This month marks the BC Innovation Council ’s 10 year anniversary as a Crown agency. The BC Innovation Council (BCIC) is dedicated to strengthening B.C.’s technology ecosystem and creating jobs through the growth of start-ups. The organization provides support for programs, competitions and industry events and has delivered hands-on skills training and mentorship to hundreds of tech-minded entrepreneurs since opening its doors 10 years ago.
“The BC Innovation Council plays a vital role in growing and sustaining B.C.’s technology ecosystem,” stated Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson. “The outstanding work of the staff and board of directors, their collaborations with industry, and the significant contributions they make to a brighter future for British Columbia are all great reasons to celebrate this milestone. Congratulations to everyone at BCIC for 10 years of service.”
BCIC’s mission is to accelerate technology commercialization through its support of start-ups and developing entrepreneurs. The Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services works closely with BCIC to provide the funding and support required to achieve these goals.
“We couldn’t do what we do alone so I’d like to thank the Province of British Columbia, and our partners and stakeholders in B.C.’s technology community for sharing in our vision to make B.C. a great place to start and grow technology companies,” said BCIC president and CEO Greg Caws. “Technology touches virtually every aspect of our daily lives and is increasingly playing a role in the more traditional industries from agri-food, oil and gas to health. In the years to come, opportunities for the emerging generation of innovators are limitless and we look forward to connecting them to commercialization resources to help them succeed and grow our knowledge economy.”
BCIC formed in 2004 after a merging of the Advanced Science Institute BC and the Innovation and Science Council of British Columbia.
Highlights over the years:
- From 1983-2012, BCIC, in partnership with the BC Science Teachers’ Association, handed out over 8,000 Science Achievement Awards to students who showed exceptional academic performance in science 11 and 12 to encourage careers in science and technology.
- From 1990-2012, the Innovation Exploration Program connected more than 800 young scientists and innovators to role models and careers in B.C.’s science and tech industries.
- From 2007-2010, BCIC awarded Graduate Scholarships to 82 MBA and 67 Masters and Doctoral students to encourage entrepreneurship. A total of 65 teams created business plans to commercialize a technology. Several current B.C. companies emerged from the program, including Optemo and Wishpond.
- Since 2008, BCIC has been title sponsor of the BCIC-New Ventures Competition, one of the largest technology competitions in North America, open to any B.C. resident with an idea and the will to create a technology company. Competition alumni have created more than 3,300 jobs and raised more than $200 million in investment.
- The BCIC Mentor Program was created in 2011 to improve the success of technology entrepreneurs by delivering guidance and support in developing their ventures. At its peak, the program had 78 active mentors working with more than 135 ventures.
- BC Venture Acceleration Program  for tech-focused entrepreneurs has supported the creation of 758 jobs for British Columbians and attracted over $60 million in grants and equity investment since its inception in 2011. The program is available through 12 delivery partners, and is accessible anywhere through New Ventures BC’s virtual program.
- BCIC supports entrepreneurship development programs in all of B.C.’s major universities. Programs like the entrepreneurship@UBC Accelerator Program foster innovation in students and help them get their ideas to the marketplace.
- Annually, BCIC supports more than 40 technology community events throughout B.C., creating awareness of and commercialization opportunities for innovators.
Technology is one of the eight key sectors in the BC Jobs Plan  – the province’s strategy to grow the economy. B.C.’s technology sector is one of the top contributors to the provincial economy and represents extraordinary opportunity for industry, investors and job seekers.
“BCIC has been our lead partner since 2008,” added Program manager, New Ventures BC, Angie Schick. “Together, we have grown New Ventures BC into one of the largest venture competitions in North America, supporting over 1,800 technology start-ups with the tools and connections needed to build their business. We are delighted to be BCIC’s newest partner in the Venture Acceleration Program and look forward to helping even more B.C. companies accelerate from start-up to success.”
- BCIC is a Crown corporation of B.C. and was established in October 2004 as a merger between the Advanced Science Institute BC and the Innovation and Science Council of British Columbia.
- The agency’s mandate is to support technology focused start-ups and entrepreneurs by funding a wide range of programs, competitions and industry events.
- The Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services contributed $6.09 million to BCIC in 2013/14.
- The provincewide BC Venture Acceleration Program is B.C.’s largest technology acceleration network and is a structured program to help early-stage entrepreneurs commercialize their innovation.
- The program is delivered by 12 regional partners around the province, including Central Interior B.C.; Central/Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands; East Kootenays; Greater Victoria; Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley; North Central B.C.; Okanagan Valley; and the West Kootenays. It is also available online through New Ventures BC.
- B.C.’s technology sector is the third largest contributor to the province’s economy, making up 7.6% of our gross domestic product and producing $23.2 billion in annual revenue and $3.1 billion in exports.
- There are 9,010 tech companies operating in B.C. today, providing over 84,000 jobs for British Columbians.