$2.5M for Vancouver Island life sciences companies
Plus, more insights into how to build sustainable brands.
Welcome to this week’s Sunday Briefing. In this issue, find out how you can help fight hunger in Victoria, learn more about the project igniting innovation in applied sciences, and strategize how to bridge the sustainability skills gap.
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Specialized lab spaces on the way for Island innovators
Minister of Jobs, Economic Development, and Innovation, Brenda Bailey. Photo: B.C. Government / Flickr
As part of the Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy, the Government of British Columbia is providing $2.5 million to local non-profit organization Vancouver Island Life Sciences to create a new facility for budding tech companies in the field. It will support as many as six local businesses annually with access to low-cost, high-demand, and specialized lab space.
These specialized labs are known as wet labs, which allow for safe handling of chemicals and other materials to conduct research and development. Commercial wet labs are particularly key when startups have outgrown a university lab and need a larger, individualized space. Transferring prototypes from the early days of R&D to products in an industrial setting is a key gap that these new wet labs are designed to bridge.
There is currently — excuse the pun — a dry spell for wet labs. On the mainland, an Invest Vancouver report recently found that the lack of wet lab space is hindering the industry. Notably, the report found that the government is in the best position to provide this space, as it can withstand temporarily lower profits in pursuit of anchoring valuable intellectual property and creating well-paid jobs.
Victoria is a growing ecosystem for local biotech ventures. These startups have been recognized both locally at the Victoria Tech Community Awards as well as provincially via the New Ventures BC competition. Many have spun out of the regional university ecosystem, including Axolotl Biosciences, VoxCell BioInnovations, and Nyoka, to name a few.
Vancouver Island Life Sciences is currently looking for an appropriate location for the new facility in the Greater Victoria region. When the building is operational, its aim is to enable companies to spend more time and capital on advancing improved health outcomes, pandemic preparedness, and technology commercialization, rather than the overhead costs associated with securing lab space.
🏙️ Community catchup, powered by VIATEC
Fight Hunger in Victoria! The recent fire at the Mustard Seed Food Bank has left the organization in urgent need of support. In response, VIATEC is launching its Food Bank Challenge on Monday, May 8. They're calling on companies like yours to join them in making a difference in the lives of those in need.
Whether you donate online or get creative with fundraising events, every dollar counts. Plus, they're encouraging companies to challenge each other to see who can raise the most.
Join VIATEC in this time of need and show Victoria how tech companies can work together to create positive change. Register your team now, or email [email protected] to learn more.
📰 More Victoria innovation news
🧬 Blast from the past: Innovate BC, when announcing the rekindling of its Ignite program, highlighted a local past project: a 2020 collaboration between UVic’s Dr. Katherine Elvira and Dr. Stephanie Willerth of Axolotl Biosciences. Learn more.
🎥 Behind the scenes: UVic released a series of videos spotlighting the Accelerating Community Energy Transformation initiative. Watch now.
🌉 Bridge the gap: Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber, principal sustainability strategy consultant at Ideas for Impact Sustainability Agency, wrote about bridging the skills gap in Sustainable Brands: Read her four strategies.
🕴️ Tech jobs of the week
Find your next career:
Systems Software Programmer at Polaris Motion
Back-End Developer at Momentum Dash
Policy Analyst at BC Public Service
Hiring in Victoria? Reply to this email and let us know!
📅 Upcoming events
May 9: How to Present Virtually: An in-depth guide to presenting professionally on camera, every time
May 29: PeopleOps Social
Have an upcoming event? Reply to let us know.
Have something or someone we should know about? Reply or email [email protected] so we can work together to spotlight the lesser-known stories of Victoria's tech ecosystem.