Over the course of two years the Valley’s technology workforce has increased by 1,049 people —the equivalent of five companies the size of Kelowna-based QHR Technology, which recently sold for an estimated $170 million.
That, as well as a number of other impressive statistics was the focus of a 2015 report on the tech industry commissioned by Accelerate Okanagan and released this week.
“Technology innovation is rapidly transforming every industry and sector,” said Accelerate Okanagan’s CEO, Raghwa Gopal.
“Nearly all business is becoming ‘technology-enabled’. The growth we’re seeing is being driven from companies across the whole region, from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos, in a wide range of sectors — including agriculture, energy, healthcare, software, telecommunications, and advanced manufacturing.”
In 2015, the Okanagan technology industry contributed $1.3 billion to the overall Okanagan economy, including direct revenues of $1.02 billion generated by technology companies, and an indirect impact of $284 million from businesses supplying inputs to the technology sector. These figures represent an increase of over $300 million of revenue contribution to the Okanagan economy since 2013 – an unprecedented 30 per cent growth rate in two years. In 2013 the overall BC technology industry contributed $23 billion to the economy, with a 5.2 per cent annual growth.
According to the 2015 economic impact survey, the Okanagan Valley is home to 633 technology businesses with a collective workforce of 7,600 employees, with the average business employing eight people. For reference, the 2013 Okanagan study showed 558 technology businesses with a workforce of 6,551 employees
“It’s really gratifying to see this growth trend in our local technology sector,” said City of Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. “It has taken vision and hard work by Accelerate Okanagan, local technology companies and local governments to establish an environment where talented young people want to live and excel in their work.”
Commissioned by Accelerate Okanagan, the study was conducted by a third party researcher with Small Business BC, and was focused on assessing two-year growth of the Okanagan technology sector, further to a similar 2013 report.