BC PNP TECH PILOT KAST

BC Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot

BC PNP TECH PILOT KAST

Are you an employer looking to fill positions for engineers, IT professionals, or industry-related technicians?

The Government of BC is running a pilot program to fast-track the hiring of skilled immigrants for these positions.

The B.C. technology sector is a major driver of economic growth in the province, with tech employment at its highest level ever recorded. The demand for talent in B.C.’s tech sector is increasing faster than the supply.

The priorities for the Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology include establishing B.C. as a preferred location for new and emerging technologies, increasing the growth of domestic B.C. tech companies, and removing barriers to attracting skilled workers.

B.C. is developing the highest quality local talent by introducing students to tech earlier, adjusting training and education in post-secondary institutions and creating work experience opportunities.

Beyond using the skills and talent of B.C. workers, companies need to be able to attract skilled workers from around the world. Tech entrepreneurs and skilled workers from other leading-edge countries can help grow B.C.’s technology sector, leading to more jobs for British Columbians.

In support of these priorities, a pilot under the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) works to ensure the technology sector can attract and retain the talent it needs to be sustained and to grow the sector further.

The BC PNP Tech Pilot helps employers to address their talent needs by providing a fast-tracked, permanent immigration pathway for in-demand foreign workers and international students.

Click HERE for more information.

BC PNP Tech Pilot Features

The BC PNP Tech Pilot key features are based on service, timeliness, prioritization, and engagement in response to the needs of the industry:

  • Service: A dedicated BC PNP concierge for tech employers provides tailored information and navigation assistance of immigration programs and processes.
  • Timeliness: Weekly invitations to apply are issued to qualified skilled tech workers, minimizing the wait for employers and their prospective employees.
  • Prioritization: Tech applications are prioritized during processing to meet the sector’s fast-paced demands.
  • Engagement: Continuous support to tech sector employers through proactive engagement activities and participation at key industry events.

Updates and enhancements to the BC PNP Tech Pilot

BC PNP Tech Pilot extended to June 2019

The BC PNP Tech Pilot has been extended for another year to provide employers with a degree of stability that will allow them to plan for their future staffing needs.

Click HERE for more information.

Updates to eligible Tech Pilot occupations

We have also updated the list of eligible occupations for the Tech Pilot to focus on the 29 tech occupations that have been demonstrated to be in high demand by the tech sector so that we can maintain the speed of service.

Labour market research conducted by the BC Tech Association and the Vancouver Economic Commission identified access to talent as the biggest issue facing the tech sector, posing the most significant barrier to economic growth.

The research identified 32 in-demand tech occupations, and eligibility for the BC PNP Tech Pilot was originally based on these 32 tech occupations. Based on actual demand from tech sector employers in the pilot’s first year, the pilot will continue with 29 of these occupations eligible under the pilot.

This change allows the program to focus resources on prioritizing those tech occupations demonstrated to be in high demand within the tech sector to maintain the speed of processing and high level of service to tech employers.

The complete list of the 29 in-demand tech occupations can be downloaded HERE.

Technology companies hiring for occupations that are not eligible for the BC PNP Tech Pilot are still able to connect with the concierge service regarding their specific needs.

Tech Pilot enhancements to include one-year job offers

The BC PNP Tech Pilot is also being enhanced by reducing the eligibility requirement for a permanent full-time job offer, to a one-year full-time job offer.

As of June 26, 2018, individuals who apply under a Skills Immigration category in an eligible tech occupation must have a job offer of at least one year (365 days) in length. The job offer must have at least 120 days remaining at the time of application to the BC PNP.

Longer duration job offers, including indeterminate job offers, will continue to be eligible.

Click HERE for more information.

KAST Startup Basics

Entrepreneurs: Great Programs to Help You Achieve Your Business Goals in 2019

KAST Startup Basics

Startups and entrepreneurs are making big gains throughout the Kootenays. If you have a business or idea, here are some valuable programs to help you get the support you need to join them!

If you’ve got a new business or a great idea you’re working to bring to market from here in the Kootenays there is a lot of support out there to help you make it happen!

We believe that entrepreneurs create significant community and economic benefit, and programs such as these are fundamental to helping pave the road to growth and success.

Startup Basics offers targeted skills coaching and individualized action plans developed by experienced Executives-in-Residence and supported by industry experts.

If you are an early-stage entrepreneur and need to learn more about business and startup fundamentals you may be a great fit for the Startup Basics Program.

Entrepreneurship can seem a daunting road for those new to the journey. The Startup Basics Program helps minimize the fear by providing the tools to get started, get validated, and get to market.

This program brings skill progression and light-touch mentorship to help early-stage entrepreneurs structure and curate their ideas. All startups and growth stage companies start at the idea stage and nurturing in this phase of the process is an essential service in a productive ecosystem.

This program will serve you best if you’re already in the early stages of your business, armed with an idea or are seriously considering how you’re going to build your company.

BC Venture Acceleration Program helps entrepreneurs accelerate their growth.

The BC Venture Acceleration Program is a paid, structured venture growth program designed to guide, coach, and grow ambitious early-stage technology entrepreneurs, effectively growing their technology ventures.

The program helps entrepreneurs accelerate the process of defining a proven business model based on a set methodology and set of best practices for growing technology companies. It is delivered by a team of Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) and supported by a province-wide network of partners and entrepreneurs.

The goal is to drive economic development and job creation in the province of BC by accelerating the commercialization of technology, resulting in the rapid growth of technology ventures.

Is your company already showing some revenue and investment potential? The RevUp program may be for you!

The RevUp program allows founders and CEOs, as well as their management teams, receive hands-on assistance from a team of experienced Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs), “been there, done it” technology and business professionals.

The ideal RevUp clients is a company that is 1. growing; and 2. creating a new technology product in sectors such as Clean technology, Agricultural technology, Life Sciences, Information & Communications (software) or Advanced Manufacturing.

KAST delivers the RevUp program with support from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and Accelerate Okanagan. KAST is a member of the BC Acceleration Network (BCAN) of 12 technology accelerators, from which we can pull EIR expertise to meet your growing company’s specific needs.

Entrepreneurs in Residence EIRs are experienced and knowledgeable professionals. Businesses in the program are assigned a team of EIRs who become their primary advisor and coach. EIRs can source the specific talent sets your company needs via a combination of supplementary EIRs, subsidized consulting talent and subsidized targeted staffing.

Women in Technology & Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarship

Women in Technology & Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarships

Women in Technology & Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarship

Ten female BC students have been awarded $10,000 Women in Technology and Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarships from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society.

Premier John Horgan announced the scholarships in May 2018 at the BC Tech Summit to inspire and support more women considering these fields.

Women are under-represented in tech-related disciplines such as sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Women receive about 37% of STEM credentials awarded by the B.C. public post-secondary system, compared to 59% of non-STEM program credentials.

“We want to open the doors for more women in the tech sector because they’re underrepresented in tech businesses throughout the province. Women have the knowledge, skills, and tech talent to launch successful careers in a dynamic sector and we are committed to supporting them to get ahead,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “These scholarships are an important first step to giving more women opportunities to succeed in the tech sector.”

To be eligible, students need to demonstrated commitment to pursuing a career in computer science, engineering or mathematics. Read the full press release here.

The tech sector in B.C. is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy generating about $29 billion in revenue, supporting over 106,000 good-paying jobs. The province is home to more than 10,200 tech businesses.

KAST Kootenay tech sector

Technology & Innovation in the Koots: Full STEAM Ahead!

KAST Kootenay tech sector

The Koots tech sector is drawing talent, inspiring entrepreneurs, and providing a welcome home for anyone looking to bring their idea, product, or service to market.

2018 has been a great year for the evolution of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) throughout the Kootenay region as well as the province of British Columbia as a whole.

Since the KPMG British Columbia Technology Report Card in 2016, where it was reported that B.C.’s tech sector is growing faster than not only those in the rest of Canada but also our American neighbours, the sector is still growing, full steam ahead!

The impact of the BC Tech Sector cannot be denied:

  • it comprises over 9500 companies spanning a number of industries: Interactive and Digital Media (IDM), Cleantech, Lifesciences, Information & Communication Technology (ICT) as well as IT & Engineering services;
  • it generates over $15 billion dollars per year;
  • more than 90,000 jobs are created for British Columbians in the tech sector alone.

A marker of BC’s leadership in tech and innovation was federal funding awarded to the British Columbia-led Digital Technology Supercluster in the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative. The initiative is estimated to create 50,000 jobs and inject $15 billion in GDP into BC’s economy over the next 10 years.

The West Kootenay specifically is, more and more, becoming a destination for tech and knowledge workers from around the country.

Initiatives such as Imagine Kootenay, promoting our much-coveted lifestyle and the growing number of opportunities available; and the exciting regional branding effort, Metal Tech Alley, developing multi-lateral, multi-dimensional partnerships to help clear the path for startups and businesses to succeed are welcome developments.

The Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies (MIDAS) Fabrication Lab has become something of a crown jewel in the region when it comes to entrepreneur support and training in fabrication, manufacturing, and rapid prototyping. MIDAS allows for students, entrepreneurs, startups and businesses to access an MIT-certified digital fabrication laboratory, or “Fab Lab, which includes almost $450,000 in state-of-art equipment as well as valuable expertise and training to help bring innovative ideas to life.

Here at KAST, working with valued partners, have strived for the past 20 years to provide the resources and support to continue to encourage entrepreneurs to grow their startup and business ideas to reach their goals. Confirming to anyone curious about the potential of the region, that the infrastructure and support are in place for STEAM to grow and develop here.

Selkirk College with campuses in Castlegar, Trail, and Nelson, is steadfast in their commitment to supporting and promoting technology & innovation throughout the region through their programming. Their Environment & Geomatics program is making news for significantly contributing to the career success of students.  They have developed an effective combination of classroom education, outdoor learning and real-world, hands-on, experience.

The college’s new Digital Arts and New Media program offers students a solid foundation in traditional and graphic arts, web site development, video and sound production, animation and digital media. It’s an innovative program designed to meet increased demand for skills in advanced production techniques, effective project management and the new media business environment.

Examples of other regional organizations and businesses shaking up West Kootenay innovation include:

  • SMRT1 – founded by MIDAS Fab Lab Director, Brad Pommen, is shaking up conventional vending. Smrt1 is a Nelson-based company specializing in solutions that are a fusion of 3D interactive learning, social marketing and instant product sales.
  • i4C Innovation Centre – a fundamental link between IIoT industry gaps and rapid commercialization of metals related products who will be concentrating on advanced acceleration and mid-level manufacturing of microelectronics for IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) products.
  • Advanced BioCarbon 3D – awarded the 2018 BC Innovation BC Ignite Award of $300,000, developing a new type of 3D-printing filament from 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fibre derived from lignin, which are the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood.
  • I/O Design & Engineering – design machinery and components for heavy industry; excelling at solving problems and developing cost-effective engineered solutions. Services include designing automated equipment to troubleshooting and redesigning existing mechanical equipment.

#madeatMIDAS #metaltechalley

#BCTECH Summit 2019

#BCTechSummit 2019 March 11-13, 2019

#BCTECH Summit 2019

#BCTechSummit 2019 is just around the corner, March 11-13, 2019 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Last year’s #BCTECH Summit 2018 broke records. Join us – the teams from KAST and MIDAS –  for the largest innovation conference in Western Canada.

Large corporations. Small companies and start-ups. Job-seekers and recruiters. Innovation leaders and media. They’re all here and looking to connect, build relationships and help the BC technology ecosystem take its place on the world stage.

Global Thought Leadership

Global thought leadership gained through keynote speakers, interactive sessions and deep dives covering innovation and its impact on the way we work, live and play. The #BCTECH Summit will bring together the world’s brightest entrepreneurs and creative minds to shape and challenge the future of business.

Largest Showcase of Innovation in B.C.

Get a glimpse of cutting-edge made-in-BC discoveries and inventions in our Marketplace, Technology Showcase, Startup Village and Ignite Research Pavilion. Collaborate with our emerging entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders and service builders.

Business Deals through B2B Matchmaking

This program connects large corporations, technology buyers, innovation scouts and government procurement specialists with B.C.-based technology solution providers.

Inspiring Youth 

There’s a career in tech waiting for our young people! Open to BC high school and post-secondary students.

Stay tuned for information about tickets (coming soon!) as well as featured speakers and other special events, including the annual #BCTECH Summit Koots meetup – more info to come!

Accelerate Okanagan: Economic Impact of Okanagan Tech Sector

Accelerate Okanagan: Economic Impact of Okanagan Tech Sector

Accelerate Okanagan: Economic Impact of Okanagan Tech Sector

We love to hear how our neighbouring regions are leveraging technology to grow their economies. It’s so exciting to see how a healthy and growing tech sector is impacting greater economic development – as we believe it inevitably does!

Last year, Accelerate Okanagan commissioned the 2017 Economic Impact Study in conjunction with the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) and the results indicate that the Okanagan region’s technology sector is booming. In fact, the report has lots of good news for the Okanagan economy, including the year-over-year economic growth of 15% since 2013.

The tech sector is estimated to contribute $1.67 billion to the region’s economy.

Accelerate Okanagan: Economic Impact of Okanagan Tech Sector 1.67 Billion

There are now 693 technology businesses operating in the Okanagan, which represents a 24% increase since the first survey was conducted in 2013. Those companies, including home-grown success stories like BananaTag, Yeti Farm, Piscine Energetics, employ a total of 12,474 workers.

“We are excited by the consistent growth indicated by the findings in this report,” says Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. “They’re proof of what those working in the Okanagan tech sector have long known: big things are happening here, and we’re just getting started. The Okanagan is ripe with potential for entrepreneurs of all kinds.”