Strategically located on British Columbia’s Pacific coast, Vancouver is one of the world’s most liveable cities and best places to do business
Vancouver’s thriving economy, abundance of natural resources, amenities, and multicultural character culminates in the attraction of talent from across the globe. The city has the global economy at its doorstep. Today’s Vancouver is taking advantage of its ethnically and linguistically diverse population and its access to world markets, with a specific focus on Asia. Vancouver’s diverse economy is further strengthened by its rapidly growing knowledge industries, particularly in creative and green sectors. It also has a strong foundation of traditional industries: tourism, forestry, mining, transportation and logistics.
The city’s creative economy, especially film production, digital media, gaming, animation and visual effects, is expanding quickly. Vancouver offers a vibrant environment for technology, R&D and entrepreneurial development. Creative and entrepreneurial citizens make Vancouver an innovation incubator — a place where new ideas, products and services are born. Vancouver is home to many organizations that fuel the growth of the innovation ecosystem; including the Wavefront Wireless accelerator, BC Technology Industry Association’s Centre4Growth and the GrowLab Accelerator.
Vancouver aspires to be the world’s greenest city by 2020 as directed in its Greenest City Action Plan. Green sectors include clean technology, clean energy, green building, urban design, local food and environmental services. One example of how the city is actively pursuing its Greenest City goals is through the Campus-City Collaborative (C-3), where partner institutions work closely with students, academics and employers to identify the talent and training needed to support green jobs and city goals.
Vancouver’s educational institutions have global recognition and an outstanding reputation. The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University are consistently highly ranked amongst the world’s top universities. Other important institutions include the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT), Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Centre for Digital Media and Vancouver Film School.
Vancouver offers many advantages to businesses seeking to invest in a new location:
- Top international ranking for liveability and quality of life
- Highly desirable tax regime, with significant incentives to key industries
- Closest major port to Asian markets; number one North American port for foreign shipments and the only port serviced by three transcontinental railways
- Some of the lowest energy costs in North America with primarily clean energy
- Ranked in Top 10 of world’s best startup ecosystems by Startup Genome
- Priority on arts and culture, home to the highest proportion of artists in Canada
- Excellent public transportation; 85% of Metro Vancouver residents have bus stops within 400 meters of their home
- A real competitive advantage — as one of the world’s most multicultural cities, global marketing efforts gain high exposure
- Consistently award-winning international airport
- Excellent global reputation for hosting major international events, such as TED Conferences and Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Vancouver’s economic vision is focused on strengthening an economy that successfully leverages the city’s global profile and its momentum as a centre of innovation and entrepreneurship. The city’s Economic Action Strategy centers on: promoting a healthy climate for growth and prosperity, supporting local business, new investment, and global trade, and focusing on people by attracting and retaining talent.
The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) is the city’s economic development agency. It works directly with local and international businesses, all levels of government, consular corps, and institutional partners to attract and retain businesses, and expand key industry sectors. The VEC strives to strengthen the city’s economic future by helping existing businesses, attracting investment, researching the business environment and making policy recommendations.
A broad array of services and resources exists for those looking to invest in Vancouver. As an example, the Government of British Columbia offers accelerated immigration for qualified entrepreneurs who have the ability to develop a successful business. In addition, over 70 countries maintain consular representation in British Columbia, with the majority based in Vancouver.
Vancouver continues to use its many economic assets and attributes to focus on its mature and emerging sectors. Highlights include:
- Working towards the launch of the Vancouver Technology Centre, an accelerator for technological and social innovation
- A Green Enterprise Zone that nurtures innovation in globally emerging sectors like clean technology and green building
- Increased trade with emerging markets, with a focus on Asia
- Strengthening Vancouver’s creative sector by providing critical infrastructure and developing strategies that position Vancouver as a business destination
- Enhancing digital engagement and access, improving infrastructure and supporting the digital economy
- Executing actions to fulfill the city’s Transportation 2040 Plan, which aims to guide transportation and land use decisions and public investment toward a more efficient transportation system
- Promoting local innovations and innovators by leveraging global partnerships
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