09 Dec 2015 The Voice: #BCTECH Strategy Announced
BC GOVERNMENT INVESTING IN GROWTH
This week marked a milestone in the journey of BC Tech. The BC Government unveiled its #BCTECH Strategy which represents a huge step forward and demonstrates the government’s serious commitment to growing tech, jobs and the economic future of the province.
The Province is committing $100 million to expand the availability of venture capital in BC. In our view, this is the single largest investment in Venture Capital in the history of BC.
The $100 million in funding will be managed by a private sector Fund of Funds (FoF) manager, selected through a Negotiated Request for Proposal (NRFP) process that the government will commence later in December. The government expects to have a FoF manager selected by Spring 2016 and the funding in place by mid-2016, which will then pave the way for investments into venture capital funds. The process for identifying a fund manager was made available following the announcement, through a posting for an NRFP that can be found on the BC Bid website under Opportunity Number: ON-002758.
Access to capital has been a growing concern of our community, and was identified as one of our key asks of the government. For several years, we’ve witnessed a growing gap in early stage (Series A) funding in BC. While the number of angel-funded startups has blossomed, the number of BC-based venture capital firms has declined significantly. We anticipate that the injection of these new funds into the BC ecosystem will be an important catalyst in leveraging additional private investment and will help to revitalize and build a more robust venture capital environment in the province.
As the Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, said in his speech, “This is a first step of many in the journey for BC Tech.”
The journey to this point has been a true team effort. It involved partner organizations across all parts of BC including Accelerate Okanagan, CVCA, DigiBC, GenomeBC, Innovation Island, Kamloops Innovation, LifeSciencesBC, Premiers Technology Council, VEC, ViaTEC, Wavefront and tireless volunteers from our Access to Capital Committee as well as many, many champions among our tech member companies.
The #BCTECH strategy represents an important validation on the research, policy and advocacy efforts of member companies, partner organizations, and the broader tech community that originated with the publication of the BCTIA’s 4-Point Plan and the 2012 and 2014 editions of the KPMG British Columbia Technology Report Card.
The government’s #BCTECH Strategy outlines three key pillars:
Although this announcement focused on Capital, we understand that the detailed plans for the other pillars will be elaborated upon in the coming months.
We believe the #BCTech Strategy is an important step toward investing in the future of our province. Over the next few months, we will work closely with the BC government to shape the design and implementation of the strategy, and look forward to the continued support and participation of our members in this endeavour.
To read the Province of British Columbia’s Announcement, “$100M fund to boost B.C.’s tech sector and job creation”,click here.
To read the BCTIA Announcement, “BCTIA Congratulates Province on Investment in Job Creation & Economic Growth”, click here.
Summary of the #BCTECH Strategy Announcement:
Images courtesy of Province of British Columbia.