By Marilyn Zink
The announcement that the B.C. government is creating a $100 million venture capital fund is well received by a Nanaimo tech firm.
“This announcement is great,” says Paris Gaudet, executive director of Innovation Island Technology Association. “It’s for a small amount of companies that are going to be scaling rapidly.”
Premier Christy Clark announced the new BC Tech Fund as part of the B.C. governments’ comprehensive strategy to build a foundation and create jobs in the multi- billion dollar tech sector.
“B.C’s technology sector is consistently growing faster than the overall economy making this the perfect time to catch the wave and help smaller companies join in the ranks of economy builders,” says Premier Clark. “With this fund we’re creating a stronger foundation for B.C.’s technology sector, which is a major employer in communities across the province, to shine on the global stage while creating well-paying jobs back at home for British Columbians.”
Gaudet says the fund will assist a few companies to move forward to grow their businesses.
“There’s a few companies we’re working with that may be eligible,” says Gaudet. “They’ve usually done an angel round.”
She says these companies have received investments of $500,000 or more and are ready to move to the next phase.
“It’s not for everyone,” says Gaudet. “This is like the major leagues. You need to have significant traction in the marketplace with global return. It’s going to be quite competitive as well.”
Gaudet was present at the announcement as a representative of the B.C. Acceleration Network for Nanaimo and regional communities. The network supports tech companies from startup to success.
The technology sector employs more than 86,000 people who have wages that are 60% higher than the province’s industrial average.
Tech companies need four things to be successful – talent, markets, ideas and money.
“The tech fund will support small companies to become medium sized and then big companies that are going to lead tech all across British Columbia,” says Clark. “This should be a tech hub for the world, for talent to come to and money to come to from all around the world but so often these small companies just need a little bit of help with some venture capital and that’s what we want to be there to support.”
Gaudet says the tech funding demonstrates that B.C. tech companies are a “force to be reckoned with, that B.C. is now putting it out there that we are ready to compete on the world stage.”