#BCTECH Summit Last chance to apply for the Investment Showcase

Last Chance to Apply for the Investment Showcase at #BCTECH Summit 2019

#BCTECH Summit Last chance to apply for the Investment Showcase

The #BCTECHSummit Investment Showcase connects B.C.’s most promising startups with leading investors from around the world.

Pitching Applications close today! (Dec 11 at 11:59pm PST).

Highlights from 2018:

  • 50 startups pitched in diverse sectors like HealthTech, CleanTech, IoT, AR/VR, and Gaming.
  • 150+ global and local investors attended, representing more than $200 billion.
  • 77% of those investors booked follow-up meetings with pitching companies.
Apply today if you are one of B.C.’s top growth-oriented startups seeking seed or series A funding.

Wanted for 2019: Leading Investors and Growth-Oriented Startups

  • Investors: Meet innovative technology companies with a global market, strong traction and impressive teams—chosen by a selection committee made up of VCs, angel investors and industry experts.
  • Startups: If you are one of B.C.’s top growth-oriented startups seeking Seed or Series A funding, then apply today to participate in either the Roundtable Series or Funding Pitches.

Why and How to Participate: Get Funding, Expertise and Exposure

  • Seed Funding Roundtable Series: Startups seeking seed capital of under $3 million are invited to participate in the Seed Funding Roundtable Series. The Series will give founders direct access to investors, where they will have the opportunity to gain critical feedback and expertise, and of course, pitch their product.
  • Series A Funding Pitches: Startups seeking capital of $3 million or more are invited to participate in the Series A Funding Pitches, 5-minute investment pitches, which are followed by a 5-minute Q&A session and extended networking.
  • Leverage Media Attention: The #BCTECHSummit attracts local, national and international media. In 2018, 125 accredited media showed up to break news and tell the stories of the technologies and industries of the future. This is your opportunity to leverage the attention that the #BCTECHSummit commands and position your company for growth.
Regional Innovation Ecosystems

Regional Innovation Ecosystems

Regional Innovation Ecosystems

The Regional Innovation Ecosystems program aims to create, grow and nurture inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs throughout the innovation continuum – incremental to truly transformative innovations.

RIE Program

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) in western Canada. Through RIE, they are making targeted investments in not-for-profit organizations that support businesses in priority sectors to innovate, grow and compete globally. They are also fostering inclusive growth by supporting under-represented groups, mainly women, Indigenous peoples and young entrepreneurs, to more fully participate in the innovation economy.

By providing funds to advance the development of regional innovation ecosystems, WD is delivering on the Budget 2018 commitment to grow the western Canadian economy. This will ensure Canada’s prosperity for decades to come.

The RIE program stream builds on the federal government’s Innovation and Skills Plan. This plan helps make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation that creates well-paying jobs and grows the middle class.

Fostering an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness. Objectives of RIE:

  • Support and grow strategic clusters to leverage regional strengths and support businesses commercialize products, technologies and services, and to scale-up.
  • Enhance the development and reach of business accelerators and incubators, and other organizations, which support entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies with high-growth potential.
  • Support projects led by innovation-oriented organizations to increase and promote business productivity and global competitiveness, and investment and talent attraction.
  • Enhance the capacity of ecosystems to support underrepresented groups, including women, Indigenous peoples, and young entrepreneurs.

Who can apply for RIE?

RIE is open to not-for-profit organizations that support businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs, for start-up, growth, productivity, technology commercialization, technology adoption, export and investment attraction, including:

Businesses must meet the following mandatory criteria:

  • post-secondary educational institutions;
  • Business Accelerator and Incubators;
  • angel networks;
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) organizations, including Indigenous-led not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous-owned businesses; social enterprises;
  • a group of eligible recipients such as an industry association or consortium; and a municipality and all other municipal-type organizations.

WD is now accepting applications for RIE on an ongoing basis. For information on how to apply, please contact their Vancouver office: 

Telephone: 604-666-6256
Toll-Free: 1-888-338-9378
Email: wd.bc-cb.deo@canada.ca

cam whitehead KAST Executive Director

KAST Welcomes New Executive Director: Cam Whitehead

cam whitehead KAST Executive Director

Introducing Cam Whitehead, KAST Executive Director – Thank you Don Freschi!

The board is happy to welcome Dr. Cam Whitehead as KAST’s new Executive Director. Cam will support KAST’s plan to continue to grow and foster a culture that values science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship across our region.

Cam Whitehead is returning to the Kootenays from Victoria, where he worked for the Ministries of Jobs, Trade and Technology and Citizens’ Services. He brings strong experience in strategic planning and workforce development in the technology sector.

His portfolios included the Provincial Nominee Program Skills Stream overhaul, the PNP Tech Pilot, the Global Skills Strategy and the Centre for Data-Driven Innovation. Cam lives in Blewett with his wife Melissa Welsh, founder of Pixel Cents Software, and two kids Oliver and Clio.

The board would also like to extend its deep thanks to Don Freschi for his dedication to KAST—as a long time as a volunteer board member, as an Executive-in-Residence and most recently as our ED.

While Don is stepping down as ED, we’re delighted to have him continue to contribute as an EIR—Don is recognized as an innovative entrepreneur across our region and draws people to KAST who are looking for top-tier mentoring via the Venture Acceleration Program.

KAST also has benefited from Don’s innovative and disruptive ideas on strategy —Don has a unique way of breaking down traditional barriers and creating new opportunities for KAST, our clients and partners.

Better Equipped for Connecting to the World

Basin-Boundary Rural High Speed Internet: Better Equipped for Connecting to the World

Better Equipped for Connecting to the World

Over 12,000 Basin-Boundary households can look forward to better high-speed Internet access

After more than three years of hard work, residents in over 12,000 rural households, in more than 62 communities in the region, will have access to new or improved high-speed Internet.

“Rural Columbia Basin and Boundary residents love their communities for many reasons, including the remoteness, but being able to rely on the Internet to connect with the larger world—and within our own region—has become essential,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new high-speed service means residents in these areas can now access resources and enjoy opportunities that increase their quality of life.”

Partnerships with 14 Internet service providers to secure funding from the federal Connecting Canadians program, the provincial Connecting British Columbia Program and regional districts, in addition to its own funding, allowed the Columbia Basin Trust to improve access to high-speed Internet in rural communities.

Additionally, from planning to implementation, it was the Trust’s collaboration with a Regional Broadband Committee comprised of the regional districts of East Kootenay, Central Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary and Columbia Shuswap, and the Village of Valemount and the Ktunaxa Nation Council that helped make it happen.

“Improving access to high-speed Internet in our rural communities was a key priority for the Regional Broadband Committee,” said Rob Gay, Regional Broadband Committee Chair and Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area C Director. “We’re excited to see the completion of this project and all the benefits that it brings to rural area citizens.”

Important improvements allowing for significantly better connection

The project’s $8-million budget allowed for two significant improvements: the ISPs were able to expand or improve their infrastructure, most of which is wireless; and, the Trust was able to expand or improve its existing fibre optic broadband network so that ISPs could better connect to it.

The new equipment now enables a download speed of at least five megabits per second to rural households with higher speeds available in most communities.

“It’s vitally important for smaller communities throughout B.C. to have reliable, high-speed access in order to grow local economies, create jobs, access education, health care, emergency services and connect with friends and family,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “These significant accomplishments are the result of collaboration between many parties and serves as a model for other regions wanting to expand connectivity in B.C. Congratulations to everyone involved on this important achievement.”

Read more about the story HERE.

Bringing the Latest Technology to Basin Communities

Bringing the Latest Technology to Basin Communities

Bringing the Latest Technology to Basin Communities

The Columbia Basin Trust’s new Community Technology Program helps create tech-enabled spaces.

Much of life today revolves around technology. More and more people are seeing new opportunities in the areas of video and music production, creating digital art and animation or recording their own podcasts. Yet not everyone has access to the technology required to participate or thrive in this digital world.

Soon, more Columbia Basin residents will be able to access digital equipment and software, with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s new Community Technology Program.

The two-year, $1.5-million program will provide grants and support to registered non-profits, and First Nations and local governments that operate public spaces like libraries and community centres. These organizations will be able to outfit their public space with sophisticated digital equipment so that residents can access the latest technology to help bring their creative ideas to life.

“It’s easy to say that everyone should be online these days, or using state-of-the-art digital equipment, but not everyone has the means to do so,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “This new program will help level the playing field so that Basin residents can enhance their digital literacy and get creative. They can try out things like 3D printers, robotics kits or receive training to learn, connect and create using technology for free at community spaces.”

Creating a tech-enabled community space may include purchasing equipment such as desktop computers with specialized software, video cameras, and digitization and recording studio equipment. The program will also support renovations to house the equipment, or acquiring suitable furniture. Educational and training components that teach the public how to use the equipment will also be supported.

Interested organizations must submit an Expression of Interest by December 17, 2018.

Selected organizations will work with a program advisor to develop the concept and write the application. A second intake will be held later in 2019. Learn more at ourtrust.org/communitytech.

This program is one of the ways the Trust helps communities address their priorities. It also supports community efforts through several other programs, including its Community Development Program and Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs. Learn more at ourtrust.org/community.

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.