Here at the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC), we know our work can sometimes seem a little obscure. “What exactly do you do?” is a question we get asked often asked by those new to the world of economic development.
One of the things we ‘do’ is help facilitate investment — the right kind of investment — into our local firms. It’s what we call ‘smart capital,’ and our key sector companies need this type of investment in order to grow and fulfill their potential.
A few years ago it was a common refrain (particularly from our local startups) that it was “impossible” to get the capital they needed, something that was really inhibiting their growth. Vancouver just wasn’t on the radar for venture capitalists, and the feeling was that you needed to be located in Silicon Valley to have any chance of raising funding.
The good news we have to share today is that this situation has now improved considerably. Since the early 2000s, when the VEC started tracking total capital investments into the city and used to average only about $150M a year, the trend in recent years has been ticking up and up — to the point where we can now exclusively reveal that Vancouver last year received $641M in total capital investments – a record amount for the city.
This is great news for our local startups and fantastic for the city. We at the VEC will continue doing everything we can – from promoting Vancouver and our first class companies on the world stage, to facilitating meetings each week with investors and our local businesses – to ensure this trend continues. We’ve still got a long way to go to reach our own potential, Seattle for example regularly raises over $1.5bn a year, but we’re confident that we’re on that right path and that more investment will continue to flow into Vancouver each year.
James Raymond is the Manager of Research & Analysis at the Vancouver Economic Commission. In this role, he works to create and synthesize the best sources of data to provide insight and inform investors, media, influential business leaders and the wider public about the state of Vancouver’s economy. A graduate of one of Europe’s Top 10 Business Schools, he emigrated to Canada in 2008 where he is now a citizen. He has a background in qualitative and quantitative research & marketing gained through 15+ years experience working in public, private and non-profit sectors for leading-edge organisations such as PA Consulting, Talkback Television, New South Wales Government and Dunnhumby where he notably project managed Europe’s largest targeted weekly marketing activity. He is passionate about truly sustainable economic development, and strives to establish Vancouver as a role model for other cities and regions to follow.