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Frontier Collective to rally Vancouver delegation in Toronto for Collision conference

The organization is launching its Vancouver Takeover and Future of Innovation event to support B.C. companies attending the convention.

Vancouver’s technology industry, says Frontier Collective CEO Dan Burgar, has traditionally been quiet about celebrating its victories. Unlike the province’s brash neighbours to the south, or even those in Toronto to the east, the city has a humble nature that continues to hinder the recognition it deserves on national and global stages.

“We know that, in the past, Vancouver really hasn't promoted itself in that [forthright] way,” he says. “So we want to be able to do that, especially as we move forward in the next few years around a lot of this innovation. We want to make sure that we're pounding our chests and being proud of what's happening here.”

The Frontier Collective has been spreading the message of the city’s tech ecosystem across the world in earnest for the past two years. A highlight on its resume was its presence at SXSW in March: an event that saw both B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Development, and Innovation Brenda Bailey and Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim speak to local successes on the international stage in Austin, Texas. Before that came the Frontier Summit — a multi-day event run by the Frontier Collective that brought together local companies and foreign investors. And before that was its presence at Toronto’s Collision conference.

Last year at the Ontario event, the Frontier Collective put on a “night summit”: a gathering that aimed to promote unity among B.C. companies and introduce them to the rest of the world. More than 700 people attended the sold-out party in 2022. This year, it’s bringing the event back — and, the organization says, going one better.

“We're going to be throwing a full-on B.C. takeover, and letting the world know what's happening here, not only in our backyards [but] across our province,” says COO Kassandra Linklater. “It's going to be culminating in a celebration of B.C. excellence at the Future of Innovation night summit. So we're really excited to showcase the good work that has been happening here in our province, but also connecting our companies to global investors, other startups, and corporates from around the world for them to unlock their next chapter.”

The Vancouver Takeover, the Frontier Collective says, involves supporting the B.C. presence at Collision. That includes the local executives who are speaking at the conference, as well as those in the wider community, such as startups that have made it into the convention’s Alpha program. The organization also hopes to spotlight those from non-traditional communities like artists and creatives in industries such as film and animation, as well as provide a rallying point for all Vancouverites at Collison.

The chief way it will do so is its Future of Innovation event. Held at Berkeley Field House on June 27 — the second night of the conference — the evening will feature food, drinks, and live music, plus a number of demos and activations from B.C. companies. The gathering aims to offer a forum for new relationships to form between the region’s businesses and Collision’s international audience, as well as provide a place for local companies to connect and break down silos. The event will present plenty of opportunities to do so, the organization suggests, with attendees enjoying cocktails in a treehouse, strolls along the creek, and taking in the homespun natural garden. Also in attendance will be government officials from both the province and the city, who support the role Vancouver is playing in the national tech sector.

“The takeover is about getting real-world results for all levels of our ecosystem,” says Linklater. “For example, what came out of the night summit last year was that LG Nova [...] heard about what's happening in our ecosystem. Four months later, two Vancouver startups from the summit were down at their conference, and won [its startup pitch competition]. So LG is now working on getting involved further in our ecosystem, and is starting to be piloting this fall.

“The rate of change is happening,” she continues. “Global innovation is happening at such a record pace. One night summit in Toronto a year ago has produced results [for everyone] from our education institutes to our airports to our startups. Yes, it's a night summit, but it's a night summit with results.”

This year, the Frontier Collective has teased that it will be telling the world about a big development for the B.C. community for the first time at Collision.

“We want to share that Vancouver is having its moment,” says Linklater. “We're going to look back at this and say this was a special time for our city. And harnessing that momentum […] the Frontier Collective has some incredibly exciting announcements about the next steps.”

“We do believe that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capitalize [on B.C.’s successes],” agrees Burgar. “Right now we're at this precipice. We're seeing this technological revolution play out in front of us. And we need to be around the world, we need to be around Canada, to really champion the incredible work that's happening here.”

The Frontier Collective has a select number of conference passes for local companies interested in representing themselves at Collison. Applications are now open.

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