2013 Year in Review
...and what a year it's been.
A look back on 2013, by BCTIA President & CEO, Bill Tam
2013 has been a banner year for BC’s Technology industry.
At the top end, we are showing a maturation of companies in such a way that we haven’t seen in the better part of a decade. We’ve seen technical and financial breakthroughs from the likes of rocketing companies such as Avigilon, BuildDirect and Vision Critical, as well as emerging companies such as dPoint, Mobify, and Saltworks, to name just a few. This heightened level of activity leaves Vancouver well poised to be home to a number of long-term anchor companies.
This maturing process is core to creating a sustainable technology industry and ecosystem; something that cannot be done alone. The BCTIA continues to work on the “how”: building the types of relationships that can withstand the natural ups and downs of any industry. Investor and author of “Startup Communities,” Brad Feld, famously said, “Community is not a zero sum game.” The only way to make a community work is to have all of the pieces working together.
The BCTIA, along with our Centre4Growth program, are important parts of BC’s technology ecosystem. We understand the importance of growing more mid- to large-sized companies: this fuels the start of additional companies, creates more jobs, attracts larger investment, and elevates the ecosystem that, in turn, can transform our country’s economy.
We recognize that an ‘idea’ is not a business, and that early stage companies must move from the idea phase to prototype to paying customers as quickly as possible. Often, it’s winning the first customer that proves to be the most challenging, and yet the most important, when it comes to moving to the next stage of growth.
At the BCTIA we’ve been a key connector for twenty years. You might say it’s part of our DNA. In the past few years we’ve refined our approach, moving from making casual introductions to an organized and structured approach ensuring the right companies are connected to the right national and multinational corporations – building bridges to customers, investment, and new markets.
Closer to home, we are determined to build stronger connections to BC’s traditional industries and government entities. Using local technology represents a significant strategic advantage for both the user and provider, not to mention the potential to change the landscape of our economy. Why not a “home team first” attitude? Imagine what could happen if we put the same energy and enthusiasm behind supporting our home town businesses as we do our home town sports teams.
Industry sectors do not exist in silos, and we shouldn’t stand for a mindset where one wins at the expense of the other. By building awareness, relationships, capacity and investment across all industry sectors, we create an environment that can endure the natural ups and downs of the economy.
In a province where new innovation flourishes, it spurs the creation of more companies and jobs, attracts international talent and investment, creates more wealth, and in turn accelerates our future.
As we look ahead to 2014 and beyond, we need to challenge ourselves to invest in building a stronger ecosystem, one that provides opportunities for tomorrow and for generations to come.