During last week’s BC Tech Summit, the provincial government unveiled plans to invest in several initiatives aimed at supporting the province’s tech sector.
Premier John Horgan announced that the government is investing over $102.7 million in funding for 75 post-secondary research projects in BC, which will be deployed through the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF). The projects will work in fields such as advanced supercomputing and clean technology.
The BC government will earmark $12 million towards graduate degree scholarships over the next three years, and will support up to 800 awards of $15,000 for students in graduate degree programs.
The BC government plans to unveil a province-wide tech strategy next year.
The funding will support STEM studies and regional programs, as well programs supporting Indigenous students and women. Beginning this year, nine scholarships of $10,000 each for women in technology, and one for Indigenous women in technology will be awarded through the Irving K. Barber Society.
The BC government will invest $10.5 million in co-op opportunities and entrepreneurial training for post-secondary students with the goal of helping them prepare for the tech sector.
“BC’s success comes from the ideas, innovation, and inspiration of people who call this province home,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology. “From a two-person startup, to large established tech firms and traditional resource industries, innovation can deliver a wealth of benefits to people, companies and our provincial economy. It is about creating good jobs for people in every corner of the province.”
The government is also launching a Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot to attract more international tech talent to the province. Processing will be prioritized for people in tech occupations, such as biotechnologists, software engineers, and web developers. The pilot will allow applicants with a tech job offer of one year or more to be eligible, instead of requiring a permanent job offer.
The province’s interactive Digital Media Tax Credit is being extended for another five years until 2023, and supports interactive, augmented, and virtual reality products for entertainment and commercial use.
The BC government plans to unveil a province-wide tech strategy next year. In February 2018, Alan Winter was appointed BC’s first innovation commissioner to advocate for the tech and innovation sector in Ottawa.
This year’s BC Tech Summit, which is hosted by the government of BC and Innovate BC, attracted a record 9,000 participants. Last year, then-Premier Christy Clark also took the opportunity to use the annual event as a venue for several announcements related to tech. At the time, she unveiled details of the $100 million VC fund dedicated to BC startups, and measures to encourage more trade into the province.
Photo via Twitter.