It’s Coming! The First Annual Agri-Tech Trade Show + Mixer

Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech, located in Mission, BC is the Valley’s first and only technology hub generating a variety of services, membership, events and funded programs for tech entrepreneurs, companies and students to take advantage of. Last year SRCTec obtained the Agri-Tech Venture Acceleration Program, a program which provides training, mentorship, access to capital and networking for individuals and companies who have the next big tech idea in agriculture. With close to 20 ventures successfully graduated from this program, SRCTec definitely hit a gap in the agri-tech industry where its needed.

“The Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech will play an increasingly important role in helping to diversify our economy and provide rewarding and fulfilling career opportunities right here in our own community”, said Abbotsford-Mission MLA Simon Gibson.


On October 21, 2015 at the Ramada Conference Centre in Abbotsford, SRCTec is hosting the First Annual Agri-Tech Trade Show + Mixer. This event is FREE and gives local agri-tech businesses and AVAP ventures a chance to showcase the newest tech innovations in the agri-tech industry. This event starts at 2:00pm and runs until 5:00pm and gives you a chance to walk the expo, attend keynote speaker presentations on this years biggest topics in agriculture and mingle with attendees at our networking mixer. To register for this event please contact Athena Green at 604-615-4619 or by email at





SRCTec Welcomes a New Kind of Innovation for Small to Medium Sized Businesses

MISSION – Technology based non-profit and tech hub of the valley Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech has welcomed their newest member to their facility in Mission, British Columbia. WiseBOX Solutions Inc., and their team of brilliant innovators and product development specialists have made Mission their new base camp. 

WiseBOX Solutions Inc. is a powerful, yet simple to use business software suite designed for small to mid-sized companies looking for a single system to manage inventory, billing, customer relationship management, and achieve business process automation across all of the business functions needed. WiseBOX Solutions Inc. will help businesses get organized, increase productivity and will help in making the critical steps to grow and scale business.


WiseBOX Solutions Inc. will streamline workflow and make it more cost-efficient to operate a business, gain a better snapshot of operations and opens up the time to coordinate activities and serve customers.




“Working with SRCTec has been a great experience.   Being able to set up shop and get our business going with the help and advice from professionals who have already built companies, and are currently building companies is priceless. It has put us on the right track towards success and we are excited for our future.”


WiseBOX Solutions Inc. Business Development Manager, Jesse Maxon


Quick Facts:

  • Established in 2012, Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tec (SRCTec) is a not-for-

profit organization governed by a select group of technology executives that form a volunteer board of directors.

  • SRCTec is a coalition of local government, industry partners and high education institutions interested in attracting tech based investment into the “Region” (including the District of Mission, City of Abbotsford and Chilliwack).
  • As a consortium, SRCTec understands the necessary infrastructure and programs required within the Region, in order to create jobs, foster innovation and drive skilled training.
  • SRCTec is committed to the technology-led Economic and Educational development of the region.
  • BC’s technology sector is the third largest contributor to the province’s economy, making up to 7.6% of our gross domestic product and producing $23.2 billion in annual revenue and, $31 billion in exports.


Learn More:


Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech:

WiseBOX Solutions Inc.:




Athena Green

SRCTec, Marketing/Program Coordinator


Download the official NEWS RELEASE here.


SRCTec Hosts New Program to Fund Tech Employers

SRCTec is proud to announce their newest addition to technology based funding through the BC Innovation Council.  The BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative (BCIC-ISI) is designed to cultivate future technology entrepreneurs and innovators with the ultimate goal of creating quality, high-paying jobs for the BC economy. BCIC-ISI is focused on fulfilling regional industry needs while preparing students to start companies, in addition to filling jobs.

Are you a BC-based technology company that needs to access top talent and skilled workers, train future employees, resource for a project that will move your company forward, or have the opportunity to showcase industry problems to future solution providers? SRCTec will pair you up with an eligible student in exchange for BCIC-ISI vouchers valued at $2,500-$7,500 (average $5,000), which must be matched in-kind and/or in-cash by a company contribution.

Post-secondary students from across BC with business, technical, innovation and entrepreneurial training, skills are invited to expand on their  experience to meet the needs of the technology sector. The program focuses on exposing students to regional industry needs and challenges, while providing students with the skills required to run a successful business.

Company Eligibility:

  • Must be a BC-based technology company and participating in the program partner’s services or programs.
  • Is eligible to receive two vouchers per year.
  • Must provide a 1:1 matching contribution to the voucher funds (in-kind and/or in-cash).
  • Must provide adequate training (business, technical and innovation and entrepreneurial) to meet the program objectives.
  • Must provide a project to the student. Company projects offered to students must be related to business, technical and innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities, and cannot be general administrative duties.

Student Eligibility :

  • Must be a post-secondary student currently enrolled at a BC post-secondary institution.
  • Is required to complete the ‘Virtual Market Validation Training’ offered through New Ventures BC, and companies must ensure this is completed.
  • Is eligible for two vouchers per year.
  • Can be a co-op student if the co-op position is not funded by any other co-op subsidization program.
  • Must be employed a reasonable number of hours per week (approximately 25 hours) at a fair market value for a highly skilled student; in accordance with regional and industry differences factoring in local wages, types and lengths of projects.


Funding is limited so apply online today or contact SRCTec for more information.

SRCTec Press Release BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative



Technology Sector Growing in Downtown Mission, November 17th, 2014

Mission, B.C. – Investments made by the District of Mission are paying off as tech jobs start to move into downtown Mission.

Over 30 high paying tech jobs are moving to downtown Mission with the signing of two new lease agreements for the District-owned building, located at 7337 Welton Street.

i-Open Technologies Inc. is moving to downtown Mission, and brings 33 jobs to the District.

i-Open Technologies Inc. builds industry specific applications with a focus on spatial applications, asset management solutions and data integration services.

The Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech (SRCTec) has signed a separate lease for space at the same building, and will be providing industry-specific technology programs focused on innovation and incubation, research, and technology commercialization. The goal is to develop a local technology hub in Mission.

SRCTec is a non-profit society founded in 2006 with the intent to actively attract technology companies and promote skilled tech training and education to the Fraser Valley.

“Bringing both a successful technology company and a group with a regional focus to downtown Mission is the result of many years of focused work and will be a great benefit to the District. This will be a catalyst to support downtown revitalization and encourage further investment in our community.” says Stacey Crawford, Economic Development Officer for the District of Mission.

The technology sector is the third largest contributor to BC’s economic activity, and over the past five years its growth has outpaced the average growth of the BC economy. It is one of the 8 key sectors in the BC Jobs Plan as well as a spotlight sector for our region and the District of Mission.


About iOpen Technologies

i-Open Technologies Inc. delivers spatially enabled industry specific custom applications, and is supported by a well-established and proven professional services practice. Focusing on Spatial Applications and Data Integration as the core implementation models, i-Open delivers solutions to various Industry groups and government sector organizations.

About SRCTec

The Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech (SRCTec) is a not-for-profit organization governed by a select group of technology executives that form a volunteer board of directors. SRCTec is a coalition of local government, industry partners and higher education institutions interested in attracting tech based investment into the “Region” (including the District of Mission, City of Abbotsford and Chilliwack). As a consortium, SRCTec understands the necessary infrastructure and programs required within the Region in order to create jobs, foster innovation and drive skills training.

For further information, please contact:

Stacey Crawford

Economic Development Officer


Tech activity_Oct_2014 V3

Our New Mission – ACETECH Holds its First Ever Meeting in Mission, September 15

ACETECH, the training organization for CEOs of technology, life sciences, and innovative companies,
has announced that Mission will be the location for its September “Speaker Series” meeting. Hosted by
SRCTec (Sumas Regional Consortium for Technology), and sponsored by the BC Innovation Council and
the District of Mission, this event marks another milestone to position Mission as a technological hub in
the Fraser Valley.

SRCTec is opening a technical centre of excellence in downtown Mission later this fall – a move that has
interested two high tech companies to re-locate here, with more to follow. The Consortium has
partnered with the city to leverage Mission’s ongoing downtown revitalization program, its low cost of
doing business and high quality yet affordable lifestyle to go after the thriving high tech sector. SRCTec’s
planned Venture Acceleration Program to aid incubator and start-up high tech companies will be an
essential first step.

“These targeted early adapters will pave the way to brand this community as a tech start-up centre,”
explains SRCTec Chair Ray Szabada. “They will bring high paying jobs and will have a substantial positive
impact on this community and local economy. And the fact that an organization with the prestige of
ACETECH has also chosen Mission is just icing on the cake!”

The ACETECH meeting will feature author Shannon Susko as presenter. Shannon’s book “The
Metronome Effect” draws on the wisdom of some of the best business minds of our time, as well as the
author’s own experiences as a serial entrepreneur, to create a methodology that delivers a practical
process to grow business profits. With more than twenty years of experience building and leading high-
growth technology companies, she was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 in 2000, and was
awarded the Sarah Kirke Award for Canada’s Leading Women Entrepreneurs in 2006. Shannon currently
serves as a corporate director, as well as a leadership coach helping CEOs and top executives in a variety
of industries keep their companies on the path to growth and predictable profit.

SRCTec Makes Commitment to Mission

City Owned Building Will Accommodate Up To 30 High Tech Jobs in Mission’s Downtown

The Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech has officially announced that it is opening its first Technical Centre of Excellence (TCE) in Mission later this fall. SRCTec Chair Ray Szabada has signed a memorandum of understanding with the District to lease a portion of the city owned building behind the post office. The facility will accommodate and provide services to start-up high tech companies.

In addition to the twelve start-up companies that have already expressed interest in the program, two well-established high tech firms have enquired about taking space in the building as anchor tenants. “I am confident that we can fill the space available to us quickly,” Szabada says.  “And this will fundamentally change the local economy. The TCE will attract high tech companies to locate in Mission, and will brand this community as a technology hub. This is excellent news for the city’s downtown revitalization initiative and for local businesses in general.”

Mission Economic Development Officer Stacey Crawford agrees. “This is the culmination of several years of work in partnership with SRCTec,” he notes. “It brings together education, innovation, and business with a technology sector focus and will generate new jobs in the knowledge based economy.”

Szabada praises Mission for its forward and innovative thinking. “Technology is a perfect fit for this community,” he says. “Mission Council and staff have been extremely supportive, and have helped to make this TCE project a reality.

The Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech (SRCTec) is a not-for-profit organization governed by a select group of technology executives that form a volunteer board of directors. SRCTec is a coalition of local government, industry partners and higher education institutions interested in attracting tech based investment into the “Region” (including the District of Mission, City of Abbotsford and Chilliwack). As a consortium, SRCTec understands the necessary infrastructure and programs required within the Region in order to create jobs, foster innovation and drive skills training.

Behind-the-Scenes Activity is Bringing World-Class Technical Centre to Mission

“The timing is fantastic – everything is coming together for us”!


When Chris Bush talks about agricultural technology his excitement and enthusiasm is both obvious and infectious. Agritech is a growing and important business, and the proposed Technology Centre of Excellence (TCE) for Downtown Mission plans to leverage this sector. Included in the many programs that Mission’sTCE will deliver in the community, the Board of SRCTec has recently proposed the framework to the province for the Agri based Venture Acceleration Program or AVAP.

We are standing in the parking lot outside the city owned Buy Low building in Mission’s downtown. Still mostly vacant, it gives no hint of the behind- the-scenes activity that will soon bring it to life as a world class technical centre for emerging agricultural tech companies. But in fact there is a lot going on. The economic and social benefits to Mission are just around the corner.

image of distillation equipment used for research

Distillation columns being used to remove lipids (valuable oils) at an algae biotech research centre. There has been massive support for algae as a biofuel for many years, but today, all indicators point to it as food and for supplements.

As president of Catalyst Agri-Innovations Society, and a director of the non-profit SRCTec (Sumas Regional Consortium for Technology), Chris is here for a meeting to bring all the parties up to date on the progress to turn the dream into reality. And that reality is very close. Consider the following:

  1. The facility will require an anchor tenant to help defray leasing costs and provide mentoring. That anchor tenant has signed a memorandum of understanding, and is scheduled to occupy the building no later than January 2015.
  2. Mission’s TCE (Technical Centre of Excellence) will initially provide accommodation and mentoring for emerging and incubator high tech businesses in the agricultural sector. Twelve such companies have already expressed interest. In the future the program will be expanded to tap into other important sectors such as manufacturing and aerospace.
  3. A proposal to obtain major operating funding for the Centre has been submitted to BCIC (British Columbia Innovation Council). The proposal has been warmly received and final approval is expected by mid to late August.
  4. Other funding proposals have been submitted to WD (Western Economic Diversification) to expand the programs offered by the Centre.
  5. Work is underway to create a consortium of credit unions to support the project and participate in SRCTec’s overall vision for the Fraser Valley. In fact one credit union is already committed. Plans are also underway to create a venture fund that will give access to capital locally, and create a framework that will help to keep local talent locally employed.
  6. Letters of support have been received from Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Maple Ridge. Maple Ridge participation is through Invest North Fraser. “There are no losing communities here”, notes Mission Economic Development Officer Stacey Crawford. “Mission’s TCE will be only one piece of the puzzle designed to bring high tech jobs to the Fraser Valley. This is a win-win for everybody”.
  7. Mission’s Riverside College is on board with the Centre to provide ladder programs and links to industry. Riverside’s ITT (information technology) program was launched in partnership with SRCTec two years ago.
  8. The portion of the building required by SRCTec for the initial TCE operation will be occupied soon after the funding is approved, probably by late September or early October. A plan is in place to renovate the building to accommodate its new uses, and renovation work will commence very shortly. The federal agency Farm Credit Canada has been approached to contribute to the facility upgrade.
  9. ACETech, the Vancouver based training organization for CEOs of technology, life sciences, and innovative companies, has committed to hold an evening meeting in Mission on September 18. It is expected that many of the brightest and best tech CEO’s from Coquitlam east will attend this ground breaking event.
Algae propagation tray

Algae propagation tray

“The overall theme is “Our New Mission”, says SRCTec chair Ray Szabada. “This city is poised to become the emerging business high tech capital of British Columbia. The interest is huge.”

Szabada emphasizes that the SRCTec mandate is Fraser Valley wide, and not restricted to Mission, but he is very happy that Mission has assumed the leadership role in the Fraser Valley. In fact he is effusive in his praise for Mission and its elected leaders. “Mayor Adlem and his Council really get it’, he says. “They have stepped to the plate in a big way, and the local economy will benefit. It’s gratifying to work with innovative leadership”. At the same time he envisages future TCE facilities located in other cities. “It’s still a 45 minute drive from Chilliwack to Mission”, he points out. “This is too far to meet the needs of incubator businesses located there”.

SRCTec’s Chris Bush

SRCTec’s Chris Bush

SRCTec hopes to target three areas of business within the first year of operations, all designed to promote the establishment of successful high tech businesses with their accompanying high paid jobs.

  • Innovation and incubation. This component comprises Stage 1 of the Mission TCE and AVAP initiative as well as a model for “concept to capital” program.
  • Corporate Services, such as office space, marketing and mentoring for existing and start-up businesses. This for profit component will allow the TCE to be financially self-sustaining, and ensure that the TCE is not strictly relying on public dollars past the initial 3 year funded time frame.
  • Special Programs and Events (including an educational component). In stage 3 the TCE will partner with post secondary institutions to offer continuing education, research and technology transfer.

Naturally it’s not happening quickly enough for Ray Szabada. “This has been a long term proposition”, he says. “We’ve been working to achieve this goal for more than 5 years. But we’re more than 90% of the way there now. One way or another, Mission will get its TCE, a substantial number of tech jobs as early as fall of 2014 and achieve the ability to set a solid platform for clean industrialization; It’s that close”!

So how can a cow fuel your car or heat your home? Or generate electricity or power machinery? If you put its manure (plus other organic waste you may accumulate, including sewage) into an anaerobic digester, two really good things happen. First you generate a mixture of gases that can be used as alternative to petroleum based fuels. They become a totally renewable source of energy that can be upgraded to natural gas standards, and be used wherever natural gas is used.

A Technical Centre of Excellence for Mission? The Dream is One Step Closer to Reality

The way Ray Szabada sees it, the similarities between California’s Santa Clara Valley and British Columbia’s Fraser Valley are striking and very much worthy of attention.  “Geographical proximity to a major and exciting city”, he says.  “Climate, transportation links, much easier access to an international airport, lifestyle – all very similar.  But there’s one aspect where we’re not similar at all, and that’s a huge advantage for us.  Affordability!”

Santa Clara Valley?  Why should Ray care?  Because in November 1971 a small emerging company called Intel created the world’s first microprocessor, and everything changed for this bucolic suburban area south of San Francisco.  The term “Silicon Valley” was first published in the fledgling Electronic News, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ray is not trying to create a second Silicon Valley here.   That would be wishful thinking.  In the words of Ethernet co-inventor Robert Metcalfe:  “Silicon Valley is the only place on Earth not trying to figure out how to become Silicon Valley”.  But he does believe that a portion of the industry and wealth spawned by Silicon Valley can be lured here if the right conditions exist.

He has the credentials to know what he’s talking about.  He’s President and CEO of i-Open Technologies.  Founded in 2002, the company specializes in offering solutions to private enterprises and municipal governments alike.  Whether emerging technology, workflow analysis or technology integration and implementation, i-Open Technologies has an impressive track record of achievement.   And one of those achievements is the creation of the Sumas Regional Consortium for High Tech, (SRCTec),  a volunteer executive board dedicated to attracting technology companies to the Fraser Valley.   “Every successful venture starts with an idea”, he says, “but the trick is to get past the idea stage by creating an action plan.   Of all the Fraser Valley communities, Mission is the perfect place to begin”.

Mission Economic Development Officer Stacey Crawford agrees.  “Mission does not have the industrial land base to allow for huge amounts of growth”, he says. “We have to maximize our FSR’s (floor space ratios, the number of jobs created per square foot of commercial or industrial space).  Companies based on information technology certainly meet this requirement”.

So what are the first steps in the process, and what is the final vision?  Ray spells out the plan.  “The final vision would be to have a substantial employment base with ICT (information & communication technology) companies”, he says.  “A mix of research and development companies along with some high tech manufacturing.  But of course we need a starting point, and the model for that is Calgary Technologies Inc. (CTI)”.

CTI was founded in 1981, and was originally known as the Calgary Research & Development Authority (CRDA) – a partnership of the University of Calgary, the City of Calgary and the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.  In 2000 it became Calgary Technologies Inc., a not-for-profit non-governmental organization with an autonomous board of directors.  It assumed exclusive economic development responsibility for advanced technology and/or knowledge intensive industries.  Its mission: “To accelerate the success of the advanced technology community by helping companies build, grow and connect”.  It has three major areas of focus within the advanced technology sector:

  • ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
  • Life Sciences
  • Engineering Sciences

A major component in the delivery of the project outcomes must be the establishment of a physical research, development and implementation facility.   CTI opened its Alistair Ross Technology Centre (ARTC) in 2000.   Originally a 60,000 ft2 facility, it quickly expanded to 120,000 ft2, and includes smart wired offices, laboratories and common networking areas.  Since opening, the facility has:

  • Over 1,650 discoveries evaluated with more than 680 patents secured
  • Negotiated over 550 technology commercialization agreements in over 24 countries
  • Generated over $25M for the innovator community
  • Developed or assisted in the creation of over 40 spin-off companies

Says Ray Szabada:  “As you can see, to be successful this kind of project requires initial buy-in from a municipal government and a local university.   Here in the Fraser Valley, SRCTec, has developed a proposed framework for a Technical Centre of Excellence (TCE) here in Mission.  But any commitment will require financial investment by the municipal government – fortunately an investment that will pay for itself many times over the life of the project.  You have to give emerging technology companies solid reasons to locate here.  You also need more established companies on board to fund the operating costs”.

With assistance from the SRCTec group, Mission School District has launched its new entry level ICT trades program at Mission’s Riverside College (started in February 2013, see story in this issue of BIZ eNews).    This is the first of many initiatives the consortium plans to implement in the valley, all designed to generate skilled technical workers and support for local innovation and research.

Economic Development Officer Stacey Crawford is fully on board.  “This type of project really suits Mission”, he notes.  “It takes advantage of our community strengths and minimizes our weaknesses”.

At its March 21 meeting, the Mission Economic Development Select Committee approved a motion to proceed with the Technical Centre of Excellence business plan.  Part of this work will be to identify sources of funding and potential partners for the venture.  Interested individuals or organizations are encouraged to contact Mission’s economic development department for more information.

BIZ eNews will continue to report developments as they happen.