BC govt dedicating additional $87 million towards BC Tech Strategy

british columbia parliament

The British Columbia government has unveiled its budget for 2017, revealing a number of initiatives affecting the province’s tech sector.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced the budget. The government announced an additional $87 million over three years towards the province’s BC Tech strategy, though it will provide more specifics on funding allocation at the BC Tech Summit in March.

This $87 million amount will be divided among ministries that support the tech sector, including the ministry of advanced education ($46 million), the ministry of technology, innovation, and citizen’s services ($20 million), the ministry of tourism, jobs, and skills training ($18 million), and the ministry of international trade ($3 million).

“BC’s focus on growing its tech ecosystem by addressing access to talent, capital, and customers is positive sign for the future of BC’s burgeoning tech sector,” said Benjamin Bergen, executive director of the Canadian Council of Innovators.

According to de Jong, BC’s tech sector employs 100,000 people in the province, and contributed $14.1 billion to BC’s overall economic output in 2015.

The budget includes cutting the small business corporate income tax from five percent to two percent, and expanding tax credits for tech, scientific research, experimental development, and VC funding to support the tech sector. The budget for small business venture capital tax credits will increase to $38.5 million from $35 million.

Another potential area of opportunity for BC tech companies could also be found in its capital spending on health infrastructure. Capital spending on health infrastructure will total $2.7 billion over the next three years to improve health facilities, medical and diagnostic equipment, and IT systems.

“When BC companies do well on the global stage, BC families do well at home,” said Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave.

In December 2015, BC unveiled a $100 million fund for tech companies in the province. In October 2016, the government revealed that Toronto-based Kensington Capital Partners would manage the fund, and an initial investment in Mojio. Vanedge Capital received $15 million from the Tech Fund that same year.

The fund was part of the government’s larger BC Tech strategy, which is meant to encourage job creation and entrepreneurship in the province based on three pillars: providing capital to companies, attracting and fostering top talent, and make it easier to access new markets. The strategy also includes integrating basic coding skills for over 600,000 BC students.

The full budget can be found here.

This story is being updated…

Image via Shuttershock

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.