Victoria’s business veterans advise today's entrepreneurs

Plus, discover which local companies are advancing in the New Ventures BC competition.


Welcome to this week’s Sunday Briefing, brought to you by Switchboard. In this issue, learn from Victoria tech leaders who’ve gone through downturns past, see which local cleantech outfit is a finalist for an international award, and discover what local companies are advancing in the New Ventures BC competition.

-Allison, @allisongacad

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Navigating today’s economic headwinds with wisdom from the past

It’s a perfect storm for tech entrepreneurs these days. Inflation is at an all-time high and interest rates are too. Investment dollars are slowing, and we still haven’t seen any IPOs. For recent business leaders, this may be the first economic bust they’ve experienced of its kind. But it isn’t the first downturn in modern history, and local tech innovators have ridden these waves before — to much success today.

In the early 2000s, the world was just beginning to launch itself into the digital age. Fax machines were still widely used, the IMAX theatre dome was a go-to movie experience, and online banking didn’t quite exist.

“[The year] 2000 was very complicated because digital was on such a hard rise, and everybody jumped on board,” said Art Aylesworth, former CEO of Carmanah Technologies, which began as a solar LED lighting company for the marine industry.

“There was a certain window where suddenly it opened up, and there was a lot of entrance and entrepreneurial enthusiasm because you could get funding for starting internet businesses,” said Hannes Blum, a now-Victoria-based investor who at the time was launching the online book marketplace JustBooks in Germany. “And then very quickly, that turned sour. There was some exaggeration in the market and some companies at the time went public that [didn’t really have] a business model.”

Read staff writer Allison Gacad's full feature in our Scaleup Story Series, supported by VIATEC.


Helping innovators and changemakers tell their stories

Switchboard Public Relations – an Earnscliffe Strategies company works with some of the most progressive and innovative teams in the tech sector.

Tech leaders know their products and services are brilliant, but sometimes need help explaining why they matter and how they will create positive change. Switchboard communicates game-changing ideas to target audiences in a way that’s accessible and exciting.

Is your team on a mission to disrupt the status quo? See how the country’s top tech PR firm can help you »

🏙️ 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 has launched its Food Bank Challenge. 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

📦 A plastic-free future: Cellulotech was named as a finalist for Packaging Europe’s Sustainability Awards. Check it out »

🦠 A disease-free future: ImmunoPrecise Antibodies announced that its subsidiary, Biostrand, has developed technology to better discover and develop novel therapeutics through the use of large language models. Learn more »

🩸 The future of tech: New Ventures BC has announced that period product creator Joni has advanced directly to the third round of its competition, while smart disc golf company MeepMeep will pitch to move forward in the contest’s round 2.5. Find out more »

🕴️ Tech jobs of the week

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