2018 BC Tech Report Card: BC tech economy takes its place as a clear Canadian leader

The story of British Columbia’s tech industry continues to be a story of success and sky-high opportunity.

It’s no surprise that BC’s fast-growing tech sector is a leading economic driver of growth in our province: technology is a tool empowering businesses, people, and governments to tackle important problems and improve lives. Our ecosystem has matured and flourished in the last two years, building ever closer connections and meaningful partnerships through initiatives like the Digital Technology Supercluster and the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.

Since 2012, BC Tech has teamed up with KPMG to assess the impact of the technology sector in BC, and with this 4th report card BC’s tech economy takes its place as a clear Canadian leader. In 2018’s report card, the BC technology sector’s economic performance received an A compared to other BC industries, and —for the first time— an A compared to other Canadian provinces. This is a tremendous achievement!

There’s much to be proud of here, and we want to congratulate our amazing tech companies, workers, and leaders for their accomplishments. BC’s tech ecosystem is putting up healthy numbers.

Two areas for development highlighted by the report card’s B- grade on economic inputs stand out, however: our tech talent shortage and our struggle to scale enough tech companies beyond the startup stage.

On talent, the sector is quite simply creating more jobs than there are qualified people to fill them. This gap holds us back from reaching our full potential. BC needs to invest boldly in measures to grow, attract, and retain the best people, as well as leverage our diversity to drive improved business results.

When it comes to scale, the report card shows a marked lack of growth in the number of anchor companies in the province from 2014-2016, the latest available data window. Companies of 100+ employees generate significant ecosystem benefits. Without a thriving, vibrant core of anchor companies at the heart of our ecosystem, enriching the talent pool, creating spinoffs with new ideas, and providing proven pathways to scale, we’ll be unable to make BC the best place to grow a tech company.

Overall, the BC tech report reflects the hard work and dedication of the people in our ecosystem. BC takes its place as a clear Canadian leader. But as technologists know, the world moves fast—BC needs to keep investing in order to not just lead, but achieve our full potential.