B.C. Technology Association CEO Jill Tipping. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press Media)

B.C. Technology Association CEO Jill Tipping. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press Media)

Tea and technology with B.C. Tech Association CEO Jill Tipping

B.C. needs training and competitive taxation to attract top talent

Jill Tipping, CEO of the B.C. Technology Association, sat down with Black Press Media legislature reporter Tom Fletcher this week to talk about the rapid rise of technology and her industry’s work to help companies grow.

TF: You have lots of corporate partners, how did the association get started?

JT: We’re 25 years old this year, and mostly private sector funded. That’s a bit unusual, about 60 per cent of our funding, and about 40 per cent is from the federal government. We haven’t any provincial funding but we’re hoping to change that.

We focus on helping tech companies grow and scale, making sure that the ecosystem in B.C. can support everybody, whether you’re a small company or a growing company or a big company.

TF: One of the things that the federal government acknowledged a couple of years ago is that they had too many innovation programs. How has that evolved?

JT: I think it’s a natural progression. At first there are so many people who are enthusiastic and they see what could change and what could be better. And that encourages in our sector a really entrepreneurial attitude, so everybody creates a new organization and says, ‘let me help.’ And the federal government says ‘let’s create a new program for every problem that we have.’ But over time we get a bit more mature, and we say, if we focus and prioritize we can have a bigger impact.

You see that in the federal programs, where there has been a tightening of the focus and streamlining of the approach so that we’re focused on just a few problems, scaling problems in particular sectors where Canada is strong. And we’re starting to see the same thing in B.C., where we’re coming together to focus on fewer things that are really critically important.

READ MORE: Premier Horgan urges investment at B.C. Tech Summit

READ MORE: B.C. task force goes in search of emerging tech economy

There two key things for B.C. One is access to talent. It’s the number one problem every company will talk to you about. The other thing is we don’t have as many companies achieving scale success.

TF: What are the jobs to train for in technology these days?

JT: Tech jobs are technical jobs and those are always in demand. So web designers and coders and deep data scientists. Those are really in demand. What’s also interesting is user design, so experiential learning, design thinking, marketing, finance. There are so many growth areas in tech, there’s a role for everyone.

TF: One of the difficulties with media reports is you’ll see this one-line summary about machine learning and artificial intelligence, and that it’s going to revolutionize the world. What does that actually mean, today at least?

JT: Let me give you a practical example, in medical imaging. We used to put an X-ray on the screen and expert eyes would look at it and see what they could find, and they found most things. What we can now do is take multiple different shots, and examine a database that can spot the things that the human mind and human eye might not see.

So now we’re spotting many more problems and we’re able to fix them sooner in medicine. It’s a great example of how machine learning and analyzing deep data sets can help to do things.

TF: So it’s not a robot that can do your kid’s homework.

JT: Or tidy their room. The history of machines, from the very beginning, whether we think of it as farming implements or whatever, has always been to help human beings do things that human beings either don’t enjoy or aren’t particularly good at. But the human beings will stay in control.

TF: Your organization is focused on attracting skilled people. The U.S. has lowered its corporate taxes. B.C. and Canada have increased their top personal income rates, so the combined income tax for a high-level executive or entrepreneur is more than 50 per cent. What’s the effect of that?

JT: One of the interesting things for our sector is that everything in the world that’s thriving in tech and innovation is in a place that’s got a high cost of housing, high cost of living and high taxes, like California. This is an industry that’s had to thrive despite those setbacks.

And it does it because what it’s mining is human brains and human intelligence, and human beings like to live in delightful, lovely places, so they really value quality of life taken as a whole.

Some of the things where Canada and B.C. in particular has a real advantage is our health system and our education system are fantastic advantages. Tech workers tend to be fairly cosmopolitan, so they like the atmosphere in Canada.

It’s one of the reasons I’m bullish about Canada as a tech economy. In a challenging world, our brand and what we stand for and the kind of place we are to live is going to be really attractive.

Not everything is the best it can possibly be, but we’ve got some great advantages.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Just Posted

BC Ferries issued a reminder on May 17 that there will be no additional sailings over the Victoria Day weekend and that travel is limited to essential reasons only. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
No additional holiday weekend sailings

BC Ferries reminds travellers health orders are in place for essential travel only

Reverend Paul Williams of St. Andrews Cathedral Church stands next to the metal cross showing the enormity of the fabricated piece by a parishioner and stored away for over ten years. The goal is to have the cross mounted to the roof of the sanctuary so it can welcome those entering the harbour. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
A cross to bear for the roof of St. Andrews Cathedral Church

A fabricated metal cross made by a parishioner is seeing the light of day after 15 years in storage

Kristy Maier, Prince Rupert mom, SD 52 trustee, basketball treasurer, district PAC liaison said it is important to teach children to be part of the community. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of the City – Kristy Maier

Coming back to her ‘people’ Kristy Maier now teaches little people how to be a community

It doesn’t matter where or how you received a COVID-19 vaccination, to receive the second immunization everyone must register on the ‘Get Vaccinated’ system health officials said, on May 11. While numbers are down Prince Rupert has not yet ‘zero’ cases as of numbers reported for May 2nd to 8th. (Image: BCCDC)
Prince Rupert still not at ‘zero’ COVID-19 cases

For second immunizations everyone in Prince Rupert and region must register, health officials said

Food programs such as the BC Fruit and Veggies program are important to student learning and students would be at a loss without them, Jeremy Janz principal of Pacific Coast School said, on May 13. Full tummies are the best way to start the day for Prince Rupert students, Natalia White (11) and Nikisha Johnson (12) who attended the official launch of the Breakfast Club of Canada program at PRMS on Feb. 25, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
UPDATED: School fruits and veggies may be cut, said BC Liberals — Not so said Premier’s office

P.R. students healthy food knowledge grew from the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional program

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Most Read