Business

Maple Ridge’s high-tech future brighter now

staff reporter

Maple Ridge’s dream of attracting high-tech businesses became a little more real Tuesday after those in the field chose it and Surrey as the first two homes for the Centre4Growth program.

The initiative comes from the B.C. Technology Industry Association and kickstarts high-tech companies by providing guidance through a CEO-In-Residence-plan.

In addition to advice from CEOs, entrepreneurs can access growth workshops, private business clinics with experts, introductions to potential investors and customers, as well as an E-Library of resources and tools.

“Our vision has always been to have Centre4Growth services accessible to tech entrepreneurs across Greater Vancouver and B.C.

“Having the support of Maple Ridge and the City of Surrey as our first two Centre4Growth nodes is a great first step,”  president Bill Tam said in a release.

The announcement was made Tuesday in the Randy Herman Safety Building.

The program was started in 2010 and so far, 300 companies have received business coaching. That’s resulted in 237 new jobs and a 76-per-cent jump in revenue.

The Technology Industry Association says population growth in both Surrey and Maple Ridge has produced a “rapid increase in innovative companies.

“Companies receiving capacity building support through Centre4Growth grow faster, strengthen the local economy, and support other industries throughout the region with locally developed innovative business solutions.”

This initiative aligns with Maple Ridge’s economic vision, “by providing tech companies in every sector the resources, expertise, insight, strategic focus and support they need to grow and compete globally,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin.

He added Invest North Fraser, which includes Mission and Pitt Meadows, welcomed the program.

“Our region was selected as a regional economic development pilot under the BC Jobs Plan, and a business innovation accelerator was a key opportunity identified … through the pilot process.”

To grow small companies into mid- to large-sized companies, entrepreneurs need access to experienced people and resources, Tam said.

“Not just in major cities, but in the regions where they live.

“Through the expansion of Centre4Growth, entrepreneurs in Maple Ridge and Surrey need look no further than their own back yard.”

The program also will be launched Dec. 7 in Surrey at 8:30 a.m. at Simon Fraser University, Surrey campus.

“Providing this type of relevant, practical support to entrepreneurs can bridge the gap between having a great idea and growing a profitable, job generating company,” said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. “Entrepreneurs play an important role in creating local jobs for the future and helping build a resilient economy. I’m excited to have BCTIA’s Centre4Growth as a partner in supporting their success.”

I’m also proud to say that SFU Surrey is a partner in this initiative, which will complement their existing entrepreneurship programming.”

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