🏙️ Innovate West conference announced amid buzz over large-scale events
The multi-day conference and expo says it will fill the gap left by the BC Tech Summit.
Happy Wednesday. Welcome to the Morning Report. If you want to read the full newsletter as well as our daily coverage, become a member now:
A brand new, large-scale tech conference has been confirmed to take place in Vancouver next year — and no, it’s not Collision.
Innovate West has announced it will take over the Convention Center on April 16 and 17, 2024, presenting a two-day conference and expo that will focus on the intersection of technology and business innovation.
“It's exactly what's missing from the Vancouver, B.C., and western tech scenes right now, which is a big-tent, [...] multi-day conference that's showcasing both the emerging and established tech companies and stories happening here in B.C.,” David Tyldesley, vice-president and co-founder of Cube Business Media, told Vancouver Tech Journal.
Innovate West, Tyldesley says, will fill the gap left by the departure of the BC Tech Summit: a two-day conference that brought together the province’s leading companies, innovators, and entrepreneurs to spotlight the region’s tech ecosystem. The event was hosted annually by the B.C. government and Innovate BC, but shuttered after its 2020 offering was cancelled due to COVID. While it has similar goals to the now-defunct event, Tyldesley says Innovate West will differ from the BC Tech Summit because it will be industry-led.
“The previous conference was obviously more of a government platform,” he said. “This conference will be built by industry, for industry. One of the things that we do want to do is [...] really bring together all these siloed tech verticals. They're really not crossing paths as much as they could, without that kind of [anchor] annually in the city.”
A major focus of the event will be to reignite the cross-border trade that was hamstrung during COVID. Tyldesley suggests that the conference offers an opportunity to get attendees from Washington State, Oregon, and California — as well as investors and companies from those markets — up to Vancouver, by “opening up the Cascadia corridor.”
With the event date just under a year away, organizers are still in the early stages of planning. Innovate West chose to announce its launch yesterday at the TechExit conference ahead of schedule, however, in part because of the recent media headlines around the possibility of Collision conference making Vancouver its new home. Innovate West will now join the suite of events produced by Cube Business Media, including SaaS North, Tech Talent North, TechExit, Business Transitions Forum, and Knowshow.
“I've been hearing a lot of discussion about the loss of a large-scale event,” Tyldesley says. “And there's a lot of discussion about Collision conference, and the large taxpayer bill associated with it in Toronto. There's some people who want an event like that just to come out to Vancouver. We already have this other event in the works. And we're saying, ‘Don't fund a foreign company to build a tech conference in Canada when we have companies in Canada like my own that are currently producing world-leading events here already.’ We were already committed to it, but there's an interesting timing discussion with a bit of a media buzz around this Collision business right now. So we wanted to let everyone know that we're doing it.”
Now, onto your daily briefing.