The technopreneurs, ag-industry advocates and government representatives were out in full force Friday, February 26, 2016 to welcome Bioenterprise BC as a new business accelerator offering commercialization services to help promote the creation and growth of BC businesses engaged in agriculture technology.
Timothy Kendrick, president of BW Global Structures Inc., hosted the event in a capacious structure housing two robots — which Darryl Plecas jokingly christened “Thing 1 and Thing 2”. The guests mingled over coffee and baked goods, overlooked by a KUKA 7-axis plasma cutting system used in the state-of-the-art greenhouse production facility. A banner above the podium expressed the thought on everyone’s mind that morning: “Technology and new thinking will feed the world.”
Once the speakers were introduced by MLA Marvin Hunt, the excitement about the announcement was evident. A printed message on the media release from Norm Letnick set the stage: “The Ministry of Agriculture is looking forward to partnering with Bioenterprise BC as we head into the future of agri-tech and take the sector to new innovative and unchartered places.” Partly funded by the BC Innovation Council (BCIC) and the federal government’s Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), Bioenterprise BC will provide entrepreneurs and startups in the Fraser Valley with business plan assistance, market analysis, funding guidance and networking to help accelerate growth.
Representing the various government branches: Abbotsford mayor, Henry Braun; Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services; MLA Darryl Plecas, on behalf of Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture.
From the tech- and ag-industry and education sectors: Dave Smardon, president and CEO of Bioenterprise; Greg Caws, president and CEO, BCIC; UFV president, Dr. Mark Evered; and Timothy Kendrick, president and chief designer, BW Global Structures Inc.
After the success of the #BCTechSummit in January at the Vancouver Convention Centre, it’s obvious there is increased interest in the adoption of new technology and using tech strategy to further BC industry. In related news stories, words like “exploding”, “expanding”, and “exciting” describe the ag-tech market. Recently, investment in ag-tech business in BC tripled, and the province is ready to take a prominent lead in that “extraordinary” tech space. As Kendrick noted, “We are educating a new generation to approach and solve problems differently and this won’t just impact BC, it will impact the world.”
Dave Smardon thanked the crowd for the welcome and stated, “With such an innovative culture in British Columbia, it is only fitting that Bioenterprise establish a BC office to work with the BC Acceleration Network to help foster these companies to become commercialization successes.”
Darryl Plecas shared his excitement in the merge he was witnessing “between government, cutting-edge technology, academia,and agriculture doing something locally which is for the betterment of the world.”
Also in attendance was Mike Manion, representing The Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech (SRCTec) based in Mission and committed to the technology-led economic and educational development of the region.
BW GLOBAL Structures: www.bw-global.com
image credit: BCIC