The governments of Canada and B.C. are helping Accelerate Okanagan speed up its goal of supporting the growth of local technology companies with a $2.1-million investment.
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan announced the investment at the official opening of Accelerate Okanagan on Saturday.
The funding will come over three years and will be used to deliver support programs to high-growth technology companies across the Okanagan. According to Cannan, it was made possible through the Western Economic Partnership Agreement.
“Our government’s priority is working on creating jobs in our economy, this means focusing on the knowledge industry and technology sector,” said Cannan.
“Today’s investment will provide small and emerging businesses, which are pivotal for our economic success, with the tools they need to grow and create jobs in our region.”
Accelerate Okanagan is a not-for-profit organization that supports the acceleration of local startups in the gaming, animation, mobile, web, life sciences and clean energy sectors.
Dr. Moira Stilwell, B.C. Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, Research and Innovation, credited Accelerate Okanagan for creating three successful programs in less than a year.
“The tech firms in the Okanagan clearly know a good thing when they see it. They’re lining up to take advantage of AO’s support for entrepreneurs, from coaching and mentorship to networking to learning the nuts and bolts of how to build a business,” said Dr. Stilwell.
“Our government is looking forward to the companies that will start up here, accelerate and grow with AO’s help.”
Accelerate Okanagan CEO Jason Neale said that the investment will help the organization continue its success.
“We’ve (already) facilitated an environment to enable the creation of 83 high technology jobs. In a world where it’s very difficult now to get a job, it’s quite amazing that we have this growth here,” said Neale.
“I strongly believe with our team and our valuable new funding, that the best is yet to come.”
Douglas Corbishley, chairman of Accelerate Okanagan, was a key figure in the formation of the organization. He said that the technology community is a “gem.”
“It is alive and well; it is creating new businesses; it is creating meaningful jobs right here in the valley,” said Corbishley.
Accelerate Okanagan was formed on Dec. 31, 2010. It serves over 2,000 companies and nearly 4,000 entrepreneurs and technology professionals across the Okanagan and Southern Interior.