Each month, Kathleen Reid (Founder + Managing Director at Switchboard Public Relations) connects the dots between the trends, headlines and narratives that are informing the BC tech sector.
This month, she’s shedding light on a regional community making some noise, a grassroots effort to encourage more female representation in STEM, and an anchor company growing their presence in the city.
Microsoft Vancouver announces the creation of 500 new jobs
The short: The hiring will take place in 2021 and increase Microsoft’s presence in Vancouver to 1,700 employees.
The long: As BC’s most prominent anchor tech company, Microsoft adding 500 new jobs will have a considerable ripple effect on the local industry. The roles will focus on building ‘leading applications in Intelligent Communications, Office, Azure, OneDrive, Web Experiences and mixed reality’.
This marks the second talent related announcement made by Microsoft this year, following the launch of the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator Project, which will equip 2,500 underrepresented youth (18 to 29 years old) for in-demand digital careers across the country.
If you want more information on how to work at Microsoft Vancouver, here’s what you can do:
- Join this Microsoft Vancouver LinkedIn group
- Sign up for a Clubhouse account
- Drop in on the Vancouver Tech Morning Show on March 30th, where Microsoft’s Pam Saunders will talk to Vancouver Tech Journal’s William Johnson about how they plan on hiring for all of these new roles
- If you need a Clubhouse invite, DM this person.
Okanagan happenings: mergers, investments, and lobbying
The short: A busy month in the Okanagan sees Bananatag merge with Staffbase, a robotics company from Salmon Arm win $145K at the OKGN Angel Summit, and the region’s heavy hitters make their case for a local RDA office.
The long: Kelowna-headquartered Bananatag is one of the Okanagan tech sector’s brightest stars, and joins a growing list of recent mergers and exits within the BC tech sector.
Kelowna’s emergence as a rapidly growing tech hub has opened the door for more investment to flow into the region, which has made events like the OKGN Angel Summit a vital part of the local industry. TechBrew Robotics, which emerged on the provincial radar two years ago after winning the Innovate BC Agritech Challenge, joins Trellis (2019) and Minga (2020) as competition winners.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a great read on Regional Development Agencies – what they are, why BC is getting one, and why some of the biggest names in the tech industry are stumping for an office in Kelowna – look no further than this BetaKit article by Kelsey Rolfe and Isabelle Kirkwood.
STEM Sorority expands its reach to encourage more girls to pursue a career in science, tech, engineering and mathematics
The short: The club, which was started by three local high-school students, is leveraging support from the BC Tech Association to help more than 300 female students explore their passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The long: This checks all the boxes of a great story. Three female students identified a problem, developed a solution, proved their concept, secured support from one of the biggest names in the industry, and are now scaling their project to five Vancouver schools.
Barriers for girls and women to enter and thrive in the tech sector have been well documented. This initiative not only brings attention to those barriers, but provides an opportunity for girls to overcome them.
Shout out to Jenny, Judy, and Kaityln: Keep up the great work, and thanks for developing our next wave of homegrown talent!
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