BRITISH Columbia’s innovation ecosystem received a huge boost today with the selection of a B.C.-based digital supercluster consortium to share a portion of $950 million in federal innovation funding, announced Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston.
“Today is truly a landmark day for tech and innovation in our province,” said Ralston on Thursday. “From new and emerging technologies like AR/VR and quantum computing, to traditional industries like natural resources and manufacturing, the digital supercluster will help grow our tech sector and create economic opportunities for the people of B.C. Your government is proud to have supported this winning bid, and will continue to champion tech and innovation as a path to prosperity.”
Led by TELUS, Microsoft, Teck, Canfor, Shoppers Drug Mart, Providence Health Care and the University of British Columbia, the bid is supported by the BC Tech Association and over 200 other partners including 25 post-secondary institutions. Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has over $500 million in committed private-sector innovation funding for the initiative.
“Our government is making a multi-million dollar investment in 2,900 additional tech spaces for students,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “More homegrown tech talent will help to meet the demand from the growing tech sector for a skilled workforce.”
“This supercluster funding will reap numerous spinoff benefits for all people in B.C. so they can take part in the 21st-century digital economy,” said Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims. “We are also working in partnership with all levels of government to ensure British Columbians have access to high-speed internet, which is essential in supporting and driving innovation and creating opportunities for businesses large and small.”
The supercluster intends to maximize B.C.’s world-class talent and geographic advantage as both the gateway to Asia and partner in the Cascadia Innovation Corridor with Washington State.
“Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster will help B.C. companies develop new technologies that will boost the innovation ecosystem by creating opportunities that benefit many sectors of our economy,” said B.C. innovation commissioner Alan Winter. “This superb opportunity will also help our tech sector build and leverage a stronger network that will facilitate greater collaboration between industry and academia in our province.”
The winning B.C.-based digital consortium was one of five different supercluster submissions to Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative, involving B.C.-based companies and organizations.
“This is truly an exciting day for technology innovation in Canada and a game-changer for B.C.,” said BC Tech Association president and CEO Jill Tipping. “The supercluster consortium will accelerate the development of innovation in key industries, will fast-forward Canada’s digital economy and put B.C. on the map as a global leader. We are looking forward to working with the Province as an active investor and partner in this exciting endeavour.”
Over a 10-year period, the supercluster is projected to fund more than 100 collaborative projects involving over 1,000 organizations to create thousands of new jobs that provide skilled and long-term employment opportunities for people throughout B.C. and Canada.
- The British Columbia government has committed nearly $1.3 billion for research and innovation in B.C. over the last 10 years through various ministries, programs and investments.
- In February 2018, the Province appointed Alan Winter as B.C.’s first innovation commissioner as an advocate for B.C.’s tech and innovation sector in Ottawa and abroad.
- The Government of British Columbia and the State of Washington have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the Cascadia Innovation Corridor to grow cross-border innovation.