Accelerate Okanagan, VIATEC, other BC projects receive $5.6 million from federal government

accelerate Okanagan

Seven organizations in British Columbia, including Accelerate Okanagan (AO) and the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) have received investments from the federal government totalling about $5.6 million.

“We want to arm our local scale up companies with the tools they need to experience healthy, sustainable growth and attract and retain top talent.”

Made through Western Economic Diversification, the $2.8 million investment for AO and VIATEC is aimed to implement projects that would support the growth of tech companies through enhanced management and leadership training of company executives.

“A strong and vibrant nation is created when Canadians are positioned to succeed,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. “The investments will ensure that individuals from across British Columbia have access to the tools and training that will allow them to prosper for years to come.”

The University of Victoria will receive $980,000 to assist in advancing, demonstrating, and commercializing technologies at the Centre for Aerospace Research, specifically in the areas of Unmanned Air Systems and the creation of capabilities in space technologies and engineering.

“We’re confident that this programming will increase capacity in our local tech leaders and their C-suite team members leading to increased revenues, job satisfaction, and employment,” said Brea Lake, acting CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. “We want to arm our local scale up companies with the tools they need to experience healthy, sustainable growth and attract and retain top talent.”

The investment also includes $535,000 to support the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development at UVic, specifically as it delivers its new E-commerce Empowering Aboriginal Generation of Leaders and Entrepreneurs (EAGLE) program to three Indigenous communities in BC. The EAGLE program focuses on culturally sensitive and community-tailored entrepreneurship training to help Indigenous youth participate in the economy through business ownership.

RELATED: Grassroots group survey finds pay disparity among Victoria tech workers

UVic will also receive $400,000 to establish Ocean Networks Canada’s Indigenous Learning and Engagement Facility. Ocean Networks Canada will make use of video conferencing hardware and technology to provide individuals in over 50 remote communities, which are mostly Indigenous, with the same oceans research training opportunities offered on-site. The remaining $836,000 will be used to support Camosun College in designing and implementing a new multi-dimensional pre-apprentice program in order to increase participation of women in trades employment.

“If we want to continue to build on our success as a tech community and reach our full potential, it is critical that we coach the leaders and that means supporting their development,” said Lake. “We firmly believe that leadership coaching is essential in building future success for Okanagan tech and we’ve built that into our five-year strategic priorities.”

Image courtesy Accelerate Okanagan via Facebook

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast