic distinctions, and wants to be part of the sustainability movement in the technology industry. He is currently working towards a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Computer Engineering with a focus on mobile app development.

Johanna Jucutan of Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary—an active part of her community, she is involved in promoting STEM to elementary school girls and is a project developer for the Youth Mental Health Association. Johanna will be pursuing a career in web development and UX design. She has been accepted into the Bachelor of Science, Interactive Art and Technology program at Simon Fraser University.

Giulia Mattia of the University of British Columbia is currently completing the Bachelor and Master of Management Dual Degree Program. She is an active committee member for UBC’s Focus on Women in Computing Society and is an advocate for diversity in STEM. She aspires to one day represent women in the tech sector across BC and around the world.

Stephanie Nguyen of Terry Fox Secondary—is a top academic student at her school, and a dedicated volunteer at the MSL Piret Lab at UBC. She aspires to become a biomedical engineer and has been accepted into the Bachelor of Applied Sciences program at the University of British Columbia.

Kaylan Wang of Ecole Hugh McRoberts Secondary—an active member of Science World’s Future Science Leaders program. She aspires to build a career in the field of public health and disease prevention. She has been accepted into the Bachelor of Science Program at the University of British Columbia.

Bill Tam Scholarship recipients: Giulia Mattia and Kaylan Wang

Bill Tam Scholarship recipients: Giulia Mattia and Kaylan Wang.

Are you a secondary or current university or college student with a passion for STEM? Do you know an eager and innovative young person with an interest in science, tech, engineering, and math?

Awards offered for 2018:

  • Up to 3 x $3,500 for current University and College students
  • Up to 3 x $2,500 for Grade 12 graduates entering post-secondary

Check back for information about next year’s scholarship opportunities coming soon!

Rural Technology Centre announced in Canal Flats

Canal Flats Welcomes New Rural Tech Centre

Rural Technology Centre announced in Canal Flats

It’s a new era and the Village of Canal Flats, a small community located on the scenic southern shore of Columbia Lake in the East Kootenay, is ready to embrace the possibilities with a new technology centre.

Taking over the site that, for the many years previous was home to the mill and the village’s primary employer, the new Columbia Lake Technology Centre wants to bring data centres, greenhouses, trades training, technology training and more to the town and the region.

Canal Flats mill to be transformed into tech centre

A reception area at the mill site was packed with a standing-room-only crowd, including Premier John Horgan and Canal Flats Mayor Ute Juras, on Tuesday, June 12th as the co-founders of the Columbia Lake Technology Centre announced their plans to turn the location into a high-tech data hub and training centre.

“We’re pulling from the past to the future,” centre co-founder Brian Fry said.  Fry, successful Technology Entrepreneur and Sr. Executive with 30 years of industry experience as well as co-founder of i4C Innovation Hub, in Trail, envisions seeing data centres, greenhouses to take advantage of the heat produced by the centres, training facilities, technical training programs and more.

While an old mill in the rural interior might not be the first place you’d envision a cutting-edge venture, Fry said the site has everything they need: lots of space (1,000 acres), lots of power and a fiber optic network that means the centre will be “as connected as anywhere in the world.”

Being in a rural area away from other technology centres is irrelevant to the business side of things, he said, adding that “we’re milliseconds from anywhere else in the world.”

Lifestyle, high speed fibre, affordability make Canal Flats a great choice

The location also comes with the advantages of being near “the glorious mountains,” and having access to affordable housing and land to develop, he said.

The mill shut down in 2015 and last year Mr. Fry’s co-founder, Brian Fehr, purchased the land.

Mr. Fehr chairs BID Group, a multinational corporation. His work has taken him all over rural BC and around the United States with high-tech equipment that makes manufacturing more efficient.

Fry says the amount of space and energy at the old site present a lot of opportunity.  “The idea is to make it so exciting that people that wouldn’t traditionally think of a rural area as a place to go will come here.” he says. “They might have a long history in the technology industry but they actually need a place to go.”

Fry adds that the availability of power and high speed fibre Internet in the area is extremely important.

“Electricity is actually a very important part of it and there’s a lot of electricity here because of the former mill so when you’re trying to run data centres, especially the type of processing were talking about, you would need a lot of power.” says Fry. “The next part is the Columbia Basin Trust fibre is in the valley so you’ve got a fibre-optic network that is unparalleled.”

“For the past 40 years I’ve been in the business of building and improving saw mills,” Mr. Fehr said. “We want to give back by creating value and opportunity for the people in rural B.C.”

Premier John Horgan, a former mill worker himself, stopped in Canal Flats to cheer on the initiative.

“We all know, nobody more so than the people in Canal Flats, that there’s a transition happening in our forest economy,” he said. “Technology, for better or worse, is reducing our ability to have people working in mills.”

The forestry industry continues to thrive, he said, but technology is displacing workers.  It only makes sense that the tech industry should play a big role in filling that gap in those areas and communities, like Canal Flats, that have found themselves so affected.

Over 20 people are already employed at the Columbia Lake Technology Centre site. By the end of the year, Mr. Fehr expects to have 100 people working on location – just as many as had been employed at the mill.

“The Columbia Lake Technology Centre is a classic example of how you can take industrial space, you can take access to energy – which the Kootenay has in abundance – and create economic opportunity” said Premier Horgan.

“What we’re experiencing right here, taking what was a crisis in 2015, and turning it into an extraordinary opportunity just three years later – because of the work of the community, because of the Trust, because of investors that had a vision – it’s just inspiring,” he said.

“When the mill closed, we were devastated,” said Canal Flats Mayor Ute Juras, admitting that the shutdown brought the community to tears.

She, as well as the community, is ready for the opportunities the Columbia Lake Technology Centre presents, stating “I’m super excited about this new venture and adventure for this tiny little town.”

High Speed WiFi Connecting Golden to the International Stage

Connecting Basin Communities to the World Via High Speed Wireless

High Speed Wireless connecting basin communities to the world

When the Town of Golden welcomed the Freeride World Tour in February 2018, a powerful broadband network became critical. FlexiNET Broadband, a local Internet service provider, worked with Columbia Basin Trust to make it happen.

This skiing and snowboarding event sparked a huge tourism boost for Golden when approximately 120 athletes, crew, sponsors and media descended on the town and Kicking Horse Resort—the only North American stop on the tour—along with thousands of spectators.

High Speed WiFi Connecting Golden to the International StageIn order to provide these visitors with high-speed Wi-Fi, and support to media and operation teams, Tourism Golden reached out to FlexiNET to create a robust wireless Internet connection where there hadn’t been one before. It did so by working with the Trust’s broadband team to increase bandwidth, which gave the tour the capacity it needed.

“There were a number of challenges,” said Joanne Sweeting, Executive Director at Tourism Golden. “They needed multiple IP addresses, fast upload speeds (over 25 Mbps) to produce and distribute high-quality videos and space for up to 30 media and operation teams. The combination of these was difficult in Golden, a town where 5 Mbps is standard and no public space was set up with that capability.”

high speed WIFI Connecting Golden to the International StageBy connecting to the Trust’s high-speed fibre optic network, FlexiNET was able to provide the required IP addresses and increase in speed and capacity. Live streaming and immediate race results were shared around the globe. Videos uploaded in seconds, and the main race alone generated over four million live and replay video views. Overall, the event reached 250,000 viewers worldwide in the first week alone.

Thanks to Flexinet and the Trust’s support, Sweeting says the town has now proven it has the capability to host an event of this size. This will enable it to be more proactive in seeking other big events.

“I think this demonstrates to other Basin communities that struggle with similar issues of connectivity and resources that, with some creative thinking, collaboration and support, it’s possible to make things happen,” said Sweeting.

Basin residents have told the Trust that high-speed Internet connectivity is important to them. With broadband as one of its strategic priorities, the Trust works to develop, activate and maintain a regional fibre optic network, support Internet service providers and aid communities, local governments and others seeking to extend or improve Internet services.

Originally posted at CBT.  To learn more, visit ourtrust.org/broadband.

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B.C. Smart Communities Pilot Program: Helping Small Communities Advance Technology & Innovation

The Government of British Columbia is launching the B.C. Smart Communities pilot program, to help local governments use data and connected technology to improve services and address community challenges.

“The B.C. Smart Communities program will help address the unique challenges small communities face when trying to secure funding for smart city projects,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “Whether it’s tracking cycling habits, to planning bike lanes, offering a mobile app to quickly find services, or tracking air quality to fostering responsible wood burning, the smart city economy offers countless solutions that can benefit people.”

A smart community uses technology and data to improve services for the community and its residents. It has the potential to enhance community life, from improving the way people live and move around, to creating a safer and more sustainable environment.

Pilot communities will highlight smart-community themes, such as economic diversity and growth, energy efficiency, citizen engagement, efficient transportation and community safety.

“Technology and data have enormous potential to improve a community’s infrastructure and decision making,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The B.C. Smart Communities program gives local governments the opportunity to take targeted action on important issues that can have a lasting positive impact on British Columbians’ everyday lives.”

A one-year pilot project, B.C. Smart Communities, is open to B.C. municipalities and First Nations communities with populations under 30,000. Grants of up to $40,000 will be provided to as many as four communities, which have until July 13, 2018, to apply. Communities will also have to secure additional in-cash or in-kind funding of $10,000, or 20%, from respective local governments or regional trusts.

“This pilot program is an excellent opportunity for smaller communities to partner with tech innovators, and find creative solutions to complex challenges,” said Shirley Vickers, Innovate BC president and CEO. “It will also give businesses the ability to advance technologies to make B.C. a leader in the trillion-dollar global smart-cities marketplace.”

The pilot will run from September 2018 to September 2019. Applications will be judged by a five-person panel, including provincial government representatives and industry experts.

Quick Facts:

  • The smart cities global market is predicted to have a value of up to $1.6 trillion by 2020.
  • B.C.’s tech sector employs over 106,000 people — an all-time high.
  • B.C.’s more than 10,200 technology companies generated $29 billion in annual revenue in 2016 (9% growth) — the highest ever recorded.

Learn More:

To learn more about B.C. smart communities and to apply, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/SmartCommunities

To learn more about the federal Smart Cities Challenge, visit: https://impact.canada.ca/en/challenges/smart-cities

#madeatMIDAS great minds in fabrication and 3D printing

Great Minds in Fabrication and 3D Printing: Our Regional Supercluster!

#madeatMIDAS great minds in fabrication and 3D printing

Kootenay supercluster:  Great Minds gather in fabrication and 3D printing

As evidenced by the funding award to the BC-led Digital Technology Supercluster earlier this year, there is some serious momentum building in the tech sector not only in the Lower Mainland, but throughout the province, as well as here in the Kootenays.

“It is an exciting and historic time for innovation in Canada. The Digital Technology Supercluster is a generational opportunity – one that holds significant promise for companies in BC and across Canada,” says Bill Tam, Co-Chair of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster consortium. “Now the important work begins. As a collective, we’ll apply data and use technology in new ways, such as mixed reality, which can digitally transform companies, solve industry problems and advance economic opportunities throughout BC, Canada and the world.”

The Kootenay region is ripe for expanding innovation and tech-based economic development, creating a fertile environment for the increasing clustering of initiatives, ideas, and talent springing to life throughout the region.  The combination of phenomenal mountain lifestyle, location, high-speed fibre Internet, access to markets, and affordability has offered up the perfect storm of opportunity appealing to innovators, disruptors and adventure-seeking entrepreneurs dialled in to the potential of the area to effectively and efficiently nurture and grow their respective businesses.

#metaltechalley clustering great minds 3D printing

West Kootenay:  Canada’s next Silicon Valley?

Essential to the evolution, or revolution as it’s being referred, is the region’s enthusiastic embrace of the power behind fabrication and 3D printing and rapid prototyping – resources often required to facilitate startup and business success.

The MIDAS Fab Lab,an MIT-certified digital fabrication laboratory in Trail, is a perfect example.  MIDAS, the Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies, is an applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility becoming a hub for innovation and fabrication in the Kootenays.

With a focus on the metallurgical sector that has supported the region and the Teck Trail Operations smelter, MIDAS support entrepreneur development and the commercialization of applied, market-relevant research in the metallurgic industry.  The fab lab also works to helps to expand local small and medium-sized companies’ strengths in collaborating, adopting technology, and creating new and marketable products.  It also promotes skills & equipment training in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology, making recent advances in manufacturing tech (including 3D Printing) accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

“Nelson and area has the potential to be the next Canadian ‘Silicon Valley’, and every day we see more and more talented STEAM advocates moving to the region, participating and adding to the growth and success of a solid foundation.”  Says MIDAS Fab Lab Director, Brad Pommen.  “I am excited to see what we’ve achieved in a short five years and the potential of where the next five years will take us.”

i4C innovation in Trail, BC, nestled in the the newly minted Metal Tech Alley, is a production and testing facility committed to the recruitment of early stage Industry 4.0-related companies that want to run their R&D, light fabrication, commercialization and/or distribution from their strategic location just minutes from the US border.

Tenants of i4C are provided with custom-designed infrastructure, equipment, professional services and access to venture capital focused on digital technologies for industrial applications.  Founded by three tech heavyweights, visionaries Pilar Portella, Brian Fry, and Tim Dufour, i4C is intended to be a regional innovation hub.  They understand the strong potential of the region for growing innovation as an economic driver.

According to Fry, “I think we can innovate even faster then other traditional Silicon Valley like environments due to our many advantages.” 

Another example of local 3D printing & fabrication innovation, a recent BCIC Ignite award recipient and exciting partnership between business and local academia, is exploring ways to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional 3D printing filament while at the same time drawing on resources native to BC.  Darrel Fry, CEO of Advanced BioCarbon 3D, and Jason Taylor of Selkirk College, respectively, were awarded $300,000 to develop 3D-printing filament from 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fiber derived from lignin, the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood.

States Taylor, “Academic and industry partnership is important for us because it provides the opportunity for our students to keep ahead of the curve.  It gives us the access to what industry is doing and really gives us the opportunity to share our knowledge with industry to provide a wold standard in the fields that we are working towards.”

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake #metaltechalley

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Farming in B.C. Goes High Tech With $14-million Innovation Program

BC Farming Goes High Tech With $14-million Innovation Program

Farming in B.C. Goes High Tech With $14-million Innovation Program

Tech & innovation in British Columbia has enjoyed great news this past week.  With over $100 million being injected into the sector, there’s a lot to get excited about.

Additionally, BC farming will enjoy their own windfall, allowing farmers and food processors to better access innovations to help sustain and develop the agriculture industry.  $14 million in federal and provincial government support will be provided over the next five years to help the BC farming sector develop new products and processes that will support food production throughout the province.

B.C. farmers are already using computerized sensors, drones and wireless technology to monitor the growth and condition of their crops and livestock. They are also experimenting with new varieties of traditional crops and growing experimental ones, such as quinoa, wasabi and tea.

The Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program encourages entrepreneurs and tech-leaders in B.C. by supporting projects that advance innovation and competitiveness, including:

  • investments in applied science for major sector commodities;
  • improved support for minor sector commodities and emerging/transformative areas including agri-tech;
  • enhanced efforts in clean growth, environment and climate change;
  • accelerating the growth of the sector, particularly in the agrifood and value-added food processing sectors; and
  • strengthening knowledge transfer and adoption.

Applications and program criteria are available at: http://iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/innovation/

The program will run for the duration of the five-year Canadian Agriculture Partnership. The partnership is a federal-provincial agreement that includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services through March 2023. The partnership replaces Growing Forward 2, which ended March 31, 2018.