Tech industry a vital part of our future

Tech industry a vital part of our future

It is exciting to hear the technology sector in the Okanagan has added more than 1100 jobs between 2013 and 2015 and now contributes over $1.3 billion annually to the local economy.  When we created our economic development task force it was based on four pillars: niche manufacturing, training center, partnerships, and technology.

For most of us, our knowledge of the technology business is limited to large corporations —Google, Microsoft or Apple —and we often ask how we could bring them to our community. We forget that most technology businesses started small and grew into the household names and products we use in our daily lives. Growing the tech sector is smart, clean and represents a huge opportunity for our future.

We already have several local companies competing on a global scale in the technology field which is something to be proud of.  As an example, Windward Software is a multi-national business management software solutions provider headquartered right here in Penticton. Since starting in 1984 Windward has grown to service over 4000 clients in 35 countries.  The local area is also home to  Progeny Bio, XCO, Karoleena Homes, Big Bear Software, Ertus Consulting and Electromotion Energy to name just a few of our up and coming tech potentials.

When you think about it, technology based companies only need an internet connection and they are in business.  Telus recently announced they will be improving their fibre optic and connectivity infrastructure in Penticton. The new service will deliver upload speeds up to 15 times faster than currently available to the doorsteps of our businesses and residents before the end of 2017. All of us will be able to connect, transfer data and communicate around the world with vastly increased speed, capacity and reliability.  The tech industry is also a good investment in our future and usually requires a smaller footprint than a manufacturing plant, mill, or retail business. Our daily lives at work, home and play are all heavily influenced by improvements and advancements in technology. Think about how much you rely on your smart phone and what you can do with it.

Local tech firms have been helping to diversify Penticton’s workforce and economy for several years. The local economy has traditionally relied on manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture and the technology industry is adding to this solid foundation.Last year, we were ranked the second most entrepreneurial city in Canada. Celebrating the growth of the tech sector shows that Penticton is contributing and playing an important role in our regional strategy to provide growth, jobs and an improved economy. 

Penticton’s unique lifestyle and opportunities for adventure attract a talented workforce with an innovative business culture that really sets us apart. Our city is now attracting attention from around the world for entrepreneurship, leisure activities and our spectacular natural surroundings.  

Fifty-two percent of the tech workforce is under 35 years of age and represent a socially and environmentally conscious demographic that is typically starting a family.  We want to develop and foster a workforce that will invest of themselves into our community and view our city as the ideal location to raise their children, explore the outdoors, and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.

We will continue to invest and partner to ensure that robust connectivity and a focus on technology opportunities brings the world to Penticton and Penticton to the world.