Charlie Veaudry

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The below article from The Morning Star posted back on December 8 is an interesting addition to a previous blog post I shared about the tech industry in the Okanagan. As more and more investment into the tech industry takes place, the impact will be felt in a positive way in Kelowna, Vernon and interior. People utilize the opportunity to work remote as the cost of living in the interior is much lower than the lower mainland, and then hopefully more investment in infrastructure and on-site jobs. It's great to see more jobs available in the Okanagan so more people can live here and enjoy the valley!


$100 million tech fund for B.C. 'Dragon's Den'


Mobify CEO Igor Faletsky gives B.C. technology minister Amrik Virk a tour of his mobile marketing company
Mobify CEO Igor Faletsky gives B.C. technology minister Amrik Virk a tour of his mobile marketing company's Vancouver office.
— Image Credit: B.C. Government
The B.C. government is putting up $100 million for a real-life version of the TV show Dragon's Den, providing seed money to entrepreneurs who convince experts their new technology ideas will grow.

Premier Christy Clark announced the new fund Tuesday at the Vancouver offices of Mobify, a marketing company for retailers to advertise on mobile devices. The next step in a the government's technology strategy is to invite proposals for a venture capital company to administer the fund.


"We don't want to be influencing that, except that we want them to be in British Columbia, and we want the fund manager to have a managing partner based in B.C.," she said.


Clark said high technology is performing better than other parts of the economy, and now directly employs 86,000 people who make higher wages than the industrial average. The taxpayer investment is to give startups the recognition they need to attract private venture capital.


Clark said banks look to invest in "guaranteed bets," but technology companies are higher risk with higher rewards for those that succeed.


NDP technology critic George Heyman said the industry has been lobbying the province for this kind of assistance, and he supports it if the money is delivered in a transparent way and results are tracked.


A previous effort aimed at immigrant investors, the B.C. Renaissance Capital Fund, was criticized for a lack of both. In one case it provided money to a San Francisco company that opened an office in Calgary but not B.C.


"The taxpayer subsidizes all sorts of things that relate to job creation," Heyman said. "In the case of the tech sector, these are the jobs of the 21st Century. B.C. has a sector that's performing well but could perform a lot better, and it needs investment to do that."


B.C. also offers $33 million in tax credits to "angel investors" who put up money to develop a business that has attracted seed money.




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What is the tech startup industry just figuring out that we already knew?


That Vernon is the place to live, of course! 


The Vernon Morning Star brought us an article back in January announcing that the tech sector added $1.02 billion to the local Okanagan economy in 2013:


“Accelerate Okanagan CEO, Pilar Portela, said the study shows why the Okanagan is one of the best places in Canada to start or invest in a tech business.


‘Startups and tech companies in the Okanagan have great access to vital resources,’ said Portela. ‘With over 6,500 highly skilled tech workers, an international airport that offers non-stop flights to 64 destinations, and easy access to vital business support programs and services, the Okanagan is a thriving entrepreneurial community that offers everything today’s startups need for success.’


The growth of the tech industry in the Okanagan is creating thousands of jobs for the many highly skilled people who move to the area to enjoy the Okanagan lifestyle. For Accelerate Okanagan and other local organizations that support the tech industry, this is good news.”


It’s also good news for the housing market.


According to their website, Accelerate Okanagan “helps develop and support creative entrepreneurs in the technology community. [They] do this through programs and resources, acting as a hub for connecting like-minded individuals and companies with goals of growth and success.”


While based in Kelowna, Accelerate Okanagan has connections in Vernon, specifically Startup Vernon, which is “a community of entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and creatives building a tech industry in Vernon. Their focus is to build and support companies that create software products: web apps, mobile apps, and desktop apps.”


Justin Jackson, a member of Startup Vernon has only good things to say about Vernon: “As I look at Vernon’s entrepreneurial history, the culture of the city, and the attitude of the people who move here, it’s clear we need to forge a different path.


Vernon is a city of do-it-yourselfers, bootstrappers, and makers. Our large local companies all started as small businesses, built from the ground up: Kal-Tire, Tekmar and Tolko.”


Also deserving attention, Progressive Solutions, a technology company specializing in lumber and building materials software, was recently bought by Epicor, an international software company that now has a location in Vernon, BC!


So what does this mean for you? With billions being invested in the tech industry in the Okanagan, Vernon included, it’s a great time to think about selling your home with people being drawn here for more reasons that the sunshine and lakes!

For all industries, it is the perfect place to raise a family and enjoy all the beauty and wonder Vernon has to offer. It’s the perfect spot, only 25 minutes from a world class, international airport. In Vernon, you get the small town feel, with big city amenities. 

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