A forum this week in Kelowna will seek to combine businesses looking for high-tech solutions with local innovators.
The B.C. Growth Opportunities Tour will make a return visit to the Okanagan on Friday as part of a tour across the province.
More than 27 companies are making presentations to potential solution providers building on more than 600 business connections that have come from past forums.
Tracey Cochrane is owner of the Kelowna-based Points West, a firm that develops audio visual, acoustics and health care products.
She is one of the presenters on the 2017 tour having seen the benefit of making business connections from her participation in past forums.
“It’s a unique way of communicating, of getting companies to come together with innovative idea providers and driving potential partnerships,” Cochrane said.
John Longbottom, IBM Canada’s executive for the public sector in B.C., says the opportunities’ tour helps fuel innovation, as the expertise and collaborative initiative that stems from this tour helps drive the growth of business and industry across the province.
“The B.C. Growth Opportunities Tour is what our province needs to ignite our regional economies,” said Carl Anderson, president and CEO of the B.C. Innovation Council that organizes the tour, which also makes stops in Victoria, Surrey, Kamloops, Nelson and Prince George.
“Understanding and solving a market pain (challenge) provides a real business opportunity for the solution provider and potentially allows access to national and global markets.
“This tour builds ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s no surprise how many meaningful connections have been made and market driven solutions produced.”
For Cochrane, she sees the value in collecting a large group of smart people in the same room and creating opportunities to help each other.
“Just to be in the room with access to input from innovative minds and networking potential opportunities is a valuable thing to have,” Cochrane said.
“I listen to other presenters and what their technology needs are, and maybe I know someone who can connect with them to solve a challenge they are facing.”
Cochrane says that attitude is pervasive within the Okanagan high-tech industry, with the Okanagan Innovation Centre serving as the central incubator for that communicative process to be actively exercised.
“It’s not easy to differentiate yourself as there is a lot of noise out there,” Cochrane said in trying to market ideas as a potential investment start-up or to meet a challenge for a particular company.
The Kelowna forum takes place Friday, 11:30 a.m., at the Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort. To register as a participant, go to www.picatic.com/BCGOKEL.
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