Every year it’s great to see Vancouver’s tech scene come together to connect and celebrate. Startup culture is often busy, heads down and focused on growth, and Vancouver Startup Week allows everyone to take a beat to see who’s around, what everyone has been up to and remember that you’re not alone.

At Lighthouse Labs, community is our lifeblood, and we’re proud to play a part in bringing Vancouver’s startup scene together.

Startups are an integral part of the Vancouver business community, and our city is home to a diverse range of tech companies. But the key to growing any business – whether it’s a company of 50 or 5,000 – is finding the right people.

B.C. is fortunate enough to boast a 4.4% unemployment rate. While this is great for workers, it makes life more difficult for growing companies looking to attract and retain top talent.

People can make or break a growing business, and startups don’t always have the full time or resources it takes to recruit more passive candidates who are not actively seeking new opportunities. Because of that, networking events like VSW are a great way for companies to foster connections with new talent.

On the other side, if you’re a job seeker, events like Vancouver Startup Week are a good opportunity to find out what types of companies are in the city, and maybe even volunteer or network your way to a job.

Lighthouse Labs works closely with Vancouver’s rapidly growing companies, and VSW is also a great way for us to connect directly with employers, hear what they’re looking for in new talent, and then curate a selection of top students for that specific employer. We’ll also help book interviews and push the recruitment process through.

Another benefit of VSW for us is to find new technology trends that may influence what we teach, as startups are often early adopters of new tech. Our programming is informed by new and emerging trends in tech, and we base our teaching on real world and industry practices in order to produce talent with practical experience, as well as soft skills and business knowledge that can really impact smaller growing businesses.

If I can leave Vancouver startups with one piece of advice, it’s to not feel insecure in competing for talent in the shadow of larger tech companies.

Working at a smaller company allows for unique opportunities that employees wouldn’t find anywhere else. Greater responsibility and autonomy, room for growth, a close relationship with senior management or the CEO, and flexible working environments are often more attractive to candidates than the prestige of a big name.

Own the realities of your business, realistically present who your company is (and avoid trying to hide the challenges) and you’ll attract great talent in-line with your company vision.

Charlyne Fothergill is Director of Career Services at Canadian Coding Bootcamp Lighthouse Labs.