The #BCTECH Summit is just about finished, but not before one more huge announcement for the province.
B.C. Premier John Horgan announced a new $102.6 million investment spread through funding 75 postsecondary research projects all around the province, all made possible by the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF). The B.C. government will also be investing $12 million over three years into graduate degree scholarships and an additional $10.5 million in co-op initiatives and entrepreneurial training for postsecondary students.
The total investment comes to around $125 million. These announcements were made by Horgan at the Vancouver Convention Centre this morning.
“B.C. succeeds when British Columbians succeed—and our province’s tech sector is proving that every day,” said Horgan. “Our job is to provide opportunities and partnerships that help companies and individuals innovate, succeed and grow. This approach delivers more jobs and a stronger economy, and helps support health care, education, housing and other public services that make British Columbia a great place to live and work.”
The tech sector in B.C. boasts over 10,000 companies and employs more than 106,000 people. These new investments will continue to add to the province’s regiment of tech-based research and advanced training opportunities.
The $102 million investment will look to advance innovation in fields like advanced supercomputing and clean technology. Overall, the two investments are focusing on the development of STEM talent with a more specific focus on Indigenous students, regional programs and women-in-technology scholarships.
“B.C.’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 province is also expanding their Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot, which allows priority processing for those in tech roles, including engineers, developers and more. The program allows those in highly technical roles to easily transition and migrate to B.C.
With this investment, B.C. is making a decided move to keep refreshing their talent pool while also inviting skilled workers from the rest of Canada and beyond to move to the province. 83,400 tech-related jobs openings are expected by 2027, and B.C. will need to foster growth if they want to keep up, as a recent report from WorkBC found that current labour supply channels will only fill 16,500 jobs by 2021, leaving over 30,000 roles vacant. A big part of those new careers will likely be involved with the Digital Technology Supercluster, which just named former LifeLabs CEO Sue Paish as CEO.
The #BCTECH Summit wraps up tonight with Techfest happening at the Convention Centre.