Campbell River is poised to grow its technology and creative industries sector. With a new municipal broadband network underway and an increasingly supportive ecosystem for technology, the community is ready for innovative entrepreneurs and companies.
The area offers a lifestyle that has attracted a wide range of entrepreneurs and innovators including graphic and sound designers, programmers, app developers and more.
Technology has been identified as one of the priority growth industries in the BC Provincial Jobs Plan.
Snapshot of Tech and Creative Industry in BC
High technology is integral to British Columbia (BC) economy and is an industry generating one of the highest GDPs in the Province1. The industry accounts for approximately 7% of the province’s GDP and continues to experience growth in both the service and manufacturing sectors2. BC has the third highest tech commodity exports in Canada3. For more information, see the Profile of British Columbia’s High Technology Sector.
Campbell River Municipal Broadband
The City of Campbell River has recently invested in a downtown municipal broadband network (MBN) that will enable delivery of low-cost broadband services to Campbell River’s businesses and non-profits. Through this progressive initiative, current entrepreneurs and future technology start-ups will have access to affordable and reliable enterprise level internet connectivity, helping local businesses to compete in today’s knowledge based economy. With guaranteed broadband delivery, up to 1GB symmetrical, that is scalable with a companies’ anticipated growth, the MBN will act as a catalyst for economic development, enabling businesses to grow in place.
The first phase of the project, currently underway, will extend the city’s existing fibre network to allow completion of a fibre ring that will provide the capacity to deliver enterprise level broadband services. The second phase will see continued expansion of the MBN in the downtown core, allowing for the integration of strategic buildings and development areas.
Lifestyle & Labour Force
Campbell River combines many amenities of a big city with its friendly and welcoming character. With an unparalleled lifestyle that offers affordable housing, stunning ocean and mountain views, and vibrant culture and heritage, the community draws creative thinkers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The technology and creative industries sector in Campbell River employs people in a variety of positions including motion picture and sound recording, interactive and digital media and computer systems design.
Growing the Ecosystem
Several organizations are working to expand the technology and creative industries sector in Campbell River and within the region. There are also province wide organizations working to catalyze the sector such as Creative BC, the BC Innovation Council and the First Nations Technology Council.
Campbell River Creative Industries Council is a local network of community organizations, First Nations, educational facilities, and businesses working together to remove barriers to the industry and further develop the area’s creative and knowledge-based economy.
Vancouver Island North Film Commission (INFilm), a regional not-for-profit serving communities from Nanaimo to Cape Scott and Powell River, has its head office in Campbell River. The organization provides liaison and location scouting services to the film, television, commercial and new media industries.
Innovation Island works to support growth in technology-based companies and to foster a vibrant and entrepreneurial technology community in the region. Through the Venture Acceleration Program, Innovation Island has worked with Campbell River companies like Tremain Media and ASAP Avionics.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING PROGRAMS ON VANCOUVER ISLAND
There are several programs in Campbell River and on Vancouver Island that provide interactive, and project based education, training, and learning experiences. In addition Timberline Secondary, located in Campbell River, has a Digital Hackerspace program for youth interested in pursuing digital art, electronic art, computers, technology, and science. Students can participate in the use and development of free software, open hardware, and alternative media.
North Island College (NIC) has a campus in Campbell River and delivers programs in industrial automation and interactive media, including web and mobile application development and advanced communications and interactive design. NIC also offers a robotics camps for elementary school students through its Centre for Applied Research Technology and Innovation.
Excel Career College, in nearby Courtenay, has programs in IT Network and Repair and Digital Design for Print and Web, as well as a wide range of short-term courses to improve small business skills (bookkeeping, MS Publisher, Adobe Photoshop).
Vancouver Island University (VIU), located in Nanaimo, offers programs in engineering, graphic design, digital media, and information technology and applied systems.
There are several tax incentives available to businesses in Campbell River. BC has a number of tax incentives to support researchers, creators, and innovators including the:
- Film and Television Tax Credit (FIBC)
- Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC)
- Digital Animation or Visual Effects (DAVE) Tax Credit
- Digital Animation or Visual Effects (DAVE) Tax Credit
- Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
- Scientific Research & Experimental Development Tax Credit
- Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit
As an area within the Distant Locations Zone, there is an additional tax incentive that can be stacked to increase
the tax credit available for tech and creative industries in Campbell River. There are also two federal tax credits
available for film and video production.
WHY PEOPLE WORKING IN TECH AND CREATIVE INDUSTRIES ARE DRAWN TO CAMPBELL RIVER…
I chose to move to Campbell River as a new entrepreneur seeking a dynamic, healthy, vibrant community on Vancouver Island. I get to ride my bike, strategize with thought leaders, work on meaningful projects, volunteer, celebrate community, eat and drink local food, and gaze out at the ever-changing ocean on a daily basis - I love where I live.”
“ASAP Geomatix is a start-up tech company with an idyllic backdrop of Campbell River. The beauty of this data based tech company is that is can be located anywhere on the planet. With the city actively growing the infrastructure for Innovation and Technology more companies can join the network which is a win-win for the companies and the city.”
“It is an exciting time to be working in
the film industry in the region. Spin offs
from the industry can be seen in
communities throughout the North
Island and demand for the workforce is
growing. In Campbell River for example,
talented entrepreneurs, like the founder
of Earworm Sound, are moving to the
community to start businesses, further
growing our local crew base.”
Film Commission, INfilm