John Horgan: When B.C. tech succeeds, we all succeed

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Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to kick off the BC Tech Summit in Vancouver, that brings together tech innovators and investors from across B.C. and around the world. The talent and ingenuity on display was incredible to experience. It was clear to see that the future is bright for tech in B.C.

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Our government is working to create the best conditions for tech and the innovation economy to grow and thrive in every part of B.C. It’s part of building an economy that works for people, now and into the future.

Over 10,500 tech-related companies support over 114,000 good-paying jobs throughout B.C. Tech is one of the fastest growing sectors in B.C., and innovation drives competitiveness in every part of our economy, from forestry, to mining, to construction, to health care and the creative economy.

From day one, our government has been working with B.C. tech leaders and innovators, from Vancouver, to Prince Rupert, to Kamloops. We’ve heard extraordinary stories about why people have made the choice to build their businesses in B.C. Our province has incredible talent and a unique workforce, with cultural diversity, skills, expertise and knowledge. And our region has incredible potential. From startups to big tech, everything is happening here.

But there are challenges. That’s why we’re working to tackle big picture problems to help B.C. retain skilled workers, while we invest in people and infrastructure to help B.C. tech thrive.

We’re tackling the housing crisis, so the people who work here can afford to live here. We made the largest investment in housing in B.C. history – more than $7 billion over 10 years. We’re also working to curb speculation, tackle fraud, and moderate the housing market.

We launched a made-in-B.C. child care plan, so parents don’t have to leave the workforce because they can’t find child care. An over $1-billion investment over three years is helping parents access affordable, quality child care for their kids.

We’re supporting STEM from elementary to graduate school. To help develop the next generation of tech talent, we’ve funded 2,900 science and tech spaces at post-secondary institutions across the province. We’re also expanding high-speed internet for rural and remote communities around the province.

Our government launched the CleanBC climate action plan to put B.C. on a path to a cleaner, better future. The plan will help create new economic opportunities for people and spur innovation to grow our world-leading technology and clean-energy sectors. We’re also reaching out to neighbours to the south, and to trade partners around the world, to expand markets and attract investment.

The B.C. tech and innovation framework is the next step forward. It will aim to include more people around the province in the innovation economy, including those living in rural areas. We want to grow globally competitive industry clusters and help B.C. companies scale-up and anchor here, while we develop the talent pool that our tech economy needs.

We’re going to keep working hard, investing in people, and supporting growth in the innovative economy. To make life better for people now, and tomorrow. Because when B.C. tech succeeds, we all succeed.

John Horgan is the Premier of British Columbia.

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