Business Groups, Universities And Incubators Team Up To Nurture Northwest Startups

Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network "CVAN" Panel and Launch Event hosted by Cambia Grove, Seattle, WA - December 8, 2017// ©Nicole Raine Photography //

A wide range of business groups and universities from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are teaming up to nurture science and tech startups. Nearly 50 organizations involved in business development signed on to the new Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network.

Peter Payne of the BC Innovation Council was elected to chair the consortium. He said one of the group’s goals is to secure immigrant talent in the region, including by utilizing Canada’s more open immigration policies.

“I think the first thing that we’ll be able to take advantage of with very little cost and very little organization is to see some of the U.S. companies create legal entities on this side, using the Microsoft model,” Payne said. “If it works for Microsoft, it should work for small to medium sized enterprises as well.”

Microsoft and Amazon have opened satellite offices in Vancouver, BC, in the past few years. Microsoft’s office has grown to house 800 workers, including some recruits who couldn’t get U.S. work visas or whose visas expired.

“We’re quite happy to have those people sit here and pay our taxes, thank you very much,” Payne said with a chuckle from Vancouver. “But we still want the companies or universities that were working with them on the U.S. side to still have some way of accessing that talent that they used to have.”

Payne said the new consortium might also act as a “concierge desk” to direct entrepreneurs to private financing or government support programs.

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