A new study commissioned by Accellerate Okanagan is touting the tech industry as a financial boon to the Okanagan.
The Okanagan tech industry contributed $1.02 billion to the local economy in 2013, according to the study.
This includes a direct impact of $797 million in revenues generated by tech companies as well as an indirect impact of $223 million created by businesses that supply inputs to the technology sector.
Accelerate Okanagan CEO, Pilar Portela, says that the study clearly shows why the Okanagan is one of the best places in Canada to start or invest in a tech business.
“Startups and tech companies in the Okanagan have great access to vital resources. With over 6,500 highly skilled tech workers, an international airport that offers non-stop flights to 64 destinations, and easy access to vital business support programs and services, the Okanagan is a thriving entrepreneurial community that offers everything today’s startups need for success.”
The growth of the tech industry in the Okanagan is creating thousands of jobs for the many highly skilled people who move to the area to enjoy the Okanagan lifestyle. For Accelerate Okanagan and other local organizations that support the tech industry, this is good news.
According to the survey, the Okanagan Valley is home to 558 technology businesses with a collective workforce of 6,551 employees. The average business has ten employees (eight full-time and two part-time) and works with two independent contractors. It is estimated that there are 1,920 self-employed technology workers in the Okanagan.
Technology employees also tend to be slightly younger than local employees in other industries, although all age groups are represented in the industry. 38 per cent of the Okanagan tech sector employees are under the age of 35.
Although historically the tech industry has been a mostly male-occupied sector, this trend is changing. The study shows that one quarter of local tech employees are women. Based on local initiatives highlighting Women in Tech, Accelerate Okanagan is optimistic that this percentage will increase over the next few years.
Overall, the Okanagan tech sector is diverse, growing and makes a significant contribution to the local economy. Accelerate Okanagan’s continued support and promotion of the sector will be important in raising the profile of technology businesses in the region.
The study has a margin of error of 9.1% and is accurate 19 times out of 20.