Through the pandemic, associations and not-for-profit organizations faced unprecedented challenges in the face of funding challenges and disruption to traditional in person events. And despite a thriving tech sector, which came through the pandemic on strong footing, BC Tech itself faced its fair share of challenges. Notably the closure of its Hub location and withdrawal of its accelerator programs in Fall 2020 following government funding cuts for tech company support programs. What has kept BC Tech going strong is what they have described as the “power of community connections”.
When the Association started planning its annual Technology Impact Awards (TIAs), the planning team knew that this year those community connections would be essential to pulling off their first in-person event in almost two years, while delivering a virtual experience in tandem. “When we started planning for the TIAs, it felt like we were trying to execute a triple salchow with a twist”, shared Erika Borgerson, VP of Marketing at BC Tech. “But we looked at each challenge as an opportunity.”
Their first call was to Science World to host the event, and through that partnership, BC Tech committed to raise funds for Science World’s STEM programming by including a $50 donation to Science World with every ticket purchased. “Many great innovators in the tech sector started their journey by walking through our doors, and we are proud to partner on this event program, celebrating such impressive B.C. individuals and companies in tech.” said Tracy Redies, CEO, Science World.
And they didn’t stop there. BC Tech also partnered with the team at Potluck Catering, an award–winning social enterprise that employs downtown east side residents. “When the restrictions hit, we lost 3 months of revenue overnight and had to completely shift our focus. Through the pandemic, we have served 250,000 meals to downtown east side residents in need.” Shared Naved Noorani, Potluck Executive Director. “Having BC Tech engage us for their awards event this year, really means a lot to us.” In addition, BC Tech created community partnerships with Vancouver Island Brewery, Culmina Winery and Stoneboat Vineyard.
To put the finishing touches on the event program, BC Tech asked the VSO if they could provide entertainment for the evening. “After rapidly prototyping and launching TheConcertHall.ca, Canada’s first symphonic streaming service, the VSO and VSO School of Music recognized how central technology had become to the us. Pre-COVID, we had planned to create a digital strategy but the pandemic catapulted us forward in ways we that we could not have imagined. We are thrilled for the chance to perform in-person and online at the TIAs, celebrating and strengthening the VSO’s connections with BC’s tech community.” shared Angela Elster, President & CEO, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
The TIAs also boasts an impressive list of corporate partners, who have stood behind the awards program and BC Tech itself, including CIBC, TELUS, Finning, Amazon and more. “We couldn’t do the TIAs without the support of our incredible partners” shared Jill Tipping, CEO of BC Tech. “and this year we’ve been delighted to welcome back all of last year’s TIAs partners and add some new ones to the roster.”
Asked about the challenges BC Tech faced in the last year, Tipping remained resolutely upbeat. “We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond. BC Tech’s members and partners, with their strong sense of community and shared purpose enabled us to launch new programs like #BCTech4Startups, expand our #WhatWorks educational series and our peer-to-peer C Councils and continue to advocate for ScaleUP BC. Without the support of our community, we wouldn’t be in the position we are today. And I can’t wait to bring us together in celebration on Nov 18th with both an in-person event and a virtual live stream that will deliver our highest ever TIAs attendance”.
BC Tech’s Technology Impact Awards will be held at Science World on Nov 18th and will celebrate the best of BC’s tech community, across eleven award categories, with 44 impressive award finalists. Expect a showcase of resilience and the inspiration of community coming together to support one another through challenging times.
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