BC Tech’s small business support fuels economic recovery

VANCOUVER, B.C. – When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, many small businesses faced unprecedented disruption and an urgent need to go online and embrace a digital business model. With limited financial resources and staff, small businesses struggled. That’s why BC Tech stepped in to help. 

Although no federal or provincial funding could be secured, BC Tech launched anyway.  Entirely funded by BC Tech, its members and sponsors, HyperTech: COVID Response provided webinars and mentor connections to small to medium-sized non-tech companies to learn what tools and tactics to adopt to reach customers, generate sales, and work remotely.

With generous support from BC Tech members Cisco and Rogers, and later funding from the Columbia Basin Business Advisors Program, BC Tech offered five webinars and four virtual connection events supporting 249 businesses from May 2020 through May 2021. 

For many participants the program helped reduce anxiety and build confidence around digital and online transitions, and equipped them with new skills. “It really helped chase away my fears and gave me a platform to do what I needed to do,” explained Mobina Hasan, a clinical therapist in Port Moody. “It’s not as difficult or as challenging as I thought.”     

For others, the program helped bring a new business idea to fruition. “The thing I wasn’t expecting was the follow-up,” said Roberto, a chocolate maker from Revelstoke. “It is just so satisfying to be sitting here talking about a successful idea months after I dreamt it up. So thank you – I mean that sincerely.”

Click here to view a short video featuring some of our program participants. 

When the customers of tech companies are impacted, tech companies are also impacted. As Lois Nahirney, President and CEO of dnaPower Inc., explained, “Many of our partners’ businesses were shut down due to COVID, and our business dropped between 30-50%.”

So much for the belief that tech was immune to the pandemic downturn. With 98% of BC’s tech companies being small businesses, coping with sudden revenue disruptions had major  consequences. 

Thankfully, BC’s tech companies also work in one of the most supportive industry ecosystems. At times of challenge we pull together to support one another. 

From October 2020 to March 2021 BC Tech delivered the BC Tech Resiliency Program to connect nearly 300 tech companies to advisors, mentors, best practices, and tools to help maintain and grow operations, build resiliency, and prepare for a successful recovery post-pandemic.

The Resiliency Program costs were underwritten by BC Tech, Rogers, and Innovate BC. 

Resilience means being able to go through challenging times and come out stronger,“ said Rick Sellers, Rogers’ President of B.C. Region, when asked why the company stepped up to provide funding for both of these critical programs.“ Business growth starts with the right set of tools and knowledge. Rogers actively participates in mentorship and thought leadership to support small businesses throughout their journey. We work with our customers every day to provide innovative and effective communication and IT solutions to enable their success. The stronger we can make Canadian businesses, the more resilient they will be.”      

The companies BC Tech supported through the program employed over 7,000 British Columbians at the start of the pandemic, with one-third of companies reporting jobs at risk. With the support of the program jobs were protected, and by the end of the program 64% of companies had actually added employees. 

“The support we received through the program allowed us to improve our online capability and create new marketing and sales activities,” Nahirney said. “The BC Tech Resiliency Program is a business-saver.”

Aspect Biosystems’ Lin-P’ing Choo-Smith, Grant Manager agreed: “With the severe impact of inability to travel due to COVID-19, there has been a big move to digital platforms for engagement in the past year. The BC Tech Resiliency Program helped us refine our digital marketing strategy.”

“The timing of this couldn’t have been more perfect.” said Kenneth To, CEO of ViewsIQ Inc. “We had started to find our footing again following the initial impact of COVID-19, and through this program we were able to fully flesh out an actionable plan that really sets us up well for the balance of 2021.”

Indeed, 95% of participating companies recommended the program to other companies, with many finding that it was an essential lifeline of advice and support during a very challenging year.                

Thank you to small businesses across BC, tech and non-tech alike, for persevering and pivoting through the pandemic. BC Tech and our Members will always have your back.

To become a BC Tech Member or learn more, email hello@wearebctech.com.

About the BC Tech Association

BC Tech is a non-profit dedicated to the growth of BC’s tech sector, increasing tech jobs, and advancing technology and innovation across every sector of BC’s economy. By supporting small and medium sized businesses to understand and adopt technology, BC Tech builds business resilience, accelerates growth and empowers BC’s economic recovery. To learn more visit wearebctech.com.

Media Contact: Kathleen Reid at media@wearebctech.com or 604-724-1242