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Innovation Centre hails federal tech sector funding

Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada announces that Innovate BC will receive $2,950,000 in federal support to help businesses in BC’s technology sector address the impact of COVID-19.

The Innovation Central Society (ICS) Hubspace is praising yesterday’s announcement that Innovate BC will receive $2.9 million in federal funding.

The funding is designed to businesses in BC’s technology sector address the impact of COVID-19.

“The programs announced today demonstrate that Innovate BC and Western Diversification have  a clear vision on the need to not just safely restart the economy, but to help our business community prosper through this pandemic and beyond,” said Garth Frizzell, director of entrepreneurship at ICS-Hubspace at its location in downtown Prince George.  “It is clear from the scale and direction of this program that both orders of government are taking active steps to look out for businesses in northern B.C.”

The funding will benefit up to 2,500 innovative companies and support as many as 1,000 jobs, according to the government news release. Up to half of these businesses are either owned or operated by women, youth or Indigenous people. This funding flows from the $304 million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for Western businesses, announced in May.

“We’re already well down the road on our transition to a digital economy and this program is exactly what we need to help drive the north to new, global opportunities,” said ICS board chair Will Cadell.

Innovation Central Society – Hubspace serves an area of 650,000 square kilometres in Northern British Columbia and is part of the BC Accelerator Network. Its mission is to help northern innovators along their journey to find new opportunities and grow the economy.

As B,C,’s technology companies assess and address the impact of COVID-19, this funding will help support them through the new BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed and delivered by Innovate BC in partnership with the BC Acceleration Network (BCAN,) its provincial network of business accelerators and incubators. This program will expand existing advisory services and resources across B..C to support tech entrepreneurs starting and scaling up their businesses, with a focus on training, advice and resources dedicated to helping them recover from the impact of COVID-19.

Innovate BC will also work with BCAN and other organizations to expand the innovative ”Digital Economic Response” (DER3) program across the province. Originally piloted by Nanaimo’s Innovation Island Technology Association, DER3 provides one-to-one business and technical expertise for companies hoping to improve their digital capacity. The WD funding will help build an integrated network to provide training, tools, and customized advice to over 900 businesses. This crucial support will help them transition into the digital economy or expand their digital footprint, giving them the tools they need to respond to physical restrictions and expand to new markets. WD provided $100,000 to Innovation Island Technology Association earlier this year to develop the DER3 program.

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