Six B.C. Tech Startups Show Off Work in Provincial Government’s new ‘Startup in Residence (Stir)’ Pilot Project

After 16 intensive weeks collaborating on projects to improve government services for British Columbians, six B.C. tech startups are showing off their work.

Tech startups participating in the Startup in Residence (STIR) pilot project were joined by Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston and government partners this past November during a Demonstration Day event in Vancouver – pitching unique technology solutions to challenges identified by the province.

From modernizing the way people access land-use planning information, to providing social workers with real-time available housing options for children in need, each STIR project has given the six tech startups experience working with government. This also enables them to use the government as a client reference when bidding on future contracts.

“The STIR pilot program is a win-win for the B.C. tech sector and for all British Columbians,” said Ralston. “It creates opportunities for made-in-B.C. technology companies to be partners in innovation with government to help grow their businesses, while improving government service delivery for citizens.”

As the first provincial program of its kind in Canada, the pilot brings the ideas and expertise of startup tech companies together with government business areas to rapidly solve public sector technology challenges. The program makes it easier for B.C. technology companies to do business with government.

“STIR is about challenging tech startups to help government find new solutions – B.C. startups have the skills and ideas to meet that challenge,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Technology Rick Glumac. “Procuring government work can be complicated, and this pilot project helps make it easier for smaller B.C. companies to successfully compete for government contracts.”

The projects of the six participating companies and their partner ministries are as follows:

  • Vancouver-based Arkit teamed up with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNR) to modernize the way people access information about land-use planning throughout British Columbia.
  • Big Bang Analytics in Victoria and the Ministry of Education partnered to help school districts access and analyze information more easily.
  • Vancouver’s Design + Environment and App-Scoop teamed up with FLNR to deliver digital literacy training to public servants in an interactive and memorable way.
  • Latero Labs of Vancouver and the Ministry of Children and Family Development worked on a tool to help social workers match children in care with the best available housing options in real time.
  • Victoria-based Purpose Five teamed up with the government’s Digital Experience Division to create a tool that intuitively tracks all government services and guides internal decision-making on how to best deliver them.

“By participating in this pilot, these startup companies have been able to collaborate with the B.C. government and access many resources that contribute to increasing their competitiveness in the market. Most importantly, this program gives companies the experience and confidence to compete with bigger companies, aligning with our vision to strengthen and support B.C. startups,” said James Maynard, president and CEO, Wavefront.

STIR helps B.C. startups overcome barriers faced in the past, allowing them to compete for government contracts through a more flexible and innovative problem-based procurement method. It was launched through the #BCTECH Strategy to give local tech companies a chance to sell to government by making the process easier and more transparent.

The trial period for each project runs until March 31, 2018. Each project has the potential to continue for four years through annual contracts.

For STIR project company bios, full challenge descriptions and product vision statements, click here:

Quick Facts:

  • The technology sector directly employs over 106,000 people, and wages for those jobs are around 85% higher than B.C.’s average.
  • B.C. has seen a 3.3% rise in the number of new technology companies in 2016, growing to over 10,200 businesses.
  • Employment in the tech sector rose 4.1%, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 3% and national tech sector employment growth of 0.3%.
  • B.C. tech wages and salaries hit a new all-time high for the sixth consecutive year, climbing 7.4% to just under $9.4 billion.
  • The tech sector produced approximately $28.9 billion in revenue in 2016, a rise of 9.2% from 2015.

Learn More:

To watch the Demonstration Day livestream, visit: http://video.web.gov.bc.ca/public/townhall/live/stir.html

B.C. Startup in Residence program: http://gov.bc.ca/startupinresidence

Originally posted at T-Net.

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