VIATeC Summons Superb Roster of Speakers to Inspire Local Entrepreneurs at Experience Tectoria

Fort Tectoria is located in an unsuspecting brick building along Fort Street, just a few blocks up from downtown Victoria’s stunning harbour.

The heritage-rich structure is charming with exposed-brick walls and concrete floors, and the contrast of Fort Tectoria itself is awesome: an old building electrified by new ideas.

At Experience Tectoria, a two-day entrepreneur conference hosted by VIATeC, an impressive roster of speakers delivered consistently interesting sessions to a small but engaged crowd September 11 and 12 in the heart of downtown Victoria.

Inside the Fort, the audience was treated to talks by a diverse range of people: angel investor, journalist, tech employee.

Investor Ralph Turfus of New Ventures BC and Acetech opened things up Thursday morning by emphasizing the important of marketing and a startup’s need to write a clear positioning statement. He was followed up by John Mullins of the London Business School, who based his session on the subject of his new book and implored entrepreneurs to skip seed-stage capital and instead build a “customer-funded business.”

Day two saw a hungover audience—a grand opening party the evening before bled into the night—wake up to a spirited talk by Jesse Brown, who posited that the Internet of Things is the “next big thing” in the world, but that it probably won’t look quite how we envision it today. Brown’s energy was matched, if not exceeded, by branding expert Marc Stoiber, who shared fascinating anecdotes about wildly successful companies that fell off cliffs, and added how startups might “future-proof” their brands.

Although the event, still in its infancy, was riddled with minor hiccups—like a video without sound that stalled a session for several minutes—Tectoria was a value-rich event that evenly balanced quality networking with genuinely interesting sessions. The event’s modest size lent itself to a casual intimacy, which benefited attendees seeking to make real connections.

A recent economic impact study commissioned by VIATeC shows Victoria’s tech sector has a total impact of $4 billion on the local economy. Total revenues generated by the regions nearly 900 high-tech companies now exceeds $3 billion.

Tectoria’s goal is to better Victoria’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the end of Jesse Brown’s talk, which mentioned Canada’s tendency to lag innovation and act too conservatively, someone’s hand sprouted up from the crowd.

“What can Victoria do on a local level to advance regional innovation?” he asked.

Brown swept a hand across the room. “I think this is a really great start,” he said, referring to Experience Tectoria.

No argument there.