Office of the Premier
Leading Edge BC
December 09. 2003

VANCOUVER – The Province will invest more than $8.3 million over three years to aggressively market B.C. as an internationally competitive location for technology investment, research and job creation through Leading Edge British Columbia, a new partnership with the broad technology industry, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today. 

“B.C. companies and researchers have put B.C. on track to be Canada's technology leader, generating economic opportunities and jobs in every region of the province,” said Campbell. “We've worked with the industry to build the competitive business environment they need and to promote their competitiveness in key international markets. 

Leading Edge BC builds on that progress with a focused effort to market B.C. as an unbeatable location for innovation and technology investment.” Leading Edge BC will serve as an independent industry-led umbrella marketing organization representing major technology sectors and clusters in the province, including wireless, new media, information and communication technology, life sciences, alternative energy and environmental sciences. The Province has committed $2.78 million in annual funding for three years for the agency, which will be headed by B.C. Technology Industries Association president George Hunter. 

“British Columbia's technology industry has all the elements to become a global technology destination – a competitive and welcoming tax climate, industry leaders, a well-regarded education and R&D base, highly educated and motivated workforce and a quality of life that is second to none. Now we have the mandate and resources to ensure that B.C. is recognized as a premier destination for technology enterprise by investors, entrepreneurs, site selectors and potential recruits,” Hunter said. 

Campbell noted that Leading Edge BC addresses a long-standing concern within the province's technology industry about the need to raise awareness of B.C.'s technology expertise in international markets. 

“The Premier's Technology Council has remained firm in its resolve to make British Columbia a world-class technology centre and believes every opportunity must be taken to promote the province. The formation of Leading Edge British Columbia is an excellent step forward and will spotlight what B.C.'s technology community has to offer the world. We value the strong co-operation between the provincial government and private enterprise,” said Paul Lee, co-chair of the Premier's Technology Council and executive vice-president and worldwide studios chief operating officer for Electronic Arts Inc.

Leading Edge BC will take an integrated approach to marketing through a phased campaign. For the first year, it will primarily focus on ambassador programs, formal networking initiatives, targeted missions, hosting international technology events, and public relations and advertising campaigns. Partnerships are a core part of the strategy, with Leading Edge BC forging relationships with regional economic development organizations, consulates, industry, association networks and local, provincial and federal governments. 

Leading Edge BC's board of directors is made up of six people from industry and the provincial government. Its advisory committee includes representatives from key technology industry associations and organizations to ensure that all interests are represented. Leading Edge BC also has a four-member management team in place.