Accelerate Okanagan Secures Funding to Support Regional Scale Up Companies

Blog September 12, 2019

Posted by Joanna Schlosser

Accelerate Okanagan Secures Funding to Support Regional Scale Up Companies Featured Image

It is widely accepted that more anchor-style tech companies are the key to bolstering the critical mass of the tech sector on both a regional, provincial, and national scale. Larger companies create more spin-off benefits and offer an increased breadth of positions and opportunities, making it easier to attract more senior, skilled talent. 

“If we want to continue to build on our success as a tech community and reach our full potential, it is critical that we coach the leaders and that means supporting their development,” says Brea Lake, Acting CEO at Accelerate Okanagan. “We firmly believe that leadership coaching is essential in building future success for OKGNtech and we’ve built that into our 5-year strategic priorities.”

This week Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced investments of over $5.6 million for five organizations across British Columbia, including an investment of $2,855,550  through their Regional Innovation Ecosystem fund to support Accelerate Okanagan (AO) and the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) to implement a Scale Up project that will support the growth and potential of technology companies through enhanced management and leadership training of company executives.

“We’re confident that this programming will increase capacity in our local tech leaders and their C-suite team members leading to increased revenues, job satisfaction, and employment,” says Lake.  “We want to arm our local Scale Up companies with the tools they need to experience healthy, sustainable growth and attract and retain top talent”.

Inclusion and diversity will also remain a top priority and this investment from the Government of Canada will ensure Accelerate Okanagan can continue to work with community partners to create opportunities for all through committed collaboration and training to engage those willing to participate. 

“A strong and vibrant nation is created when Canadians are positioned to succeed,” says The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “These investments announced will ensure that individuals from across British Columbia have access to the tools and training that will allow them to prosper for years to come.”

Accelerate Okanagan and VIATEC have a successful track record when it comes to administering and managing impactful, large-scale programs through multi-year private and government partnerships. Through collaboration in 2010, the Venture Acceleration Program (VAP) was developed. With the support of Innovate BC, this program is now run by 15 partner organizations representing every region and major industry sectors in BC.   

If you are a founder or executive team member of an Okanagan-based company with an interest in Scale Up programming and leadership development, connect with our program lead, FraserJohnston for more information.  Looking for more information? Let’s connect

Fast Facts

  • Since 2012 Accelerate Okanagan has received over 690 applications for mentorship programming and has supported 175 of those companies through their Venture Acceleration, Calibration, Access to Capital, and RevUP programs. 

  • Since 2012 Accelerate Okanagan program participants have generated $55M in new revenue, $43.7M in new investment, and created 567 new jobs.

  • The tech sector in the Okanagan is estimated to contribute $1.67 billion to the region’s economy. This represents year-over-year economic growth of 15% since 2013 making OKGNtech the fastest growing tech region in the country. 

  • According to the region’s 2017 Economic Impact Study, there are now 693 technology businesses operating in the Okanagan and employs a total of 12,474 workers which represents a 90% increase since the first survey was conducted in 2013. 

  • Accelerate Okanagan and VIATEC have 8 years of experience working together to administer and manage impactful, large-scale programs through multi-year private and government partnerships. 

About Accelerate Okanagan 

Accelerate Okanagan(AO) is a not-for-profit organization that gives entrepreneurs the mentorship, connections, and community they need to build technology-driven ventures.  At Accelerate Okanagan we work with everyone from students to well-established companies. Aspiring entrepreneurs, startups, job seekers, career-changers, companies looking to expand and grow, and companies with proven track records come to Accelerate Okanagan to learn and foster their success. Our programs are designed to meet the ever-changing needs of our community. To find out more, visit: or

Related Reading