Deloitte launches a Greenhouse in Vancouver to fan the city’s flame for innovation

The innovation hub will be in Deloitte's new office at 410 West Georgia.

The ability to nurture an idea from seed to impact requires the business equivalent of a green thumb. To that end, American real estate company Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE) just ranked Vancouver as the eighth best talent market in the world in a recent tech talent scoring report

To contribute to the city’s rise as a global leader in innovation, Deloitte Canada’s new office downtown, the Deloitte Summit, will be home to a Greenhouse, which serves as a hub for tech companies from around the world to collaborate, innovate and accelerate. 

“Twenty years ago, unicorns were rare,” says Jamie Sawchuk, Deloitte’s Greenhouse sponsor in B.C. “Now, unicorns are popping up all over the place and can go from a good idea to a unicorn in a matter of months, not even years…what the Greenhouse allows you to do is bring a diverse leadership group together, and then one day, explore a topic and quickly align on a course of action.”

The Toronto-based business consulting firm actually hosted a pop-up Greenhouse in Vancouver some five years ago, which established the need for a full-fledged centre dedicated to fanning the flames of local initiatives. 

“Whether it’s AR/VR, whether it’s a new SaaS solution, whether it’s a new way to do banking, a new way to do identity management, social media… B.C.’s amazing in terms of finding ways to make energy and resources more sustainable, and bringing some of those technologies in,” maintains Erica Pretorius, who is Deloitte Canada’s technology industry leader and risk advisory leader for B.C.

The company has been encouraging collaborative breakthroughs for some time now. Recently, a B.C. group interested in finding a housing affordability and food security solution was able to decide on an action plan and get it funded after going to a Greenhouse to incubate the idea.

“A one day initiative is now a multimillion dollar program,” says Sawchuk.

Deloitte drew further inspiration from the fact that a Greenhouse in B.C. would be an opportunity to connect local innovators to Greenhouses in, for example, the U.S. or Europe, through its virtual experience. “You can bring people from different regions together faster,” Sawchuk notes. “It also allows us to fuse urban perspectives, rural perspectives and remote perspectives. And it’s the collision of those different regions and those different perspectives that create some ingenuity in the context of British Columbia.”

To sweeten the deal, our province’s particular focus on climate sustainability and social responsibility is key to the way new technologies are emerging nowadays. Business leaders are looking for safe spaces to get creative and move those types of agendas forward, according to Sawchuk.

“It’s interesting—you’re bringing executives into this context. All of a sudden, you bring out the inner kid in the executive. And when you get that inner kid, you get the creativity. And when you get the creativity, then you’re on the right path.”