Our #SBAlibrary summer reading challenge was a great opportunity to delve into the world of business reading. With help from community members and organizations, we featured books that help entrepreneurs keep up with trends, build important skills, and be inspired by innovation. As we wrap up #SBAlibrary for the year, we want to take an opportunity to spotlight some of the most outstanding business reads that we featured this summer.

 

Most Recommended:

Originals by Adam Grant

Librarians at both the Vancouver Public Library and the Kelowna Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library recommended Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant. Grant, an organizational psychologist, is another familiar name for frequent business readers – he has published two other best-selling books – and his TED Talks have been praised for inspiring increased creativity. In Originals, Grant brings together diverse stories and studies to explore how to recognize good ideas, speak up, build effective coalitions, and manage fear and doubt.

Most Social Media Engagement

The Content Planner by Angela Crocker

The Read Local BC project advised us to check out Self-Counsel Press, a North Vancouver-based business publisher, as we collected summer business reads. This led us to The Content Planner by BC author Angela Crocker. Published this year, The Content Planner provides tailored structures for readers to learn to write more professionally, share content consistent with their brand, and better serve their customer base. Appropriately for a book about crafting web content, this book received an especially positive reception from our Twitter followers.

Best Cover Design

In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice From Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by best-selling author Grace Bonney stands out for its fascinating interviews with diverse female leaders, but it first drew us in because of its engaging cover design. With its practical and empowering insights, In the Company of Women is just as good as its cover!

Team Pick

Without Excuses by Joe Watson

Here at the SBA we highly value the important contributions of equity and inclusion in the business world. Without Excuses: Unleash the Power of Diversity to Build Your Business by strategic advisor Joe Watson brings a unique perspective to conversations about diversity at work. Watson offers proven, practical strategies for building diversity and challenges readers to push past their comfort zones.

Canadian Read

An Army of Problem Solvers by Shaun Loney

In An Army of Problem Solvers: Reconciliation and the Solutions Economy, Shaun Loney draws on his experiences as one of Canada’s leading social enterprise developers to make a case that Canada cannot achieve reconciliation without allowing the re-emergence of local economies. Loney believes that the key to this re-emergence is the “solutions economy” – social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, and the small farm movement. This book is a must-read for any Canadian interested in social entrepreneurship. Thanks to Burnaby Public Library for the recommendation!

Business Biography

Walking in the Woods by Herb Belcourt

Autobiographies by business leaders offer insights on professional and personal development that entrepreneurs can apply in their daily lives. In Walking in the Woods: A Métis Journey, the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Herb Belcourt reflects candidly on his life experiences. Born in a small log home during the Great Depression, Belcourt became a successful business owner and founded initiatives that have made a difference in the lives of many Métis Albertans. No matter your background, this book has something for every reader.

Modern Classic

Grit by Angela Duckworth

After reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, you can understand why author Angela Duckworth won a MacArthur Genius Grant. Duckworth shares findings from her research about success, which revealed that grit – a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal – is a hallmark of high achievers. Don’t have time to pick up the book? Check out Duckworth’s dynamic TED Talk on the same subject.
 

To explore the rest of our #SBALibrary recommendations, check out the #SBAlibrary hashtag on Twitter. Are you looking for a personalized or more specific business reading recommendation? Visit your local library for recommendations and resources!

Books

Our #SBAlibrary summer reading challenge was a great opportunity to delve into the world of business reading. With help from community members and organizations, we featured books that help entrepreneurs keep up with trends, build important skills, and be inspired by innovation. As we wrap up #SBAlibrary for the year, we want to take an opportunity to spotlight some of the most outstanding business reads that we featured this summer.

 

Most Recommended:

Originals by Adam Grant

Librarians at both the Vancouver Public Library and the Kelowna Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library recommended Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant. Grant, an organizational psychologist, is another familiar name for frequent business readers – he has published two other best-selling books – and his TED Talks have been praised for inspiring increased creativity. In Originals, Grant brings together diverse stories and studies to explore how to recognize good ideas, speak up, build effective coalitions, and manage fear and doubt.

Most Social Media Engagement

The Content Planner by Angela Crocker

The Read Local BC project advised us to check out Self-Counsel Press, a North Vancouver-based business publisher, as we collected summer business reads. This led us to The Content Planner by BC author Angela Crocker. Published this year, The Content Planner provides tailored structures for readers to learn to write more professionally, share content consistent with their brand, and better serve their customer base. Appropriately for a book about crafting web content, this book received an especially positive reception from our Twitter followers.

Best Cover Design

In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice From Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by best-selling author Grace Bonney stands out for its fascinating interviews with diverse female leaders, but it first drew us in because of its engaging cover design. With its practical and empowering insights, In the Company of Women is just as good as its cover!

Team Pick

Without Excuses by Joe Watson

Here at the SBA we highly value the important contributions of equity and inclusion in the business world. Without Excuses: Unleash the Power of Diversity to Build Your Business by strategic advisor Joe Watson brings a unique perspective to conversations about diversity at work. Watson offers proven, practical strategies for building diversity and challenges readers to push past their comfort zones.

Canadian Read

An Army of Problem Solvers by Shaun Loney

In An Army of Problem Solvers: Reconciliation and the Solutions Economy, Shaun Loney draws on his experiences as one of Canada’s leading social enterprise developers to make a case that Canada cannot achieve reconciliation without allowing the re-emergence of local economies. Loney believes that the key to this re-emergence is the “solutions economy” – social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, and the small farm movement. This book is a must-read for any Canadian interested in social entrepreneurship. Thanks to Burnaby Public Library for the recommendation!

Business Biography

Walking in the Woods by Herb Belcourt

Autobiographies by business leaders offer insights on professional and personal development that entrepreneurs can apply in their daily lives. In Walking in the Woods: A Métis Journey, the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Herb Belcourt reflects candidly on his life experiences. Born in a small log home during the Great Depression, Belcourt became a successful business owner and founded initiatives that have made a difference in the lives of many Métis Albertans. No matter your background, this book has something for every reader.

Modern Classic

Grit by Angela Duckworth

After reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, you can understand why author Angela Duckworth won a MacArthur Genius Grant. Duckworth shares findings from her research about success, which revealed that grit – a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal – is a hallmark of high achievers. Don’t have time to pick up the book? Check out Duckworth’s dynamic TED Talk on the same subject.
 

To explore the rest of our #SBALibrary recommendations, check out the #SBAlibrary hashtag on Twitter. Are you looking for a personalized or more specific business reading recommendation? Visit your local library for recommendations and resources!

Books

Lights, camera, action! Video production involves the capture of moving images on various forms of electronic media. A video production business often specializes in a certain area of production, such as television commercials, corporate videos, event videos, or educational videos. The video production industry has made headlines in British Columbia as the province is in the midst of a production boom. We decided that now is an ideal time to spotlight the SBA’s resources for video production businesses.

Industry Overview

BC

Creative BC reports that British Columbia has a thriving digital media industry fueled by the province’s strong talent base and established production infrastructure. BC production companies have extensive credits demonstrating high quality production work across a diverse range of projects, which contribute to BC’s status as one of the largest centres for film and television production in North America. As municipalities around the province are reporting record numbers of TV, movie, and commercial shoots, production companies are scrambling to find shooting locations around British Columbia.

Canada

According to a 2017 IBISWorld Report on the Movie, Television, and Video Production Industry in Canada, the video production industry is poised for continued growth in Canada over the next five years. High-quality video content has strategic value for digital streaming services that are competing for viewers in addition to movie theaters, broadcasters, and other online platforms. However, this growth is dependent on continued domestic tax incentives because public sources, including tax credits, account for the majority of industry financing. An industry profile from The Canadian Media Producers Association points out that the growth of the video production industry is also linked to that of content packagers: broadcasters and distributors, two other key sources of financing, are impacted by changing consumer behaviour.

Industry trends and challenges

The 2016 Economic Report on the Screen-Based Media Production Industry in Canada addresses trends and challenges in the video production industry. The industry is in transition due to the changing ways that consumers engage with screen-based media products: engaged participants who seek on-demand, immersive media experience are replacing traditionally passive film and television viewers. Video production industry players need to be prepared to repurpose traditional content for interactive uses, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, and be attuned to emerging devices for screen-based content.

Specificity is another industry trend identified by the report: in the digital world, Canadian consumers are tailoring their content experiences, signing up for niche subscription content offerings, and looking for “freemium content” (ad-supported content that is available at no cost). Ultimately, Canadian consumers want video content that is relevant and tailored to them.

Resources

Associations

BC Professional Videographers Association (BCPVA)

Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) 

Cineworks

Magazines & trade journals

Playback

Post Magazine

Studio Daily

Videomaker Magazine

Directories

Production Hub

Telefilm Canada Directory

Vistek Directory

Additional resources

If you would like to access more resources, the Video Production Accelerator Guide is designed to help prospective and existing business owners gather information for their secondary market research. The guide is broken down into four main sections that cover how to start your research, industry information, competitive information and customer information. Depending on your needs you can spend as much or as little time as necessary in each section.

If you find that you need more guidance before starting your secondary research, check out our Business Research Basics Guide. It will help you focus on what types of information you will need to gather and why it is important.

Related guides

Filmmaking Guide

Portrait Photography Guide

 

Lights, camera, action! Video production involves the capture of moving images on various forms of electronic media. A video production business often specializes in a certain area of production, such as television commercials, corporate videos, event videos, or educational videos. The video production industry has made headlines in British Columbia as the province is in the midst of a production boom. We decided that now is an ideal time to spotlight the SBA’s resources for video production businesses.

Industry Overview

BC

Creative BC reports that British Columbia has a thriving digital media industry fueled by the province’s strong talent base and established production infrastructure. BC production companies have extensive credits demonstrating high quality production work across a diverse range of projects, which contribute to BC’s status as one of the largest centres for film and television production in North America. As municipalities around the province are reporting record numbers of TV, movie, and commercial shoots, production companies are scrambling to find shooting locations around British Columbia.

Canada

According to a 2017 IBISWorld Report on the Movie, Television, and Video Production Industry in Canada, the video production industry is poised for continued growth in Canada over the next five years. High-quality video content has strategic value for digital streaming services that are competing for viewers in addition to movie theaters, broadcasters, and other online platforms. However, this growth is dependent on continued domestic tax incentives because public sources, including tax credits, account for the majority of industry financing. An industry profile from The Canadian Media Producers Association points out that the growth of the video production industry is also linked to that of content packagers: broadcasters and distributors, two other key sources of financing, are impacted by changing consumer behaviour.

Industry trends and challenges

The 2016 Economic Report on the Screen-Based Media Production Industry in Canada addresses trends and challenges in the video production industry. The industry is in transition due to the changing ways that consumers engage with screen-based media products: engaged participants who seek on-demand, immersive media experience are replacing traditionally passive film and television viewers. Video production industry players need to be prepared to repurpose traditional content for interactive uses, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, and be attuned to emerging devices for screen-based content.

Specificity is another industry trend identified by the report: in the digital world, Canadian consumers are tailoring their content experiences, signing up for niche subscription content offerings, and looking for “freemium content” (ad-supported content that is available at no cost). Ultimately, Canadian consumers want video content that is relevant and tailored to them.

Resources

Associations

BC Professional Videographers Association (BCPVA)

Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) 

Cineworks

Magazines & trade journals

Playback

Post Magazine

Studio Daily

Videomaker Magazine

Directories

Production Hub

Telefilm Canada Directory

Vistek Directory

Additional resources

If you would like to access more resources, the Video Production Accelerator Guide is designed to help prospective and existing business owners gather information for their secondary market research. The guide is broken down into four main sections that cover how to start your research, industry information, competitive information and customer information. Depending on your needs you can spend as much or as little time as necessary in each section.

If you find that you need more guidance before starting your secondary research, check out our Business Research Basics Guide. It will help you focus on what types of information you will need to gather and why it is important.

Related guides

Filmmaking Guide

Portrait Photography Guide

 

It's no secret that business owners need many different skills to succeed: they're responsible for everything from making strategic decisions to making sure the water bill is paid on time. But amid the daily bustle, one important skill is at risk of being overlooked: management.

Why Does Management Matter?

Good management is essential for small business survival, but many entrepreneurs might not have strong management skills. Management skills are often learned on the job and are "understudied and undertaught" compared to leadership skills, largely because it can be difficult to describe what managers do on a day-to-day basis.

In addition to writing job descriptions and recruiting candidates, entrepreneurs need do a variety of managerial tasks like figuring out how to give productive feedback to your employees and creating a healthy workplace environment. Because of this, entrepreneurs who successfully launch their product or service can struggle when their employee count begins to grow.

Support for Managers

For those interested in brushing up on their managerial skills, we have good news – you’re not alone! There are a variety of resources designed to support BC entrepreneurs who want to bolster their managerial skills, covering everything from the basics to high-level concepts.

On the Web

Canada Business Network, a government information service for businesses and start-up entrepreneurs across Canada, and WorkBC, the provincial government organization that helps employers and employees navigate BC’s labour market, both offer a wealth of relevant online resources for entrepreneurs-turned-managers.

Canada Business Network highlights include a list of questions to ask yourself to see if you are ready to take on employees and a comprehensive handbook that covers your obligations and opportunities when it comes to hiring employees, as well as tools for streamlining human resources administration. Work BC has outstanding information on how to ensure workplace health and safety and how to strengthen your business by hiring from a diverse population.

Classes

Many institutions across BC offer classes, certificate programs, and diplomas in small business management. On EducationPlannerBC, you can search for programs by subject area, program length, and geographic location.
If you don’t have the time or resources to attend to in-person classes, Lynda.com, a subscription-based online learning platform that is accessible through many public libraries, offers a series of courses that cover how to manage people and projects effectively. 

Books

Management is a growing field of study, and as a result there are many great books about management out there. We recommend checking out First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently from Gallup Press and Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent by Sydney Finkelstein - two of our recent #sbalibrary Summer Reading Challenge picks. And of course, your local public or academic library can give you tailored recommendations to meet your specific needs.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: wocintechchat.com

It's no secret that business owners need many different skills to succeed: they're responsible for everything from making strategic decisions to making sure the water bill is paid on time. But amid the daily bustle, one important skill is at risk of being overlooked: management.

Why Does Management Matter?

Good management is essential for small business survival, but many entrepreneurs might not have strong management skills. Management skills are often learned on the job and are "understudied and undertaught" compared to leadership skills, largely because it can be difficult to describe what managers do on a day-to-day basis.

In addition to writing job descriptions and recruiting candidates, entrepreneurs need do a variety of managerial tasks like figuring out how to give productive feedback to your employees and creating a healthy workplace environment. Because of this, entrepreneurs who successfully launch their product or service can struggle when their employee count begins to grow.

Support for Managers

For those interested in brushing up on their managerial skills, we have good news – you’re not alone! There are a variety of resources designed to support BC entrepreneurs who want to bolster their managerial skills, covering everything from the basics to high-level concepts.

On the Web

Canada Business Network, a government information service for businesses and start-up entrepreneurs across Canada, and WorkBC, the provincial government organization that helps employers and employees navigate BC’s labour market, both offer a wealth of relevant online resources for entrepreneurs-turned-managers.

Canada Business Network highlights include a list of questions to ask yourself to see if you are ready to take on employees and a comprehensive handbook that covers your obligations and opportunities when it comes to hiring employees, as well as tools for streamlining human resources administration. Work BC has outstanding information on how to ensure workplace health and safety and how to strengthen your business by hiring from a diverse population.

Classes

Many institutions across BC offer classes, certificate programs, and diplomas in small business management. On EducationPlannerBC, you can search for programs by subject area, program length, and geographic location.
If you don’t have the time or resources to attend to in-person classes, Lynda.com, a subscription-based online learning platform that is accessible through many public libraries, offers a series of courses that cover how to manage people and projects effectively. 

Books

Management is a growing field of study, and as a result there are many great books about management out there. We recommend checking out First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently from Gallup Press and Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent by Sydney Finkelstein - two of our recent #sbalibrary Summer Reading Challenge picks. And of course, your local public or academic library can give you tailored recommendations to meet your specific needs.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: wocintechchat.com

Graphic design involves using both graphics and text to convey a concept or idea. The graphic design industry includes many activities, including corporate identity/branding, advertising, print production, and web design. Graphic designers create logos, posters, newsletters, brochures, signs, and other forms of visual communication. The graphic design industry in Canada is slated to grow as high-quality graphic design services will become increasingly integral for companies seeking to develop brand awareness.

Industry Overview

BC 

There are around 1,500 graphic design establishments based in British Columbia, representing 17% of Canada's graphic design businesses. The industry has a high level of fragmentation, as it is comprised of many small, independently operated graphic designers and freelance graphic designers. According to industry statistics, only 23% of B.C. graphic design service establishments have formal employees. The majority of these firms employ fewer than four employees, which is consistent with national trends.

Canada

Graphic designers are important for Canadian advertising agencies, and businesses that are seeking to develop brand awareness. Businesses are turning to graphic designers as they seek to streamline their brand presence across several mediums, such as product packaging and websites. Because of this, graphic designers have increasingly been undertaking marketing and public relations work. Specialized graphic design services, especially graphic designers that specialize in interactive media, are in demand in Canadian urban centres.

Industry Trends and Challenges

The graphic design industry faces opportunities and challenges due to the the high level of fragmentation in the industry. On one hand, fragmentation allows graphic design firms to cater to niche markets. However, this fragmentation also means that graphic design firms can struggle with competition from freelance graphic designers.

Two industry trends that graphic designers should keep up with are sustainable design and using data in graphic design. Graphic designers practice sustainable design when they apply sustainability principles to communication design practice. Sustainable design is being promoted throughout the country by Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC), which offers sustainability tools for designers, and is the subject of high-profile initiatives including The Living Principles for Design and the Re-nourish Project Calculator.

In data-driven design, graphic designers harness the power of the computer to generate innovative visual expressions using data, code, and algorithms. Data is everywhere, from corporate annual reports to food packaging design. Graphic designers can use data-driven design to solve increasingly complex visual representation problems and make their messages stand out from the competition.

Resources

Associations

Magazines and Trade Journals

Directories

Additional Resources

If you would like to access more resources, the Graphic Design Accelerator Guide is designed to help prospective and existing business owners gather information for their secondary market research. The guide is broken down into four main sections that cover how to start your research, industry information, competitive information and customer information. Depending on your needs you can spend as much or as little time as necessary in each section.

If you find that you need more guidance before starting your secondary research, check out our Business Research Basics Guide. It will help you focus on what types of information you will need to gather and why it is important.

Related Guides

Graphic design involves using both graphics and text to convey a concept or idea. The graphic design industry includes many activities, including corporate identity/branding, advertising, print production, and web design. Graphic designers create logos, posters, newsletters, brochures, signs, and other forms of visual communication. The graphic design industry in Canada is slated to grow as high-quality graphic design services will become increasingly integral for companies seeking to develop brand awareness.

Industry Overview

BC 

There are around 1,500 graphic design establishments based in British Columbia, representing 17% of Canada's graphic design businesses. The industry has a high level of fragmentation, as it is comprised of many small, independently operated graphic designers and freelance graphic designers. According to industry statistics, only 23% of B.C. graphic design service establishments have formal employees. The majority of these firms employ fewer than four employees, which is consistent with national trends.

Canada

Graphic designers are important for Canadian advertising agencies, and businesses that are seeking to develop brand awareness. Businesses are turning to graphic designers as they seek to streamline their brand presence across several mediums, such as product packaging and websites. Because of this, graphic designers have increasingly been undertaking marketing and public relations work. Specialized graphic design services, especially graphic designers that specialize in interactive media, are in demand in Canadian urban centres.

Industry Trends and Challenges

The graphic design industry faces opportunities and challenges due to the the high level of fragmentation in the industry. On one hand, fragmentation allows graphic design firms to cater to niche markets. However, this fragmentation also means that graphic design firms can struggle with competition from freelance graphic designers.

Two industry trends that graphic designers should keep up with are sustainable design and using data in graphic design. Graphic designers practice sustainable design when they apply sustainability principles to communication design practice. Sustainable design is being promoted throughout the country by Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC), which offers sustainability tools for designers, and is the subject of high-profile initiatives including The Living Principles for Design and the Re-nourish Project Calculator.

In data-driven design, graphic designers harness the power of the computer to generate innovative visual expressions using data, code, and algorithms. Data is everywhere, from corporate annual reports to food packaging design. Graphic designers can use data-driven design to solve increasingly complex visual representation problems and make their messages stand out from the competition.

Resources

Associations

Magazines and Trade Journals

Directories

Additional Resources

If you would like to access more resources, the Graphic Design Accelerator Guide is designed to help prospective and existing business owners gather information for their secondary market research. The guide is broken down into four main sections that cover how to start your research, industry information, competitive information and customer information. Depending on your needs you can spend as much or as little time as necessary in each section.

If you find that you need more guidance before starting your secondary research, check out our Business Research Basics Guide. It will help you focus on what types of information you will need to gather and why it is important.

Related Guides

June 21 is National Aboriginal Day, which is an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the diverse cultures and outstanding contributions the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. Here at the SBA, we would like to recognize an important organization that is leading the advancement of digital technologies in First Nations communities throughout British Columbia: the First Nations Technology Council.

Entrepreneurs know that keeping up with technology trends is essential for small business operations. Technology has the power to do everything from raising workplace productivity to improving a company culture. We asked the First Nations Technology Council to tell us about how they support the advancement of technologies in First Nations communities across BC.

Can you describe the First Nations Technology Council? What are the goals of this organization?

The First Nations Technology Council is mandated by the First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs to lead the advancement of digital technologies in First Nations communities. This includes ensuring that all 203 First Nations communities in BC have access to the Internet and the ability to utilize it to the fullest potential.

Over the past 15 years, our organisation has worked in partnership with over 150 First Nations communities in BC to deliver onsite technology training, grounded in a recognition of the central role it plays in both community priorities and employment and labour market access. The Technology Council has developed an ecosystem supporting the success of Indigenous individuals by building relationships with First Nations communities, industry partners, and training agencies across the province, as well as through a comprehensive understanding of the Technology and Innovation sector in BC.

Our organisation is continuously driven to ensure that we, as Indigenous people, take our rightful place in the technology and innovation sector as the original innovators on these unceded traditional territories.

First Nations Technology Council

How do the programs you offer support economic development and innovation?

The technology sector in BC continues to expand, reaching new highs in revenue, employment and overall contribution to the economy. In 2015, employment in this sector reached 101,780 people - more jobs than forestry, mining and oil and gas combined. In BC’s tech sector, talent is a critical resource to drive innovation and growth, with such jobs expected to employ 4.9% of the overall population by 2019. However, industry leaders agree that we currently face a talent deficit that could restrict growth of the technology sector (BC Tech Report Card). It is projected that in BC alone, we will need to fill 20,900 ICT positions over the next 5 years. 

Indigenous people are the fastest growing population in Canada with a lower median age (29) than the national average (41), creating a young demographic of innovators. Through the Indigenous Talent Development Strategy, the Technology Council is creating pathways into technology careers while driving forward innovation in BC. We, as Indigenous people, offer a huge opportunity for home-grown talent that will remain in BC and enhance the province’s technology sector.  Canada has not yet come to understand the powerful contribution Indigenous people have, and will continue to make, once access to digital and connected technologies is made possible and equitable.

Technology Council Spotlight:

Lydia Prince and Gabe Archie are both graduates of the Technology Council’s Bridging to Technology program, which guides students on the path from entry level certification to advanced training and work experience opportunities in the technology sector. Prince and Archie are using their web development skills to build Goozih, an Indigenous language revitalization app. To learn more about Goozih, you can read profiles on Prince and Archie from The Georgia Straight and Vice.

June 21 is National Aboriginal Day, which is an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the diverse cultures and outstanding contributions the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. Here at the SBA, we would like to recognize an important organization that is leading the advancement of digital technologies in First Nations communities throughout British Columbia: the First Nations Technology Council.

Entrepreneurs know that keeping up with technology trends is essential for small business operations. Technology has the power to do everything from raising workplace productivity to improving a company culture. We asked the First Nations Technology Council to tell us about how they support the advancement of technologies in First Nations communities across BC.

Can you describe the First Nations Technology Council? What are the goals of this organization?

The First Nations Technology Council is mandated by the First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs to lead the advancement of digital technologies in First Nations communities. This includes ensuring that all 203 First Nations communities in BC have access to the Internet and the ability to utilize it to the fullest potential.

Over the past 15 years, our organisation has worked in partnership with over 150 First Nations communities in BC to deliver onsite technology training, grounded in a recognition of the central role it plays in both community priorities and employment and labour market access. The Technology Council has developed an ecosystem supporting the success of Indigenous individuals by building relationships with First Nations communities, industry partners, and training agencies across the province, as well as through a comprehensive understanding of the Technology and Innovation sector in BC.

Our organisation is continuously driven to ensure that we, as Indigenous people, take our rightful place in the technology and innovation sector as the original innovators on these unceded traditional territories.

First Nations Technology Council

How do the programs you offer support economic development and innovation?

The technology sector in BC continues to expand, reaching new highs in revenue, employment and overall contribution to the economy. In 2015, employment in this sector reached 101,780 people - more jobs than forestry, mining and oil and gas combined. In BC’s tech sector, talent is a critical resource to drive innovation and growth, with such jobs expected to employ 4.9% of the overall population by 2019. However, industry leaders agree that we currently face a talent deficit that could restrict growth of the technology sector (BC Tech Report Card). It is projected that in BC alone, we will need to fill 20,900 ICT positions over the next 5 years. 

Indigenous people are the fastest growing population in Canada with a lower median age (29) than the national average (41), creating a young demographic of innovators. Through the Indigenous Talent Development Strategy, the Technology Council is creating pathways into technology careers while driving forward innovation in BC. We, as Indigenous people, offer a huge opportunity for home-grown talent that will remain in BC and enhance the province’s technology sector.  Canada has not yet come to understand the powerful contribution Indigenous people have, and will continue to make, once access to digital and connected technologies is made possible and equitable.

Technology Council Spotlight:

Lydia Prince and Gabe Archie are both graduates of the Technology Council’s Bridging to Technology program, which guides students on the path from entry level certification to advanced training and work experience opportunities in the technology sector. Prince and Archie are using their web development skills to build Goozih, an Indigenous language revitalization app. To learn more about Goozih, you can read profiles on Prince and Archie from The Georgia Straight and Vice.

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