Sometimes it happens that you are thinking of a way to get something done, and the means and opportunity to do it suddenly just drops into your hands.
Something of that sort of thing happened this week, when CBC called TechYukon, looking for information and interviews about the growing importance of information technology in the Yukon.
They could not have shown up at a better time. We are up to things, and have a message to get out.
Starting with the society's annual general meeting in June, where we unveiled out new TechYukon identity, logo and mission statement, we have been working to promote awareness of, and support for, the local technology industry.
With an election pending, we are meeting with the caucuses of the Yukon's political parties, presenting them with our TechYukon Briefing Notes, and stressing the importance of the technology sector in the territory’s future.
We have visited the IT business accelerator VIATEC in Victoria, to see what that organization is doing to encourage and support technology companies, and to look a possible areas of cooperation between our two agencies.
We have provided sponsorship for Yukonstruct’s current startup event, in which people from Clearbanc, who are visiting the territory from Toronto, provide information sessions and one-on-one consultations with local entrepreneurs about how to start up a grow a technology company.
All good and valuable stuff, but not the kind of thing that draws a lot of press attention. And that kind of attention is important to an organization like ours, which is actually in startup mode itself.
It was gratifying to hear the people of Clearbanc speak so glowingly about how “collaborative and welcoming” our entrepreneurial culture is up here. You can get the whole interview on CBC’s Soundcloud site. (The part where they talk about their experience of Whitehorse starts at around the 6:50 mark.)
It was also good to see CBC recognize that the Yukon government “appears to be on side with industry advocates,” as they say at the end of their web write-up. Actually, the government, through its Technology and Telecommunications Development Directorate, and the ICT branch of Highways and Public Works, is more than on side with us. They are very active partners with us in advancing the stability, capacity, and growth of the sector in the territory.
The political parties we have spoken to so far are also very much onside with our ambition to add to Yukon’s economic diversity and prosperity.
Collaboration is in fact the key requirement in growing industry sectors in an economic environment as small and unique as ours. We are fortunate that it has been, to date, one of our distinguishing local strengths.
TechYukon itself is a collaborative effort of 28 Yukon technology companies. Most of them are operating in very different areas of the technology space, and have very different needs and objectives; but they have committed to work jointly to help the sector grow and prosper.
With partners like the Yukon government, the federal government’s CanNor agency, and local non-profit organizations like Yukonstruct and Startup Whitehorse—and with local news media helping people get the picture—we are in a good position to do just that.
So we’ll take this opportunity to bang our message drum one more time. Though we can break them down into more detail when asked, there three key things necessary for growing the technology industry in Yukon:
- Reliable and affordable internet access.
- Continued Yukon government investment in its IT envelope, with an emphasis on buying IT goods and services locally.
- Tax incentives, investment support, and business development and marketing assistance for local companies who are looking to develop and export products or services.
That’s the message. Thank you—and thank you, CBC—for your attention.