Paulina Cameron, CEO of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, speaks to B.C. Tech Summit in Vancouver. (B.C. government)

Premier John Horgan calls for high-tech investment to boost B.C. economy

New economy has grown to 10,000 companies, 114,000 B.C. jobs

Premier John Horgan made his pitch for new investment at the annual B.C. Tech Summit in Vancouver Tuesday, describing B.C. as a key part of the “Cascadia corridor” of North America that is leading the world in creating the new economy.

“I know the brains in this room are ready to go,” Horgan told the annual event at the Vancouver Convention Centre. “I know the capital that’s assembled in this room is ready to go. The function and format here allows brains and capital to come together. I hope there are a few deals done, and I’m looking at some of the bigger investors in the front row, over the next couple of days.”

Horgan said there are more than 10,000 technology companies in B.C. now, providing 114,000 well-paid jobs.

“Just in the past year another 6,000 tech jobs have been added, and we have as you all know the lowest unemployment rate in the country,” he said.

The B.C. Tech Summit continues until Wednesday, with networking sessions and workshops on diverse topics such as artificial intelligence, the emerging “bioeconomy” and agricultural innovation and a job fair.

Horgan emphasized that the technology revolution extends beyond the urban soutwest of B.C. He highlighted a sawmill property in the Kootenays being converted into a rural technology centre.

READ MORE: Former B.C. mill town eyed for data hub

READ MORE: B.C. offers to work with U.S. states on time shift

Spreading the technology wealth requires investment, such as last week’s announcement of $50 million in high-speed internet service for people in 200 rural and Indigenous communities. It’s the second phase of the province’s latest internet program, now taking applications from communities.

Horgan touched on his effort to network with the western states of Washington, Oregon and California on technology development and making daylight saving time standard all year round. He noted that he has become a “CNN junkie” and saw U.S. President Donald Trump endorse the idea of scrapping seasonal time shifts.

Horgan said he also listened with interest to the new governor of California, Gavin Newsom, speaking about the “Cascadia corridor” leading the world into a new economy.

“To establish those relationships north-south is as important to British Columbians as those that bound us together east-west since Confederation,” Horgan said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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