With Amazon’s announcement of a new office to be established in Vancouver and another 1,000 open jobs to fill, the conversation around our city becoming a technology hub on a global scale has been reignited.
While it can be argued that the tech landscape forces established players to adopt a more competitive mindset to keep pace with the emergence of American competitors, the reality is that to elevate Vancouver’s tech scene as a whole, we need to embrace a mindset that instead encourages mentorship, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and communal resource pooling.
One of the major issues that slows the growth of our tech scene is the lack of a strong layer of senior leaders who are invested in building businesses and talent to stay in Vancouver. Executives often parachute in and out to work with a specific company, with a goal to sell to a foreign firm, without laying down roots in Vancouver.
To effectively mature Vancouver’s tech scene, we need to develop a layer of executive and senior talent that are committed to Vancouver and invested in growing their businesses here. Second to that, we need this senior and executive talent layer to invest time and energy into developing the people in those businesses.
Developing a community of tech companies that see each other as allies and peers – rather than competitors – is an important part of this puzzle. Participation with groups like the BC Tech Association is important, not just for knowledge sharing amongst peers, but also to realize and embrace that migration of employees is inevitable. Once we build this understanding, we can foster a space where top-tier talent can be pooled and we can harness that creative energy for the benefit of the greater tech economy. Sharing resources will allow the pool of tech talent to grow within Vancouver, giving businesses access to the human capital they need in their own backyard.
Peer groups with other CEOs are a part of the continued learning that will elevate Vancouver’s tech scene alongside sharing knowledge and resources with early-stage start-ups in order to accelerate their growth and maturity. The cross benefit of this knowledge sharing is that the more established companies experience the passion, insight, and innovation from those at the start of their journey. It’s the “re-startup mentality” to which ACL credits much of its continued growth success. All talent involved develops from these close connections.
Mentorship provides an opportunity to nurture diversity and inclusion in the tech sector, which leads to long-term strength. Going forward, we want to see more companies sharing their success with others, lending a hand to newer organizations, and building each other up, with a goal to elevate Vancouver’s tech scene as a whole through mentorship.
Laurie Schultz is the CEO of ACL and is the Chair of the Board of the BC Tech Association.