Entrepreneurs and big companies connected at a BC Innovation Council tour earlier this year. Victoria companies wanting to offer tech solutions will have the chance to connect with global firms like IBM and Rio Tinto this Friday at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort. (Submitted photo)

Victoria entrepreneurs can pitch ideas to tech giants

BC Innovation Council tour connects local tech to business opportunities

This version of the story contains updated information from the original.

Local tech entrepreneurs who’ve dreamed of working with big companies like IBM will have their chance with the help of BC Innovation Council.

The second BC Growth Opportunities Tour is making its way across the province and stops in Victoria on Friday (Oct. 13). The tour is a networking event for local business owners who pitch solutions to challenges presented by tech giants, including IBM Canada, FortisBC, RioTinto, Lightship, Schneider Electric, British Columbia Construction Association and the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Carl Anderson, council CEO and president, said a tour earlier this year was so successful they decided to bring it back.

“Just about everywhere we went, people would come up to us afterward and say ‘I’ve never been to anything like this ever. This is great,’” he said.

Anderson said the B.C. Innovation Council, a provincial Crown corporation, could go and solicit ideas from companies, but instead the tour connects the big and the local companies directly.

“We have people from the actual organizations talking about what they need, and you can go and talk to them. You can actually go and buttonhole that person.”

And a stop in Victoria makes sense: the region has 904 high tech firms; employs 15,000 workers directly, 5,000 indirectly, and 3,000 as self-employed workers; and had 2016 revenues over $4 billion. The tour stopped in Prince George and Nelson last month, and after Victoria the tour heads to Surrey, Kelowna and Kamloops.

Friday’s event happens at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. There will be networking and coffee and presentations from each company of around 10 minutes each. Participants can register for free at bit.ly/2gvmckM.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com