"Droids of the deep" hit Victoria's shores

Plus, learn more about the local bus routes getting a $16.8 million upgrade, and which Nanaimo firm scored $3.4 million.

Welcome to this week’s Midweek Memo. In this issue, read about $16.8 million for the Greater Victoria transit system, deep-sea droids monitoring the Pacific, and financial literacy tips for 2024.

Plus we have one more opportunity for you: the Startup TNT Agri-Food Summit 2024. Applications for the capital-raising program close January 15.

Now, onto today’s briefing. It’s 660 words, a three-minute read.

Nanaimo manufacturing firm wins up to $3.4 million

The VMAC Global Technology team. Photo: VMAC

2024 is off to a flying start for VMAC Global Technology, a Nanaimo-based outfit developing vehicle-mounted air compressors. To close out last year, the Government of BC announced that the company would receive up to $3.4 million in funding through the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund.

Air compressors may not sound super techy — even vehicle-mounted ones — but VMAC’s innovation increases range and lowers maintenance costs for transport, allowing for easier adoption in the commercial market and, critically, lowering emissions. 

VMAC also incorporates circular economy elements into its operations by reusing aluminum and steel in production and maximizing the use of all raw materials. 

The funding will help VMAC establish a new 5,000-square foot manufacturing facility. It also will help buy equipment to scale up the production of lightweight air compressors for the heavy-duty commercial EV market, including semi-trucks, buses, and other specialized vehicles requiring air brakes and air suspension.

The project will create 45 new jobs, and aligns with CleanBC’s priorities to strengthen adoption and infrastructure of heavy-duty EVs.

“As a successful manufacturing and export business in Nanaimo, with over 180 employees, VMAC is proud to provide high-quality local jobs and support various local suppliers in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, and in B.C.,” said Brent Johnston, CEO of the company. “This has been VMAC’s driving purpose for the past 38 years and the support from the Province of British Columbia will enable us to continue this mission.”

Tech Sector Community for People and Culture

TAP Network works with 250 Canadian tech companies in sectors such as Software Products and Services, AI, Data Science, Quantum Computing, Hardware Design, Development and Manufacturing, VFX, Animation, Video Game and Interactive Digital Media, Clean Tech, AgTech, Life Sciences, and Healthcare Tech. 

Members have access to comprehensive tech sector salary and people practices data, mentors, industry experts, an inclusive peer community, and more.

📰 More Victoria innovation news

🤓 Money, money, money. Bruce Williams, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, sat down with Luke Biles of MNP, and Travis Koivula of Island Savings, to discuss financial literacy tips to start 2024 off strong.

🤖 Do you have the force: Ocean Networks Canada expanded its deep-sea monitoring capabilities with the deployment of new Argo floats, affectionately known as “droids of the deep.”

🚎 Magic bus: BC Transit announced a $16.8 million update to Greater Victoria’s transit system. Victoria Regional Transit System buses will begin receiving NextRide technology replacements in mid-January, a change that it says will improve riders’ experience.

INNOVATEwest is a multi-sector tech and innovation conference founded on Canada's West Coast — designed by industry, for industry.

This two-day conference merges ideas and strategies that will inspire thousands of leaders in tech innovation.

🕴️ Tech jobs of the week

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📅 Upcoming events

All are welcome to join the iWIST community for a social evening to meet and network with other women in STEM, sponsored by Quicksilver Software Development. Hear from a panel of accomplished women leaders in science, engineering and technology: Christina Jones, Humaira Ahmed, Dr. Kathryn (Kate) Moran, and Dr. Katherina Tarnai-Lokhorst.

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