Now Available: The Impact Volume 2.0

TechImpact member T4G recently won a Microsoft Canada Partner Award. Representing T4G from left to right: Jon Barry, Michael Alexander, and Ron McKay.

TechImpact member T4G recently won a Microsoft Canada Partner Award. Representing T4G from left to right: Jon Barry, Michael Alexander, and Ron McKay.

We launched our newsletter The Impact earlier this year to help advance our primary goal of growing Atlantic Canada’s tech industry.

While it’s not news to anyone already working in the industry here that it’s possible to build a successful company close to home, we want more people to know this too! There are people here doing amazing things, but too often their stories get lost in the noise. We want to change that.

Through The Impact, we share stories of technology, people and innovation from our area of the country. By sharing these stories, we’ll show the truth about our local tech industry - one that’s growing every day. We’ll inspire more companies, big and small, to build their operations right here on the east coast.

With Volume 2.0 of The Impact, we took a look at the great work and employment opportunities that exist in our region. And even though the summer weather is fully upon us, there’s no slowing down in the technology sector in Atlantic Canada. Highlights of our most recent newsletter include:

If you want to stay up to date on the most exciting, inspiring news about the Atlantic Canadian tech industry, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. Sign up for The Impact now to get the details delivered straight to your inbox.

Shaping New Brunswick’s future workforce – CCNB needs your input

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As the Internet Communications Technology (ICT) sector continues to grow, so does a shortage of skilled labour in the field.

That’s why TechImpact and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB), in collaboration with Jupia Consultants, are completing a research project to better understand the skills needed for ICT jobs in New Brunswick, especially for new graduates. The information from this project will help shape curriculum and programs to produce the talent employers need today and in the future.

We need your voice and input for this important research project. Please participate and share your insights through the survey, available in both English and French. We’re looking for responses from across the province – private sector, start-ups, tech companies, government, not-for-profit, and more. If you have ICT talent requirements, we want to hear from you! If needed, someone responsible for technical skill hiring and recruiting can help complete the survey.

Information collected through the survey will remain confidential; data will be aggregated and will remain anonymous. At the end of the project, a final report with recommendations will be produced to ensure CCNB is producing talent that meets the needs of the province’s employers.

ICT/digital talent is critical to growing New Brunswick’s economy and we know industry-shaped, relevant and accessible education will accelerate our province’s growth.

Any organization that employs workers with technical skills is invited to complete the survey. Thank you for participating.

Marie-France Doucet, CCNB
Cathy Simpson, TechImpact

English survey
French survey

For questions regarding the survey, please contact cathy.simpson@techimpact.it

To reach CCNB directly, please contact Marie-France Doucet at 506-875-5543 or
marie-france.doucet@ccnb.ca.

Grow your business with the next generation of talent

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If you’re an employer looking for your next talented team member, UNBSJ’s upcoming breakfast on April 4 can help.  

Featuring Francis McGuire, President of ACOA, as guest speaker, the breakfast will include a discussion on the role that corporate and university partnerships play in building the workplace of the future. Here, you’ll learn about UNBSJ’s student recruitment efforts for their MBA program, and learn how your company can work with the university to grow the province’s workforce and population.

UNBSJ’s MBA program boasts 70 full-time students, with an average age of 30. Together, they represent 10 countries and have previous professional work experience in business, engineering, computer science, and finance. A work term with your company can help these students grow their careers, as well as their roots in the city and province.  

This event will take place on April 4 at 7:30 am at Delta Hotels by Marriott Saint John. Limited seats available. To RSVP, please contact Jackie Campbell at Jackie.campbell@unb.ca.

Welcome to The IMPACT

Cathy Simpson, TechImpact CEO

Cathy Simpson, TechImpact CEO

We live and work in a beautiful corner of Canada and there are numerous opportunities for those who know how to capitalize on them. Quite a few companies both big and small are doing amazing things here that are being exported globally. Not enough people know about it.  

Welcome to the first edition of The IMPACT, an online publication curated by TechImpact to share stories of people, innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology that are changing the way we live and work in Atlantic Canada and beyond.

When I started in my new role at TechImpact, I spoke with our members to learn more about their business goals and the challenges holding them back from achieving the success they desire for their employees and their businesses. There was a consistent theme – finding talented people to join their organizations in roles available right now. Workforce development is a driving and consistent challenge not only in our industry but in many industries across Atlantic Canada. 

We know developing solutions to this talent gap will take ingenuity, risk taking, and collaboration. A multi-pronged approach is required to bring more people to Atlantic Canada from other parts of our country and the world. We need to get more people studying STEM, particularly girls, and we need to tell stories for others to see the possibilities and explore these areas and this region.   

As part of our commitment to working on our workforce development challenges, The IMPACT will be telling more stories about the work our members are doing with innovative partners and customers. The more we share about the brilliant minds, investments, and innovation occurring, the more eyes will be opened to the possibilities our region offers.

Through The IMPACT, we’re sharing stories on recent investment announcements, information about upcoming events, highlighting a new program called FutureReadyNB and more.

As a team, TechImpact is focused on workforce development, fostering innovation and growing our economy. Let’s make no mistake about it: ideas, investments, and immigrants are welcomed here!

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Investing in innovation through partnerships

Investing in innovation is key to growth. In the past two weeks, there have been announcements involving TechImpact members.

  • Siemens, New Brunswick Power (NB Power) and Nova Scotia Power (NSP) have been awarded $35.66 M CAD in federal funding for a joint pilot project aimed at analyzing challenges and opportunities posed by Canada’s energy transition. The partners will research and test in real-time how the grid of the future can optimize integration of renewables, ensure stability of the grid and manage decentralized distribution in order to better manage the provinces’ electricity, potentially reduce future electricity costs for consumers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Read more

  • With support from the Government of Canada, Mariner Partners, Inc. is developing an innovative new solution to address a gap in the rapidly changing communications industry. This software will prove critical to communication service providers as the industry moves away from physical network infrastructure and into software-defined virtual networks. Read more

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Girls STEM UP! Hey high school and university girls – This event is around the corner!

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There’s an innovative and important conference happening March 23rd at the Fredericton Convention Centre. An inspiring organizing team of university women are leading the charge to bring Girls STEM UP to life. TechImpact and its members are engaged to assist this team. We asked Jill Lamb, the Conference Chair, some questions about what to expect.

Who do you hope will attend?

High school and university students along with woman and allies who are passionate about empowering the young women of tomorrow in STEM fields. 

What inspired you to have this conference?

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We were inspired by the young women we met on campus; who told us how they felt they had limited options when entering STEM. This struck a chord with us, as we had initially had the same experience. Therefore, we wanted to create a conference which would celebrate how being a woman in STEM doesn’t limited your options, but instead can be the first steps in a fulfilling career in just about any field or any opportunity they wish to pursue.

What are the conference themes?

Empower, Engage, Excite, and Educate. The conference is about growth of women in the STEM fields by focusing on our four themes. 

Where to find out more information:

girlsstemup.org 

Tickets:  On sale soon! 

Any final thoughts?

We are excited to partner with companies across Atlantic Canada who share our vision and are ready to connect with us regarding this important conversation.

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FutureReadyNB: Helping employers shape the future of work in New Brunswick

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Are you a New Brunswick employer looking to expand your workforce or hire university talent? FutureReadyNB can help!

FutureReadyNB was created in response to a provincial task force report that called for expanded experiential learning capacity and work opportunities for New Brunswick university students. The initiative is a partnership between New Brunswick employers, public universities, students and the government, and provides funding and coordination support for students to pursue off-campus work and learning experiences. The goal is to support employers in filling labour gaps while providing students with New Brunswick-based job experiences before they graduate. Ultimately, FutureReadyNB is intended to support economic growth, and help with employment recruitment and retention of educated New Brunswickers.

What else can FutureReadyNB do for New Brunswick employers?

  • Help recruit skilled, tech-savvy talent to your organization 

  • Increase your ability to staff new projects and job postings

  • Give you a preview of the future of New Brunswick’s labour market

  • Provide financial support for eligible opportunities, such as wage subsidies, training, and transportation

To qualify, eligible employers must:

  • Be operating in New Brunswick

  • Provide a “new or expanding opportunity”

  • Demonstrate an investment towards the success of the student’s placement

  • Provide adequate supervision, training, and mentorship

  • Demonstrate an interest in offering meaningful opportunities to under-represented student groups

This next generation of thinkers and doers will be leading the province soon – why not help them get a foot in the door today? Become a FutureReadyNB employer today by visiting www.futurereadynb.ca or email info@futurereadynb.ca

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TechImpact names Cathy Simpson as new CEO

FREDERICTON, NB—Senior ICT leader Cathy Simpson is TechImpact’s new CEO.

Most recently T4G’s VP, People and Culture, Simpson will capitalize on her two decades of ICT and executive leadership experience to advance TechImpact’s key priorities of workforce development, fostering innovation and growing businesses in the technology sector.

“On behalf of the Board and Executive team, we are excited to have Cathy in this CEO role.  Throughout the years, she’s been involved in TechImpact on various initiatives and has a firm handle on our opportunities and challenges as we look for growth in our sector,” said Roman Coba, incoming Chair of TechImpact and CIO, Emera. “We are looking forward to her leadership in this new capacity.”

For the past 28 years Cathy has been deeply planted in the technology industry in Atlantic Canada, where she began her career at NBTel and Innovatia and was a co-founder of Propel. She is currently chair of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and founder of social innovation start-up Up + Go.

 “When I moved from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick 28 years ago, I never imagined I would still be here and have spent my entire career in the technology industry.  I have been fortunate to work with brilliant people doing extraordinary things, collaborating with clients in the private and public sector and to have been engaged in the start-up and research community as it’s evolved in Atlantic Canada,” said Simpson. “It’s an exciting time for our industry and I am honored to take on this new leadership role.”

TechImpact has three key priorities which include workforce development, fostering innovation, and growing businesses.  Simpson’s initial emphasis will be workforce development.    

About TechImpact
TechImpact is a private sector-led organization focused on growing the technology industry in Atlantic Canada. Founded in 2009, its membership is comprised of the CEOs of the larger technology companies and the CIOs from the largest IT consumers of technology in the region.

Media contact:
 

Innovation the is the fuel that will transform our Atlantic Canadian economy

“Innovation is the fuel that will transform the Canadian economy. TechImpact is working to encourage increased innovation in all parts of our economy. This includes supporting increased private sector & university research and commercialization thereof.  This will lead to new products or services around which companies will be built. Innovation is not only for the private sector; we will also encourage the development of innovative and cost-effective ways to deliver traditional public services.”

Our definition of Innovation

Innovation is defined as the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.” - www.businessdictionary.com

This is a very simple, straightforward definition of innovation; however successful innovation is neither simple nor straightforward. We must remember that not all novel ideas, inventions or enhancements will be commercially successful. This is an important concept to be aware of when discussing research, development, invention, and process improvements. Many factors come into play to be commercially successful. Most cool ideas remain just that, and never make it to market, or if they do, they are not commercially successful. In many cases, the technical aspects of invention are the easy part of the process to successful innovation. Scale up, marketing, distribution and sales are often the most challenging and expensive part of the innovation process. Managing these challenges and risks is critical to successful innovation.

Although Tech Impact is an IT organization, the positions that we outline in this paper apply to most all industries in all sectors, from aerospace to zookeeping and everything in between. It also covers both product and service companies. Innovation must occur to create and commercialize new products as well as for process improvements such as sales funnels and assembly lines.

Technology is not essential for all innovation; however, it is important to remember that anything that is done to scale (meaning large scale and high volume) needs technology. Whether it is within newer IT industries such as mobile app development or more traditional “non-tech” industries such as fishing, farming or forestry.

Why do we need to innovate?

Atlantic Canada’s economic outlook is dire should our current course and speed perpetuate. Our Provincial governments are materially indebted, our demographics aren’t sustainable with an aging workforce and youth migration and our unemployment rates are high.

These are highly complex problems that require complex and long-term solutions. Increasing our export as a function of GDP will be a key component of any solution. Businesses that focus on exporting expand their growth potential beyond our relatively small regional market to much larger global markets. This enables sales volumes to increase dramatically, resulting in higher profit margins. It also brings new money into the region rather than recirculating the same funds within the region. To support the demands of international markets, businesses must be prepared to scale, which implies the need for innovation and technology.

Economies that embrace a high level of innovation can thrive economically and socially. The outcome will be increased GDP, increased export, increased employment and population growth Estonia is a great example of this.

“Over the past two decades, this former Soviet-controlled nation — home to just 1.3 million people, has quietly become one of the most tech-savvy countries on earth. Estonia is the 79th smallest country in the world by population but holds the world record in startups per person. It has among the world's fastest broadband speeds. The country teaches every kid how to code. Nearly all government services are conducted online. Citizens can access their health records in the cloud and pay for parking with their mobile phones.

Today, 95% of residents declare their taxes online and can do so in typically under five minutes.

The country also instituted a cutting-edge X-Road [data highway] technology platform to help organize, manage and share private and public data between government institutions. That system allowed Estonia to institute online voting in 2005, becoming the first country to ever do so.

Estonian engineers developed the code behind Skype in 2003 and sold it to eBay in 2005 for $2.6 billion, triggering a windfall. "Suddenly, four kids in a place that everyone said was just a backwater boondox came up with something that became a worldwide phenomenon," President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said. "They became filthy rich and changed the whole mindset here from "Why should I study math?" to "I too could be one of those guys."

As the Skype founders became rock stars, a new generation of young Estonians flocked to try their hand at tech. Today, high-tech industries now make up about 15% of Estonia's total GDP. There are an estimated 350 Estonian startups — one for every 3,700 citizens.”  https://mic.com/articles/146542/the-unexpected-story-of-how-this-tiny-country-became-the-most-tech-savvy-on-earth#.WPpSPjhrO

“Estonia is a very open economy - the export of goods and services exceeds approximately 85% of GDP”.

We believe:

  • Innovation is a cornerstone of economic prosperity.
  • The fundamental components already exist within Atlantic Canada to create a culture of innovation within all sectors, to accelerate our Innovation activity and kickstart our economic growth and prosperity.

  • A planned approach to Innovation is the lowest risk and most cost-effective approach to maximize your ROI.

  • Collaboration is critical to acquiring new knowledge and expertise

  • Each business must find the right mix of radical and incremental innovation that matches their level of risk tolerance

  • Government, private sector, the startup community and academia must all have a collective understanding of their roles and be willing to collaborate with each other.

  • The BCLL is a novel approach to connecting business problems and opportunities to potential solutions provided by local companies and/or institutions.

  • TechImpact companies will lead by example and spearhead our collaborative innovation efforts in Atlantic Canada.

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