A piece of $21.2 million for Victoria tech jobs

Plus, the local ventures making international headlines.

Welcome to this week’s Sunday Briefing. In this issue, learn about the multi-million dollar initiative bringing new tech jobs to the city, the rekindling of a legendary Victoria videogame roundtable, and the international recognition given to a number of local ventures.

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Supporting local talent: how Lighthouse Labs and UVic are teaming up to bolster the tech industry

Photo: Unsplash

The University of Victoria is collaborating with Lighthouse Labs to train local participants to work in the ICT and tech sector through a number of fully-funded scholarships. The partnership is one of 30 across the country that's part of a national program titled ICT Boost, which is funded by just over $21.2 million dollars from the federal government through its Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. Nationwide, ICT Boost plans to train more than 1,700 people to pursue careers in web development, data science, and cyber security, with an emphasis on supporting participation from marginalized populations.

Lighthouse Labs, a Canadian tech education company, first established a satellite campus in Victoria a number of years ago, said Stephanie Wilson, vice president of social impact and global partnerships at the company. When a call for proposals came from the federal government to train Canadians for careers in in-demand sectors, the company saw a good opportunity to grow its involvement in the region. "We really felt like it was important for us to stay connected to the community and really continue that collaboration," she told Victoria Tech Journal.

Alongside UVic, Wilson named VIATEC and community partners such as the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board and the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria as key to the effective and appropriate launch in the region. “This is a very consortium-built program,” Wilson said. “We have everything from essential-skills training to mental health supports, daycare and tech stipends, living wages, [and] wage supports for employers [...] For us, it really was about developing [ICT Boost] in conversation with our partners, and making sure that it was a holistic, community-driven approach.”

ICT Boost will run until March 2024. Interested participants can visit Lighthouse Labs for more information, or register for the Continuing Studies @UVic and Lighthouse Labs information session on Tuesday, February 23.

🏙️ Community catchup, powered by VIATEC

More than a decade ago, the Victoria videogame roundtable brought together local studio heads to meet regularly and share their challenges and opportunities. More than just offering support, the meetup was a vital part of the local videogame industry, and was responsible for publishing a study on the size and impact of the local game design sector, as well as hosting dedicated videogame showcases at Discover Tectoria events.

With pandemic restrictions in the rear-view, the gaming community is now reigniting the group at its Interactive Tech Meet and Greet event. All are welcome to the new community gathering – not just game developers, but also those working in interactive entertainment, including VR/AR and the metaverse.

The first event will be a casual meetup hosted at VIATEC on March 3 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., to gauge interest and ideas from the community. Drinks and small bites will be jointly sponsored by VIATEC and Hololabs, so those interested in attending can join the community for a happy-hour chat.

🚨 Victoria Tech Week

Block your calendars from May 29 to June 2! Victoria Tech Week is on the horizon, bringing five days of all things tech. Attendees can visit educational, networking, or community-building events held throughout Victoria. The entire community is invited to organize, host, and participate in events or gatherings aimed at informing and connecting people around innovation and entrepreneurship.

Events will include a lunch and learn series, Fuckup Nights, mixers, meetups, and panels. The week leads up to Discover Tectoria at Crystal Gardens: a day-long tech expo featuring 70 to 100 local tech companies exhibiting to increase brand awareness, find talent, encourage students to consider tech careers, and attract investors. Keep an eye out for more details!

📰 More Victoria innovation news

📺 Streaming the Superbowl: If you caught the Superbowl last week, or at least Rihanna's halftime show, you can thank Vecima Networks. The company's Mediascale streaming platform supported "historic" video streaming capacity during the football finale. Learn more.

🌏 Solving pollution: Microplastics may be ubiquitous in our ecosystems and even human bodies — but fortunately local oceantech company Ocean Diagnostics is building tools to help solve the gaps in addressing plastic pollution. Read more in COAST.

🧑‍🍳 Spotlight on sustainability: Sepura Home, a foodtech compost system, won the grand prize at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show Awards in Las Vegas last week.

🎧 Shaan and Sam: The two co-hosts of business podcast My First Million gave local startup Rootd, an app for panic attack and anxiety relief, a shoutout on a recent episode. 

☀️ Sentimental laps around the sun: Solaires Enterprises, a clean energy tech venture, recently celebrated its third birthday.


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