Ryan Holmes’ open letter to BC Premier Christy Clark

BC Premier Christy Clark

Christy,
 

Congratulations on the new program.

This is an amazing commitment to technology and our future. Congratulations on this leadership!

I wanted to share my two cents and a few thoughts. Overall, I get a bit nervous with 100% of this $100 million being lent by the government to Venture Capitalists to invest. There is potential for bad investments, funds get lost in management fees, and worst case, in 4 years, the voters have nothing to show for investment which leaves them unsupportive of future investment.

Let’s hedge our risk. As there is a global talent shortage for developers and engineers, let’s take 1/2 and invest a different way…

  • $43 million on technology education (computer science, technology entrepreneurship accelerators, web development bootcamps, etc.) will go a very far way
  • $2 million on education awareness/marketing for students
  • $5 million on business development creating incentives for the Amazons, Facebooks, etc., of the world to create engineering and customer support centres in BC

At the end of 2-4 years, you have highly trained talent that pairs with large technology businesses like Facebook and Amazon who will set up engineering centres employing high paid workforce. With the Canadian dollar at a 30% discount, this is a no-brainer for them as long as the province can guarantee talent.

In the short term, you create thousands of high paying BC jobs.

In the long term, the alum of this education will also create their own startups, and the other 50m there for investment in their ideas. These will be the people who go build the next Hootsuite, Slack, Vision Critical, Plentyoffish, BuildDirect, Recon Instruments, Foodee, Global Relay, Elastic Path Software, TIO Networks, Bench.co, Payfirma, BroadbandTV, SHOEme, Quietly, etc etc.

Again, congratulations on this bold investment. I am a huge fan of technology and believe that this is the best bet for our economy moving into the future.

Syndicated with permission from Ryan Holmes’ (highly active) Facebook post.

Image courtesy Chad Hipolito via Huffington Post.

Ryan Holmes

Ryan Holmes

CEO @hootsuite, Founder @invoke. I like social, startups, grownups, cycling, am learning to walk on hands and addicted to yoga.

  • Peter Elkins

    If I was holding the magic wand at that time, I would have used this $100M to stimulate early stage investing in communities all over BC using what has been referred to as venture philanthropy, because we believe attaching a provincial VCC to local funds to community based professional service accelerators is the key to unlocking a new approach to economic development in our communities and ultimately creating new community wealth and local jobs.

    What would you do to stimulate the economy if you had $100M to pour into BC?

  • Hussein Hallak

    Brilliant Ryan,

    As you mentioned, this is nothing compared to the billions the government is spending on other things.

    While this money can be put to good use for sure, but not in the hands of the government, they don’t understand startups or entrepreneurs.

    We need the leaders of the tech sector in BC, entrepreneurs like you, who know the pains and the challenges of building a tech company, from idea to startup to a growing business, to come together as a board of directors and/or advisors that can guide how the funds are invested.

    Without working together and building the future together, this will be another failed initiative that will have minimal impact, and we will be back right where we started a few years from now.

    We can do it differently when we work together as a community and work in partnership with the government to build a brilliant future of breakthrough growth for the sector, the community and all Canadians.