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Victoria tech sector seeks nominees for annual awards

The Victoria Advanced Technology Council is starting to tweet, email and even send the odd carrier pigeon around the region as it casts about for nominations for its annual awards.
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VIATeC CEO Dan Gunn battles Darth Vader at last yearÍs awards.

The Victoria Advanced Technology Council is starting to tweet, email and even send the odd carrier pigeon around the region as it casts about for nominations for its annual awards.

This year, the local tech sector is looking for nominations in 12 categories, including a new twist reflective of the sector’s penchant for growing new companies.

“Given the explosion in growth of innovative new technology companies in the past few years, we’ve added a new award category, Start-up of the Year,” said VIATeC executive director Dan Gunn.

“Five finalists will be chosen to provide a 45-second video pitch and the winner will be determined by audience vote.”

The awards gala, set for June 20 at the Victoria Conference Centre, has become a large draw for the sector. Last year, more than 600 people packed Carson Hall at the conference centre.

“It’s a great way for local tech firms to get increased profile with local media, policymakers and their peers, which always helps when looking to hire new staff, find new customers or raise investment,” Gunn said.

In recent years, the evening gala celebrating technological, cultural and business innovation in Victoria has featured a talk-show format, lightsabre battles and inflatable orcas floating over the crowd.

“We know expectations are high thanks to some of our recent hijinks, but if we can get the attention of the commander of the International Space Station, we should be able to come up with something unique and fun for this year’s awards,” said Gunn.

Gunn was referring to Chris Hadfield’s response to a VIATeC YouTube video designed to make it clear Victoria is about more than just flowers and tea — itself a response to a Hadfield tweet about Victoria. (To see the video, go to YouTube and search for “Victoria’s tech sector beams message to the International Space Station.”)

Nominations for this year’s awards close April 9. An online nomination form is available at tinyurl.com/2013techawards