There is no question that big things are happening in the Okanagan tech community. An economic impact of close to $1.7 Billion, almost 13,000 jobs, and a year-over-year growth of 15% for the past 5 years are all indicators of a thriving industry. In fact, according to our economic impact study, the Okanagan is the fastest growing tech and innovation hub in the country!
In the midst of all this excitement, we said goodbye to our CEO, Raghwa Gopal and although we were sad to see him go, we’re excited to see the great things he is getting up to in his new role as President and CEO of Innovate BC and the positive impact he will undoubtedly continue to have on OKGNtech.
Since Raghwa’s departure, we’ve taken the time to pause, reflect and reimagine the future of OKGNtech and through this work we’ve built a new set of strategic priorities. These priorities were developed in consultation with the OKGNtech community and in collaboration with Accelerate Okanagan’s Board of Directors, Executives-in-Residence, and operational team. They also address the challenges and opportunities highlighted in the 2017 Techstars Community Assessment, the 2017 Economic Impact Study, and the Community Engagement Survey we conducted in the spring of this year.
Before we get into the details around the five-year strategic priorities, here is a quick look at what we do, why we do it, and who we’re here to serve.
In addition to engaging in a thorough community consultation of our own, we also relied heavily on the Techstars Community Assessment report that was completed by Chris Heivly and the Techstars team in 2017. The Okanagan was selected as one of only five regions to participate in the project – and was the only one in Canada.
The goal of the project was to accelerate entrepreneurial growth in the Okanagan beyond what would happen organically and to inspire future innovation and ideas for a diverse group of community leaders and partners to rally around. Heivly conducted 48 interviews with over 80 community members came up with the following findings that we, as a community, need to take action on:
With some refreshed clarity around who we are and where we’re at, we went about the business of setting some big and audacious goals. Here is a look at our new 5 year forecast:
In order to make these goals a reality, we have identified three main areas of focus we know will help us get there.
We are committed to innovation. These strategic priorities have been designed to promote collaboration and clarify direction but by no means are they to act as a shield against new ideas or changing tides. Although 70% of our time will be invested in projects that promote these priorities, 20% of our time will be reserved for work that sparks innovation and 10% of our time will be devoted to inspiring MOON SHOT style ideas and actions that ultimately create a tomorrow we have yet to imagine.
Thriving startup communities are communities that continually evolve. This evolution can’t be controlled and should be embraced. We need to be able to adapt to our founder's needs as our community challenges change.
Although we understand the importance of long term planning, we are committed to encouraging new things, people and ideas because we know it is all additive.