$10,000 ICET funds target Cowichan Valley tech sector

A project to develop a comprehensive strategy to attract more information-technology companies to the Cowichan Valley has begun.

A project to develop a comprehensive strategy to attract more information-technology companies to the Cowichan Valley has begun.

The Valley is already home to several digital animation companies and software developers within the tech industry, but a project funded by the Island Coastal Economic Trust is intended to try and help the region plan for, and accelerate, growth in the sector.

Economic Development Cowichan has recently received $10,000 from ICET to develop a tech strategy for the region, which will outline the competitive advantages to locating in the Valley.

Amy Melmock, manager of the EDC, said that with the $10,000 grant from ICET, the EDC now has the resources to make a call-for-proposals for organizations to step forward to develop the strategy.

“With a strong fibre optic network in place and designers, software developers, game creators and digital animators already gaining a foothold here, this study couldn’t be more timely,” Melmock said.

“By working collaboratively, we can look closely at where there is room for growth. Mapping existing tech companies and defining the types of new companies that are likely to evolve here are the first steps in the process.”

Melmock said the Valley has many competitive advantages that tech companies are increasingly looking for.

“The highly skilled and highly paid employees of many of these high-tech firms like the lifestyle that the Valley offers, with all its beaches and hiking trails,” she said.

“As well, the cost of living is competitive in the Valley, the workers are still close to the major centres like Vancouver and Victoria and it’s a great place for them to raise their kids.”

Melmock said the strategy that will be developed will investigate whether the Valley has all the infrastructure in place to further develop the high-tech industry here.

“We need to think of this like gold mining,” she said. “We want to filter out the nuggets in the industry that will be unique to the Cowichan Valley.”