New agri-food tech accelerator in Mission

MISSION – Technology and agri-food entrepreneurs in the Fraser Valley will now benefit from $844,000 in provincial funding for a new agriculture- and technology-focused program, delivered by the Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech (SRCTec).

The new BC Agri-food Venture Acceleration Program based in Mission will provide entrepreneurs and startups in the Fraser Valley with training, coaching and the network to help them accelerate growth. This new program expands on BC Innovation Council’s BC Venture Acceleration Program, which now delivers a successful technology accelerator program in 13 communities around the province.

SRCTec is a non-profit society founded in 2006 with the intent to attract technology companies to and promote skilled technology training and education in the Fraser Valley. For instance, SRCTec works with local First Nations to increase their technical capacity within the rural east valley communities, and the Mission school district to help prepare students for careers in technology.

The expansion of the Venture Acceleration Program into the Fraser Valley is made possible through a grant provided to the BC Innovation Council from the Ministry of Agriculture to drive technology commercialization in the agri-food sector. SRCTec anticipates this funding will allow them to take on 12 to 16 program clients per year.

The $844,000 in funding also allows SRCTec to bring on dedicated executives-in-residence who will provide coaching and mentorship to companies in the program. These are experienced entrepreneurs who have grown technology businesses from the ground up and who provide invaluable one-on-one business mentoring for clients.

The Ministry of Agriculture is committed to working with farmers, producers and other ministries and agencies to promote the use of new technologies to support B.C.’s agri-food industry. The program will help drive the growth of technology and innovation in the province and benefit local farmers, producers and food processors.

Technology and agri-foods are among B.C.’s most competitive business sectors and two of the eight key sectors in the BC Jobs Plan – the Province’s strategy to grow the economy. The BC Innovation Council supports these sectors through programs and activities that accelerate the commercialization of technology in B.C. and strengthen its entrepreneurial community.

Quotes:

Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk –

“There are huge opportunities for business development and technological innovation by having the technology and agriculture sectors work together. Supporting a diverse range of entrepreneurs and startups through the BC Agri-food Venture Acceleration Program will create more opportunities and economic prosperity within both sectors.”

Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick –

“British Columbia’s food producers are business people and innovators, well known for their ingenuity in developing new products and processes. The support and connections provided through the BC Agri-food Venture Acceleration Program will help develop the next generation of agri-entrepreneurs in the Fraser Valley.”

SRCTec CEO and chairman of the board Raymond Szabada –

“Agriculture is a prominent industry in the Fraser Valley and the delivery of an intense training and coaching program aimed at agriculture-related innovators and entrepreneurs is critical to our local economy. Now that this level of support and resources is available here, those individuals no longer have to commute to receive assistance. On behalf of SRCTec, I’m pleased to be working with the BC Innovation Council as the newest partner of the BC Acceleration Network to bring this important program to the region.”

Quick Facts:

  • Established in 2004, the BC Innovation Council is a Crown corporation of B.C.
  • BCIC’s mandate is to support technology-focused startups and entrepreneurs by funding a wide range of programs, competitions and industry events.
  • The Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services contributed $6.09 million to BCIC in 2013-14.
  • The provincewide BC Venture Acceleration Program is delivered by 13 regional partners around the province.
  • Since 2011, the BC Venture Acceleration Program has had the following successes:
    • 296 companies engaged in the program;
    • 471 entrepreneurs trained by 30 executives-in-residence; and
    • 850 jobs created.
  • B.C.’s technology sector is the third-largest contributor to the province’s economy. It makes up 7.6% of B.C.’s gross domestic product, and produces $23.2 billion in annual revenue as well as $3.1 billion in exports. Wages in the sector are 66% higher than the average wage in B.C.

Learn More:

BC Innovation Council: www.bcic.ca and: www.bcacceleration.ca

BC Venture Acceleration Program (VIDEO): www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlzf0e-aDds

BC Jobs Plan: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan

Media Contacts:

Melody Wey
Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
250 387-0172

Robert Boelens
Ministry of Agriculture
250 882-2485

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