Follow the MIDAS Fab Lab on Instagram

Follow the MIDAS Fab Lab on Instagram! #madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Follow the MIDAS Fab Lab on Instagram

We are looking to get the word out further about all the possibilities available at the MIDAS Fab Lab.

With so much going on at MIDAS, great courses and programs, it was time to jump into the popular visual social sharing app to give followers another way to find us and keep up to date with everything that’s coming up and all that’s being achieved in this state-of-the-art fabrication lab and maker space.

Makers, innovators, inventors, small businesses… it doesn’t matter who you are, if you’ve got a great idea, the range of learning and making opportunities at MIDAS can help you bring it to reality!

Courses, workshops, news, innovation, inspiration – follow us on Instagram!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake




AutismBC to host coding competition at Hootsuite to raise awareness of autism

AutismBC Coding Competition With Hootsuite To Raise Awareness of Autism

AutismBC to host coding competition at Hootsuite to raise awareness of autism

AutismBC is excited to announce the launch of < / crack.the.code > a new coding event in Vancouver in March 2018.

< / crack.the.code > hosted by Hootsuite will see teams from tech companies and universities compete in a hackathon event on day one, following by a problem based coding competition for local high school teams on day two. Both competitions will aim to raise funds to support the work AutismBC does, providing education and training programs to workplaces and communities across the province.

“As Vancouver’s tech industry continues to grow and with coding now apart of the BC school curriculum, we see many individuals affected by autism excelling in STEM subjects. < / crack.the.code > will focus attention on the unique benefits that individuals with autism can bring to teams, in schools, workplaces and organizations and start new conversations around inclusion in the workplace to support the growing number of young adults with autism currently unemployed” says Andrew Pinfold, Director of Operations at AutismBC.

In British Columbia, it is estimated that 56,000 people, of them 44,000 adults, have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. With global reports indicating that 60% of adults with autism are unemployed, yet willing and capable of work increasing awareness of autism in the workplace and providing support and training to organizations committed to hiring and retaining employees with autism is a key focus for AutismBC.

Matt Handford, SVP of People for Hootsuite said “We are pleased to be hosting < / crack.the.code > and look forward to welcoming teams from across the industry to Hootsuite for this years competition. We are proud to support AutismBC as they drive forward the importance of diversity and inclusion in workplaces, and welcome the opportunity to help neurotypical and neurodiverse young people considering future careers in technology to participate in this unique event.”

Registration opens for corporate, university and high school teams from January 29 until February 28 and more details can be found here.

About AutismBC
AutismBC is British Columbia’s entry point and knowledge resource for all things autism. They empower those on the spectrum and their advocates, with the information and pathways to education to help those affected achieve their fullest potential. Their commitment starts with early diagnosis and intervention, and extends the entire lifespan of British Columbians on the autism spectrum. Connect with them here.





BC-Led Digital Technology Supercluster Awarded Federal Funding to Transform Canada ’s Fastest Growing Tech Sector

Initiative estimated to create 50,000 jobs and inject $15 billion in GDP into BC’s economy over 10 years

The British Columbia-led Digital Technology Supercluster is one of the funding recipients for the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative, Minister Navdeep Bains announced yesterday.

The federal government's flagship innovation funding initiative aims to create 'superclusters' to drive economic growth in high-potential sectors.

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, speaks at a news conference in Ottawa in this file photo.

“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.”

In May 2017, Minister Bains announced a nationwide initiative to create up to five superclusters that will supercharge Canada’s regional innovation ecosystems and “build Canada as a global centre for innovation.” Superclusters are innovation hotbeds, designed to energize the economy and become engines of growth. Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster was created as a collaborative effort of over 200 organisations, including some of Canada’s biggest names in healthcare, telecommunications, natural resources, computing and transportation.

The following examples demonstrate how the Digital Technology Supercluster will contribute to life-changing advancements in precision health, natural resources and manufacturing:

  • A secure, anonymous Health and Genomic Platform will build the systems required to allow medical specialists to create custom, leading-edge cancer treatments that are personalized to the unique genetic makeup of each patient, building on Canada’s current leadership in this area.
  • An Earth Data Store will facilitate and improve data collection, sharing and visualization in the resource sector – enhancing how information about resource projects is shared between project proponents, Indigenous Peoples, governments and communities.
  • A Digital Learning Factory will help facilitate the development of virtual environments that enable design, rapid experimentation and testing of cost-saving approaches to address the most significant challenges in modern manufacturing.

These initiatives are among the estimated 100 projects that will be made possible by this infusion of federal funding.

Using data to drive sustainable long-term solutions across industries and sectors, the Digital Technology Supercluster will generate jobs, create new opportunities for Indigenous communities and support large-scale economic growth. It will allow startups and small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to shine globally, while expanding the productivity and competitiveness of Canada’s larger international firms.

“Leveraging the capability of Canada’s world-leading broadband telecommunications networks, our BC-led Supercluster will use advanced data collection, analytics and visualization to produce innovations that have tremendous local and global impact, including enabling advanced healthcare treatments and cures via precision health analytics,” says Josh Blair, Chief Corporate Officer, TELUS and Executive Vice President, TELUS Health. “As a founding member, TELUS looks forward to contributing to the breakthroughs our Supercluster will deliver for the benefit of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

 “The Canadian Digital Technology Supercluster is a powerful example of what we can achieve together as we build a globally-recognized technology hub along the Cascadia Innovation Corridor. The economic growth to be generated by the British Columbia-born consortium is a testament to how emerging technology will create new industries and jobs. Bravo to the Canadian Federal Government for making this bold investment in the future of Canada’s fastest-growing tech sector,” says Brad Smith, President, Microsoft.

“As a BC-born startup, we’ve experienced rapid growth through BC’s tech ecosystem. We’re proud to have been part of Canada’s Digital Technology Consortium. It is a pivotal time for BC as we develop and implement a convergence of technologies in IOT, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Mixed Reality. This innovation will solve some of the biggest productivity challenges facing businesses today,” says Ryan Peterson, CEO, Finger Food Studios.

This announcement represents an incredible opportunity to unleash the potential of Indigenous innovation across BC, transforming the technology sector and communities across the province,” says Denise Williams, Executive Director, First Nations Technology Council. “It is our hope that this Supercluster initiative achieves transformation of Canada’s digital landscape, empowering Indigenous innovators across all its focus areas while deepening the sector’s commitment to the meaningful advancement of reconciliation in a digital and connected age.”

“This investment will have a lasting impact on our economy, our graduates and our ability to create innovative solutions,” says Jamie Cassels, President of the University of Victoria and Chair of the Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia.

“BC resource and technology companies are working together to use data and analytics to enhance environmental performance, productivity and safety. This funding will allow for further collaboration between the resource and tech sectors to unleash new innovation and address sustainability and productivity opportunities and challenges here in Canada and around the world,” says Greg Brouwer, General Manager of Technology and Innovation at Teck.

The Digital Technology Supercluster Consortium extends their thanks to founding members AMPD, Augurex, Avcorp, Business Council of BC, BC Tech Association, Change Healthcare, D-Wave, Life Sciences BC, Microsoft, Providence Health Care (supported by St. Paul’s Foundation), Premiers’ Technology Council of BC, Research Universities’ Council of BC, Teck, Telus, Terramera, Timberwest, Urthecast and Wavefront.

The collaborative effort of this Supercluster set it apart throughout the application process. When short-listed as one of nine finalists in October 2017, new members from across Canada joined. We would like to thank Shoppers Drugs Mart, Canfor, GE Digital, Illumina, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network (supported by the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation), SickKids and the Terry Fox Research Institute for coming on board. The commitment, talent, diversity and collaborative approach of this Supercluster is unique. As a result, Canadians will benefit from new skilled jobs, new products and new platforms. These developments will enable Canadian companies to scale-up, making Canada more attractive for startups, international talent and investment. It is a pivotal moment for Canada’s digital economy. As the Federal Government has demonstrated with this funding, the time has come for our country to invest in becoming a leading centre for innovation.

About Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster Consortium:

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster Consortium is a cross-industry inititiave dedicated to ensuring BC and Canada are leaders in the digital economy. It is proudly based out of British Columbia, with partners from (and benefits that will be felt across) the nation. The consortium includes founding members AMPD, Augurex, Avcorp, Business Council of BC, BC Tech Association, Change Healthcare, D-Wave, Lifesciences BC, Microsoft, Providence Health Care (supported by St. Paul’s Foundation), Premiers’ Technology Council of BC, Research Universities’ Council members (UBC, SFU, UVic, UNBC with Emily Carr and BCIT), Teck, Telus, Terramera, Timberwest, Urthecast and Wavefront. We also had new members join in late 2017 after we were shortlisted as one of nine applications in the running. New members include: Shoppers Drug Mart, Canfor, GE Digital, Illumina, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network (supported by the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation), SickKids, the Terry Fox Research Institute and more than 200 other organizations and post-secondary institutions collaborating to solve the biggest challenges facing the world today.

The Supercluster will advance projects guided by defined industry needs to advance solutions using virtual mixed/augmented reality, data analytics and quantum computing. To learn more, visit


Don Freschi new Executive Director with KAST

New Executive Director at KAST: Don Freschi


Don Freschi new Executive Director with KAST

Accomplished entrepreneur and fly-fishing enthusiast, Don Freschi, joins the team at KAST!

The Board of Directors along with all of the staff here at the Kootenay Association of Science & Technology (KAST), are very pleased to announce that Don Freschi has been engaged as Executive Director.

Don has been KAST’s lead business coach or Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) for our Venture Acceleration Program business coaching program (VAP) since that program’s introduction in 2013. As co-founder/CEO of Firebird Technologies, Don helped bring millions of R&D dollars to the region, managed a shareholder exit, developed a new product for international markets, and increased sales from $3-9 million over 2 years.

Don has 20+ years experience in high tech manufacturing, operations, P&L management, sales/marketing, technology development and strategic planning and recently co-founded a new venture, Fenix Advanced Materials, anchor tenant at the Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies (MIDAS) facility in Trail. Don owns and stars in Sport Fishing on the Fly.

Don’s focus in the coming months will be to connect with partners and stakeholders as well as to develop and implement a strategic plan for KAST. Don will be working in a part-time capacity while he continues to operate his other business interests.

Everyone at KAST looks forward to working with him as he assumes his duties Monday, February 19th.

Please join us in welcoming Don to his new role with KAST!



How Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence can transport crops and mines to desktops and boardrooms

Moving Forward: Latest Technologies Fusing With Traditional Industries in BC

How Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence can transport crops and mines to desktops and boardrooms

LlamaZOO’s MineLife VR platform enables users to interact with a mine plan in virtual reality, encompassing thousands of kilometres of mapping and planning data.

How Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence can transport crops and mines to desktops and boardrooms

How can companies in British Columbia’s most traditional industries like mining, forestry, and agriculture benefit from virtual reality and artificial intelligence – advanced technologies that can make companies more efficient and competitive on an international scale?

Imagine a farmer seeing and treating a sick plant from a desktop computer, or taking a tour of a remote mine site thousands of miles away in a local boardroom. It is possible, but communication bridges between the traditional and technology sectors are still being built.

The BC Innovation Council (BCIC) is creating programs to connect non- tech companies that can potentially innovate operations through doing business with technology companies. The technologies are there – only traditional companies may not know they exist.

“We’re trying to better communicate that every industry in the Province of British Columbia has the capacity to be looking at innovation and technology, and figuring out how it can further what they do and how it can help them to grow,” says Nadine Diner, Director of Industry Initiatives at BCIC.

Programs include #BCGO, a province-wide tour that connects businesses with challenges with local BC tech solutions, and the BCIC Ignite Program provides up $300,000 to research projects focusing on natural resources and the applied sciences sector. The B2B Matchmaking Program, which takes place at the #BCTECH Summit, identifies the needs of technology buyers, innovation scouts and government procurement specialists and connects them with innovative, BC-based technology solution providers.

“We try to facilitate connections and meetings that can lead to business opportunities for both the solution providers and the parties looking for solutions,” Diner says.

Kevin Oke, co-founder and VP of sales at Llamazoo, a virtual reality company that develops communication software for enterprise, says the mining industry has started spending more on disruptive technologies, and that those technologies are being used in investor relations and business development.

Llamazoo is pursuing the concept of digital twinning. That technology creates, for businesses with assets like mines, a digital representation of the mine site through virtual reality, so site tours can be taken as virtual tours.

“It’s speeding up processes by centralizing data – it’s easily available to all the different stakeholders, and reducing the need to have people make onsite visits. This is a way to virtually take people to a mine site, without all the issues of travel logistics, carbon footprint, permissions and safety,” Oke says.

Llamazoo’s technology can explore the mining space through the concept spatial data fusion- that takes spatial data and puts it into one central repository, easily accessible and available to stakeholders.

“No matter where you are in the world, you could be monitoring the situation as if you were on the ground, and its giving you the information just in time so you can make adjustments to be as efficient as possible, so you’re saving money and making more money,” Oke says. 

“We’re enabling mining companies to use their plans and their assets, like mines, plans and equipment, in ways that they couldn’t before. Very powerful stuff.”


Read the full article on BCBusiness.



BC Tech Co-op Grants Program

While the BC Tech Co-op Grants Program was established in order to support talent in BC’s technology sector, you don’t necessarily have to be a tech business to take advantage of the program!

If you are a small business and have a tech role to fill, regardless the sector, this program can help,

Tech firms hiring for any roles and non-tech companies hiring for tech-specific roles can apply to enjoy salary support through the program. You may be eligible for up to $10,800 in funding assistance per year, whether you’re considering the hire of a co-op student, have one working for you now, or have hired one in the past.

Are you eligible?

Eligible employers must:

  • Be established in BC.
  • Have less than 100 employees on payroll.
  • Be either:
    • Tech companies hiring for any role
    • Non-tech companies, organizations or non-profits hiring for a tech role
      • A tech role is defined as a role primarily related to developing tech or providing tech support.
  • Be hiring a student for a co-op work term. If you’ve hired a student for a co-op work term in the last 5 years, then you must hire a first-time co-op student.

Apply in three easy steps!

There are three steps to apply for a grant:

  1. Define the role and create a job posting.
  2. Contact an accredited co-op department in BC to have the job approved and posted. Check with the co-op department to ensure the program is accredited. Want to post your job through more than one school? Post through the BC Association for Co-operative Education portal (your job post still needs to be approved by each co-op department).
  3. Submit your BC Tech Co-op Grant application.