Provincial innovation builders launch the BC Technology Ecosystems Network
Organizations including Vancouver’s entrepreneurship@UBC, SFU VentureLab, and New Ventures BC form alliance to scale up local companies
Leaders of Vancouver-based BCTEN organizations: top left, Angie Schick, executive director, New Ventures BC; top right, Jeanette Jackson, CEO, Foresight Canada; bottom left, Lesley Esford, executive director, SFU VentureLabs, bottom right, Michelle Sklar, head of venture growth strategy, entrepreneurship@UBC. Photo: LinkedIn
Local accelerators have joined forces with other ecosystem developers across the province to launch the BC Technology Ecosystems Network (BCTEN). The umbrella organization aims to foster better collaboration across its members, supporting entrepreneurs
with the pathways and resources to succeed under one hub.
“For me, it's about — how can I help clear the pathway for the next most awesome venture?” said Michelle Sklar, head of venture growth strategy at e@UBC. “What is a barrier that I can play a part in removing? And so the more I collaborate with my partners across the ecosystem, then the more opportunities there are to help these companies really anchor in BC ... I think at the end of the day, we're all rowing in the same direction of really helping to ensure companies are anchored here.”
The founding members of BCTEN stem from Innovate BC’s Accelerator Network (BCAN), where participants all received some funding from Innovate BC to focus on activities that could support the scale-up of young companies. However, each organization served functions beyond this capacity, said Dan Gunn, CEO at VIATEC.
“Whether it's connecting people, helping people find work, or putting on a pretty good variety of workshops or showcase events like Discover Tectoria, the organizations are more than an accelerator,” said Gunn. “This organization is a way for us to collaborate on our ideas beyond accelerator-like models, and do them better.”
Left, Dan Gunn, CEO, VIATEC; right, an overhead image of Discover Tectoria 2023.
The alliance is also an opportunity to demonstrate the collective value an ecosystem brings to entrepreneurs, added Sklar. Instead of a narrative where a single accelerator advances the success of entrepreneurs, BCTEN hopes to highlight how the diversity of a network allows BC startups to flourish.
“BCTEN is an alliance that isn't rooted in funding, it's really rooted in a common practice around how we support the building of companies in BC,” said Sklar. “We all get really excited about, and wanted a vehicle to share those stories in a manner that really shows the strength of this ecosystem. It's not just one thing that we're doing, it's all the things that we're doing. It's the integrity of the relationship, it's the integrity of the expertise. That really was the impetus behind the BCTEN alliance.”
The launch of BCTEN arrives as the group’s members celebrate a decade with BCAN, a network that has facilitated $1.2 billion of economic activity, added 4,500 new tech sector jobs, and supported 1,500+ companies.
The alliance includes the following organizations: