Tech giants' B.C. expansion is a sign of good public policy, says technology minister Andrew Wilkinson
Many British Columbians will be aware that technology is one of the top contributors to B.C.’s economy. BC Stats’ most recent profile of the technology sector shows that revenues in technology grew 78 per cent from 2002 to 2012 to more than $23 billion.
Premier Christy Clark laid out a vision two and a half years ago—the BC Jobs Plan. That plan targeted eight key sectors in our economy, including technology, where we need to seize on our advantages as a province and build prosperity.
The number of homegrown success stories—such as market leaders like Hootsuite, StemCell Technologies, Westport, and Global Relay—is growing quickly.
Early last month, Microsoft announced plans to open the “Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre” in the heart of downtown Vancouver. This $90 million investment in B.C. will generate more than $181 million in direct and indirect economic growth every year, as well as shine a spotlight on British Columbia as a world-class place to invest and do business.
And just last week, Sony Pictures Imageworks announced plans to relocate their headquarters from Los Angeles to Vancouver, acknowledging the city to be a world-class centre for visual effects and animation production.
These recent announcements are both great examples of how our province is attracting significant investments while building on that reputation—and it shows the strength that comes from following through on a plan. Building on this plan, last month our government launched B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: our plan to connect British Columbians with the skills they need today to get a job tomorrow.
Together, both Microsoft and Sony Pictures Imageworks will create new opportunities and further the growth of B.C.’s tech sector. We will see work opportunities, and an incredible amount of knowledge transfer from tech staff to local businesses in the sector and to our post-secondary institutions; in turn, these new investments will make B.C. even more attractive as a hub for technology.
I’m proud of the work we’re doing and I am committed to ensuring that the growth we’re seeing in the tech sector continues. It is wonderful to see our home grown companies prosper, and to welcome Microsoft and Sony Pictures as they base their operations here in B.C.
Andrew Wilkinson is B.C.'s Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services