B.C.’s high tech industry is thriving

Accelerate Okanagan CEO says potential for province and specifically the Okanagan region remains very optimistic.

Pilar Portela


A recent economic impact assessment commissioned by Accelerate Okanagan (AO) shows that the tech sector is more than alive and well; it is thriving.

The direct and indirect impact of the Okanagan technology sector in 2013 was estimated to be $1.02 billion.

As the new CEO of Accelerate Okanagan, I am not surprised at the results of this study. The B.C. tech community, and in particular the Okanagan sector, is what brought me here in the first place.

Last month, I traveled to Vancouver to celebrate the BC Innovation Council’s 10th anniversary. I met with several key individuals advancing B.C.’s technology sector including other partners of the B.C. Acceleration Network, delivering the Venture Acceleration Program province-wide.

It is impossible to quantify the real value of the partnership between Accelerate Okanagan and BCIC, but it is without a doubt the reason programs like AO’s Venture Acceleration Program  and the BCIC- New Venture Competition give our province tech startups a real chance at becoming successful businesses.

It is rare when a partnership brings even balance to both sides. BCIC’s programs supports technology entrepreneurs, providing them with the tools, resources and expert guidance they need to build successful companies.

Accelerate Okanagan develops and delivers programs that are innovative, curated and sector specific, which in turn BCIC can leverage with other network partners. Our relationship with BCIC gives us the opportunity to impact the Okanagan tech community and beyond.

Accelerate Okanagan’s mission is to increase the number of technology companies that start and grow in the Okanagan through community building and entrepreneurial development. This assessment shows we have done, and are continuing to do just that.

The companies that took part in the study represented a variety of stages of maturity, from start ups to well established organizations. Here in the Okanagan, our two most predominant sectors are technology software and services, and new media and Internet technology.

Overall, in the high tech sector revenues increased by 3.5% to $23.2 billion and the GDP had 3.4% growth, which is double the overall 2012 provincial GDP growth. These figures are something we all should be excited about.

The Accelerate Okanagan team will continue to encourage the creation and innovation of local technology businesses. I am dedicated to increasing collaboration between national and international tech hubs, which in turn help local startups and established tech industry companies flourish.