KAST and Selkirk College Release Kootenay Technology Sector Assessment 2020
The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) and Selkirk College’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre (ARIC) have been working together to measure the tech sector’s impact and its economic health within the region. Thanks to funding from Mitacs Accelerate and the BC Rural Dividend Program, we are thrilled to present the Kootenay Technology Sector Assessment, the first of its kind in the region.
This report assesses the tech sector’s business climate in the region and gives an overview of the local workforce. It paints a picture of the state of the tech sector, exploring business structure, financial health, the impact of COVID-19 and highlighting benefits and challenges unique to the location. This report provides vital information on the economic impact analysis and outlook, which will help guide future economic and community development strategies that strengthen and expand the regional tech sector.
Despite its unique challenges, the Kootenay technology sector is thriving, and advanced manufacturing, cleantech, and cannabis are promising candidates for future growth. Close collaboration with policy-makers and local stakeholders could unearth untapped potential and elevate the region’s tech sector to contribute significantly to provincial success.
A few highlights from this report include:
- The regional technology sector employs an estimated total of 3,426 full-time workers with an additional 512 part-time and casual employees.
- Wages reported for the Kootenay region are below provincial wages within the sector; yet surpass the industrial average
- The majority of the local tech workforce is 35 years and older, and companies report finding skilled staff to be one of the most prominent challenges for the region.
- Most technology businesses in the region are small, with an average annual revenue of $515,057, and due to size, research and development, investments are also comparably low
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, employees in the Kootenay region were the least likely to have lost their jobs, with less than one employee laid off per business on average.
- For 2019, the Kootenay tech sector reports a combined direct ($405 million) and indirect ($120 million) economic impact for the sector with a total economic impact of $525 million. Even though the region’s tech sector poses a small contribution to the provincial economy, it also demonstrates immense potential.
- Businesses project an increase in revenue of 21% for the upcoming year. Many companies report expansion plans within the next three years, and 62% of all businesses look to increase staff numbers over the coming three years