Crystal Garden event shows what makes region’s tech industry click

With a focus on drawing new talent to the industry, Victoria’s burgeoning high-tech sector will throw back the curtain and show off what makes the industry tick as the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council puts on its Discover Tectoria event this week.

The free, day-long showcase of the kinds of companies that make up the sector and the sort of innovation that has set them apart on the world stage, expects to welcome about 3,000 people Thursday at Crystal Garden.

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“This is a huge event for us, and the majority of the exhibitors are hiring, so that’s the biggest push this year,” said Tessa Bousfield, VIATEC’s events director.

The event will feature a “career corner” where anyone, from those considering a career change to those somewhat curious about working in tech, can discuss how they should go about it and how to choose the best employers.

There will be more than 75 tech companies — from start-up experimental technology firms to established gaming and engineering outfits — research projects and interactive displays for the public to check out to better understand what’s driving and growing the industry.

The Victoria tech sector, which collectively has more than $4 billion in annual revenues from its 904 companies, has also set a goal for its own growth.

It wants to have its firms, which employ about 20,000 people, more than double their existing combined revenue to $10 billion by 2030.

“VIATEC is committed to helping innovators grow their companies, and Discover Tectoria gives our local tech companies a platform where they can be seen and heard by investors, media, job seekers and youth,” said VIATEC chief executive Dan Gunn.

“This event draws big crowds, many of which will make up the leaders and vital team members of our community in the immediate and near future.

“There’s no better way to inspire our future tech workers than filling a space with all the opportunities, creative minds and unworldly inventions.”

Some of the other key features of this year’s event are:

• Startup Alley, where you can get a sneak peek at the future of Tectoria.

• UVic’s Research District for new projects in development.

• The Women in Tech Lounge for networking and discussions among women in tech.

• The Leadership and Talent Theatres that will feature a line-up of talks and panel discussions throughout the day.

Discover Tectoria is free, and runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday at Crystal Garden.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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