Last week, a former classmate of mine from UBC emailed me after learning I worked for BCIC. She’s moving back to Vancouver and thought I could give her some insight into Vancouver’s tech scene. Specifically, she asked me which blogs she should follow, where she should go as she begins her job search and more importantly, what industry associations and networking events she should check out.
After a brief chat to catch up on life’s adventures over the past ten years, I brought her up to date on some of the best networking events and resources I could think of.
How do you break through the clutter of the many tech-related seminars, networking and recognition events offered by the numerous industry associations, universities, not-for-profits in this city each week? What I proceeded to share with her is by no means an exhaustive list of networking events in Vancouver; rather it was a systematic way to choose the ones that will help her obtain her goals. To narrow it down for her, I probed the following questions: Do you like video games, clean tech or more science-based technologies related to health or biotechnology? Do you see yourself working in a startup environment where the number of coffee mugs on the shelf often outnumber the total staff count (at least twice) and you work side-by-side with the entrepreneur each and every day? Or do you want to end up in a more corporate environment because you’ve always flourished in a structured, team environment?
Ask yourself these types of questions and then:
Research the industry associations, not-for-profits and other technology groups
Mostly sector-based, the industry associations, including DigiBC, LifeSciences BC, BC Technology Industry Association, offer a variety of workshops, roundtables and events each year. If your interests lie in a specific sector such as digital media, life sciences, clean tech, internet or mobile apps, visit their event calendars and make a point of attending an event or two. These events are great for meeting people currently working in your sector of interest. Where possible, before attending events, learn more about who will be there (from the list of members or attendees if available, roster of speakers, etc) either through the organization’s website or follow their various social media channels (i.e. Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and tech blogs).
Most of these organizations will offer both a member and non-member ticket price.
Looking to mix and mingle with entrepreneurs directly? Then make sure these networking events for startups are in your calendar:
- Startup Drinks Vancouver: Startup Drinks is a casual gathering of mostly digital media and internet entrepreneurs that takes place the last Wednesday of each month. Open to anyone interested in startups and chatting about all things… from startups to projects, funding, challenges, etc. @bootup @startupdrinksV
The next Startup Drinks takes place Wednesday, June 29 @ the Alibi Room
- TechBrew: BCTIA’s mega-mixer featuring cool new technologies. Attracts entrepreneurs, investors, service providers or anyone interested making new connections in a casual setting. @bctia
Check back for details on the next event!
- Launch Party Vancouver 11: A launch pad event for early-stage tech startups. Launch Party has teamed up with Dealmaker Media’s GROW Conference to deliver the next event – Launch@GROW as the opening reception for this much talked tech conference on August 17, 2011. The event will attract over 600 attendees including top tier investors, entrepreneurs and influencers from across Canada and Silicon Valley and promises to be one of the hottest tickets of the year. @launchpartyhq
Your ticket to Launch@GROW comes with registration to the GROW Conference (Aug 17-19).
TBC whether tickets will be released for Launch@GROW only.
- CONNECT Conference: BCIC’s annual conference for technology entrepreneurs. On October 20, 2011, BC’s tech community will unite once again for a powerful evening of networking amongst your peers including entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, major corporations, universities and service providers. Stay tuned as speakers and networking leaders are added. This event is not to be missed! @connectnext
Tickets will be on sale soon.
Or maybe you like the idea of working in a larger corporation… Then consider picking up a ticket to some of the tech industry’s more elaborate affairs that attract supporters and sponsors from some of the anchors in our community. Find out what companies will be there in advance, including event sponsors, award presenters and of course, the winners, and make it a priority to seek them out during the networking reception and after the formal part of the event is over.
- The BCTIA Technology Impact Awards (The TIAs): A more formal affair celebrating the successes of BC’s tech industry and the companies, people and innovation that are putting our tech scene on the map, Thursday, June 9, 2011.
- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards: Entrepreneurs power Canada’s economy. When it comes to stimulating economic growth and getting the country back on its feet, it’s entrepreneurs who lead the way. In the fall, each region hosts a gala awards banquet, where the finalists are honoured and awards presented. This year’s celebration takes place October 5, 2011.
These are my thoughts, but feel free to share your tips on Vancouver’s tech scene. To all those starting out, good luck!