Kelowna Innovators Presented with Local and Global Market Opportunities

Sixth Stop on Provincewide Tour to Showcase Regional Tech Scene

VANCOUVER, March 3, 2017 /CNW/ - The BC Innovation Council—a Crown agency of the Province—is helping B.C. companies find solutions to the challenges they face through a seven-city Regional Innovation Opportunities tour that arrives in Kelowna today. The tour is connecting over 20 companies with hundreds of local business owners to share insights and gain access to potential new customers and global markets. The tour provides businesses with real business opportunities in seven regions throughout the province.

Home to Accelerate Okanagan, a member of the BC Innovation Council's BC Acceleration Network, Kelowna is the province's third largest tech hub. The region boasts approximately 630 tech firms employing 7,600 people that contribute $1.3 billion to the overall Okanagan economy, according to Accelerate Okanagan's 2015 Economic Impact Study. The region's tech industry is also supported by three post-secondary institutions with tech-focused programming, including University of British Columbia Okanagan, Okanagan College, and the Centre for Arts Technology.

"B.C.'s tech industry is booming, with over 100,000 jobs in B.C.– and counting," said Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. "The Regional Innovation Opportunities tour will help Kelowna's vibrant tech sector keep growing by connecting with other industries to spark new ideas and opportunities."

The tour is giving Kelowna businesses the chance to collaborate with larger companies, government agencies and entrepreneurs, to find solutions to their business challenges. It is also an opportunity for companies to network and build their businesses, leading to possible job opportunities and new customers that could expose companies to national and worldwide markets.

"Throughout this tour, we've been blown away by the incredible innovation being developed in regions across British Columbia, and we expect the Okanagan to continue this trend," said Carl Anderson, president & CEO, BC Innovation Council. "By bringing unique business opportunities to regions across the province, we're helping companies innovate, grow, and create jobs—so people can build businesses in the places where they live with their families."

Examples of companies and the types of challenges that they will present in Kelowna include:

  • IBM, seeking a way to track the location of technicians during field operations.
  • FortisBC, seeking to leverage technology to increase the supply of renewable natural gas in a cost-effective way.
  • Munden Ventures Ltd., looking to track productivity of log harvesting equipment from multiple manufacturers in one dashboard.
  • Lightship Works Inc., seeking an affordable and portable data connectivity solution for remote areas.

"The Regional Innovation Opportunities tour puts B.C. tech first," said Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. "The Okanagan currently has 633 tech firms that employ approximately 7,600 people. By solving industry problems together, our local tech sector and their potential business partners can create new jobs."

The first-of-its-kind tour will build a stronger network of tech companies throughout the province, giving local businesses in communities outside the Lower Mainland an opportunity to showcase their innovation provincewide and build their businesses in the communities they know and love.

"Technology evolves so quickly that businesses aren't always aware of the newest innovation out there," said Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission. "This tour will help industry access local technology to solve their biggest challenges, or even inspire Kelowna's tech innovators to create something completely new."

The Regional Innovation Opportunities tour has visited six communities to date, including Prince George, Victoria, Kamloops, Castlegar, Terrace and now Kelowna. The tour will end in Nanaimo on March 6, 2017. For more information about the challenges and the opportunities they represent, visit: bcic.ca/regional-innovation-opportunities

About BC Innovation Council (www.bcic.ca) 
The BC Innovation Council accelerates the growth and success of B.C. companies by providing resources and market opportunities for applied innovations that solve challenges and drive competitiveness in B.C. industries. Through the annual #BCTECH Summit and support of the B.C. government's #BCTECH Strategy, BCIC is fostering the growth of competitive companies that generate revenue, produce high-paying skilled jobs and drive economic development in B.C.

SOURCE BC Innovation Council

For further information: Media Contact: William Johnson, Communications Manager, BC Innovation Council, wjohnson@bcic.ca, 604 619.4163

RELATED LINKS
http://www.bcinnovationcouncil.com

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