VICTORIA, BC – On Sunday, September 27, Mayor Lisa Helps will lead ‘Team Victoria’, a 31-person, multi-stakeholder trade mission to San Francisco, California. The team will include the Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, and representatives from the Greater Victoria Development Agency and Greater Victoria’s high-tech, tourism, business and education sectors. Together, they seek to build and enhance strategic relationships with key influencers of North America’s epi-centre of innovation and technology.
“Two weeks ago we unleashed Victoria’s draft economic action plan Making Victoria – Unleashing Potential, and now we’re taking it on the road,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “I’m thrilled to be leading this diverse and influential group of leaders to San Francisco.”
The trade mission provides an opportunity to showcase and grow Victoria’s local tech companies, with the goal of attracting investment and talent to the region, and building investor and entrepreneur relationships. Over two days, ‘Team Victoria’ members will meet with potential clients, promote Victoria as a destination, and work to build academic partnerships to foster research opportunities and job development networks.
“The B.C. government is committed to growing our economy and strengthening our technology sector,” said Minister Virk. “San Francisco has a large Canadian talent pool that we are going to continue to engage, to build and strengthen our industry, seeking growth and partnership opportunities that will enhance our tech strategy. Our similar markets, low corporate tax rates, and a strong angel investor community makes our province the place to invest.”
In addition to the scheduled partner meetings, Mayor Helps is hosting a luncheon. Guests include representatives from Apple, Rocketspace, Blumberg Capital, and the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Rocketspace is a premiere technology campus in San Francisco, exclusively designed to help entrepreneurs, start-ups and corporate innovation professionals succeed.
Blumberg Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm that specializes in providing seed funding to technology companies. The Bay Area Council Economic Institute is a partnership of business with labour, government, higher education, and philanthropy that works to support the economic vitality and competitiveness of the Bay Area and California.
“We are thrilled that our three-year Trade and Investment Program, launched in 2014, can serve as a catalyst to make this initiative come together in alignment to all stakeholders,” said Dallas Gislason, Economic Development Officer for the Greater Victoria Development Agency. “The fact that this effort achieved such strong buy-in region-wide is very telling about the importance of the San Francisco area to many sectors of our economy here at home.”
On Tuesday evening, close to 80 Bay Area influencers will attend the ‘Team Victoria’ reception at the Aquarium by the Bay, where they will have the opportunity to network with trade mission members and enjoy a “Fireside Chat” with Jeff Mallett, co-founder of Yahoo! and James DeGreef, co-founder of GenoLogics Life Sciences Software and CEO of ChatterBlock.
“It is vital that we continue to build relationships in San Francisco and the Bay Area. It’s only a two-hour flight away and provides the world’s largest concentration of tech investors, advisors, partners and customers,” said Dan Gunn, Chief Executive Officer for VIATEC. “We will be meeting one-on-one with existing key contacts to keep them up to speed on the opportunities in our local tech scene while leveraging the group of community leaders on the trade mission to draw out potential new partners that are interested in building stronger ties to our local innovators and entrepreneurs.”
‘Team Victoria’ members plan to hold a report-back session later this fall to outline opportunities and relationships that developed from the trip. The estimated budget for the trade mission is $34,000. Each team member is contributing towards the cost, with the City of Victoria providing $5,000.
Create Prosperity Through Economic Development is a key objective of the City of Victoria’s strategic plan for focus and investment over the next four years. The trade mission to San Francisco supports this objective and includes some members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development and Prosperity. Established in April, the Task Force has developed Making Victoria: Unleashing Potential, a draft economic action plan to grow Victoria’s economy. The draft plan is available for public input until September 30. For more information: www.victoria.ca/prosperity