A GROUP of major companies is coming to Terrace in hopes of finding a solution to specific business challenges they have.
And at the same time, there’ll be opportunities for local companies to showcase their own expertise.
“This is very much a two-pronged effort,” says Carl Anderson, the CEO of the BC Innovation Council, a provincial crown agency given the task of expanding the use of technology to enable business growth.
Connecting outside companies with local ones recognizes the growing reality that businesses no longer need to be based in large urban centres, he said.
“You can really be anywhere,” said Anderson of the internet communications world.
The Feb. 23 BC Innovation Council event here is one of seven being hosted by the council.
Other locations include Prince George, Victoria and Kamloops.
“The response so far has been overwhelming,” said Anderson of events that have already taken place.
“If you have a solution for IBM, it doesn’t matter where you live. They’ll help you market it around the world,” he said.
The seven-stop tour, Anderson continued, helps fill the mandate of the innovation council to promote technology to overcome problems and to use technology to help businesses grow in products and services and to increase their overall efficiency.
“We’re out to move technology into traditional industries,” he said.
To date the list of organizations coming to Terrace includes the BC Lottery Corporation, the provincial agriculture ministry and BC Stats. Also to be here is IBM, a Kamloops-based communications software company called Lightship and Snap Up Real Estate, both of whom are based in Kamloops, and Prince George-based Sibola Mountain Falling.
Anderson said the ability to have regionally-based companies meet with companies based in other regions can only help spread ideas and solutions to problems.
He was particularly keen on Telus choosing Terrace as its first northwest location to run fibre optic lines to businesses and homes to speed up sending and receiving over the internet.
“So, definitely. You don’t have to be in Vancouver anymore,” said Anderson.
“You can now deal with anyone in the world.”
Such connectivity means places such as Terrace can be attractive business locations because they offer affordable housing compared to larger centres.
One of the local companies who will be taking part in the Feb. 23 event is Coast Mountain Wireless, a communications company with an operations base in Thornhill.
Owner Rob Dykman, who is also involved in local economic development through his role in the Terrace Business Resource Centre, said the area has much to offer to technology-based businesses, particularly ones which employ younger people.
“There are generally two types of people who move here – transfers or lifestyle,” said Dykman.
“For lifestyle, we have it. Look at the outdoor amenities.”
That, coupled with the improvements in online connections, could well serve to attract smaller companies specializing in the digital world, he said.
“Whether it’s Telus or CityWest, that high speed service is here,” Dykman added.
“If we can get a multiple number of companies, with each having a small number of employees, then chances are they all won’t up and leave at the same time.”