A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed and maintaining a connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.
We are #OKGNtech is a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along on the Accelerate Okanagan blog, okgntech.com, and on Instagram @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Angie. Angie Schick is the Executive Director of New Ventures BC in Vancouver. When she’s not raising the profile of entrepreneurs in BC, you’ll find Angie spending time with her family, testing out a new recipe in the kitchen, or eating at all of the best restaurants she can find.
Where do you work?
I’m the Executive Director at New Ventures BC in Vancouver. We’re a not-for-profit that’s probably most recognized for our annual New Ventures BC competition which looks for the top tech startups in the province. We’re part of the BC Acceleration Network—a group of 10 organizations partially funded by Innovate BC. As a result of that, I get to be a part of a great group of people from across the province.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Every day brings something new and every year we meet so many different entrepreneurs that have so many new ideas, it’s impossible to feel complacent. The ideas and the energy of the entrepreneurs really keep you going. It’s part of what makes BC special, there is entrepreneurship and expertise all over the province and it’s up to us to tap into it. I’ve really tried over the last while to get to know everyone in the network—get to know where they’re from—and they are always exceeding expectations. The level of talent in BC is really impressive.
How did you get into this kind of work?
I’ve always been interested in the tech sector and how technology influences people. I worked with New Ventures BC on and off during my time as a student. My master’s degree professor at SFU, his wife, was the founding executive director at New Ventures BC. I worked for her and have had the chance to learn from her over the years. When an opportunity came up to return to New Ventures BC full-time, I took it.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
If you want to have your hands in everything and learn really quickly, working for a not-for-profit that services the tech industry and entrepreneurs is a great opportunity. We’re not a big team, but we take a lot of pride in serving our community as best as we can. If you’re looking for something with a lot of variety and a good purpose, then it’s a good place to be. That’s why I love working at New Ventures BC. We have no ulterior motive.
What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
I think the Okanagan is one of the strongest tech communities in the province. I was there for the 2020 OKGN Angel Summit, which happened right before everything shut down due to the pandemic, and I was struck by a few things. It was very welcoming, very community-based, everyone had a lot to say about the support system and how much they enjoyed being there. The community has created a great hub in the Innovation Centre, it’s a comfortable and beautiful place. It’s vibrant, collaborative and always willing to share its efforts to help level each other up.
Is there something you’d like to see more of from tech communities in BC?
I try to avoid recreating something or developing something new. Instead, I’ll try and find out what some of our partners have done and leverage that experience—iterating that into something better. I want to know how our network of accelerators can collaborate and learn from each other more. What are ways that we can easily share resources and keep each other accountable for making improvements? We always want to work together, but sometimes things can feel a little siloed.
The best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Or can share?
Always think about the audience. Your audience and your customers should be the first points of view you consider when building something new. Look at the big picture, see how everything connects, and figure out the best path through that customer-focused lens. If it creates a better experience for your audience, then it’s worth it.
Who inspires you?
Jeanette Jackson, who is the CEO of Foresight, or Karri LaMotte, the managing director of entrepreneurship@UBC. Both inspire me because they have very clear points of view and big visions. That’s what we need more of in our ecosystem. They’re both very giving of their time and have a clear understanding of what they want to accomplish. They’re great inspirations and examples of great leaders that we need more of.