Smart robots. Mixed reality. Electric cars. Aquaponics. 3D printing. British Columbia businesses that are making tomorrow happen today

Anyone curious about where British Columbia’s economy is headed could have found some answers at the recent BCTech Summit in Vancouver. In its second year, the sold-out gathering featured more than 260 B.C. companies and other organizations, including some of the businesses profiled on the following pages.

B.C. was built on natural resources, but to paraphrase Yogi Berra, the future isn’t what it used to be. The technology sector has grown to roughly 10,000 companies, according to BC Stats. Those enterprises employed almost 102,000 people as of December 2015, more than the total for mining, forestry, and oil and gas. In 2015, the tech sector contributed $14.1 billion to B.C.’s gross domestic product and generated some $26.3 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, in a recent ranking of startup ecosystems by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Vancouver placed first in Canada and 15th worldwide. Translation: the city’s advantages include a strong industrial base, an unusually diverse talent pool, and a wealth of incubators and accelerators.

Rather than keep patting ourselves on the back, let’s recognize 10 companies that are moving B.C. forward. These players range from startups to established names; some represent traditional industries, while others are inventing new ones. They’re just a sampling of a rich and varied community, but each one makes us better.

As this magazine turns 45, it’s also time to honour the past—and to reflect on how dramatically our economy has changed over the years. When you turn the page, you’ll find a guided tour of pivotal events and personalities in B.C. business history, from the early 1970s to the present. Thanks for the memories, and here’s to an even brighter tomorrow.

Kindred Systems wants to design artificial intelligence that learns like people do. No pressure

At its Holodeck in Port Coquitlam, Finger Food develops applications that help corporate giants save time and money on product design

Raising fish in containers on land is eco-friendly. The next step is growing the vegetables in the same water

Grow Financial works behind the scenes to raise the banking industry’s digital game

Automaker Electra Meccanica helps commuters say goodbye to fossil fuels

ViewsIQ helps speed up disease diagnosis anywhere in the world by taking pathology digital

Cleantech firm MineSense offers the mining industry a way to boost profits while cutting pollution

Telus explores how technology might allow the elderly to stay in their homes

Britco slashes energy costs and waste by blending modular and passive housing

Arius Technology plays a key role in creating reproductions of landmark paintings that are dead ringers for the originals