XLRator’s 3rdAnnual Fraser Valley Tech Forum in Chilliwack a Huge Success with Captivating Talks, Panel Discussions, Keynotes and New Partnerships

XLRator hosted its 3rdAnnual  Fraser Valley Tech Forum in partnership with Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation. As one of the biggest tech and business event in the Fraser Valley, it brought together leaders and entrepreneurs of top companies in Canada. With around 200 attendees, the event was filled with eager members of the Fraser Valley founders, business organizations, and tech community ready to hear from the impressive lineup of highly experienced and knowledgeable speakers and panelists.

The theme of the event was ‘Funding and Workplace Development for Fraser Valley Startups and Tech Companies’. With over 20 speakers, 6 lightning talks, 3 panel discussions, and finale live pitch competition, every minute of the event was filled with great takeaways.

To acknowledge the Stó:lō First Nation territory, Sonny Mchalsie, an elder from the community, brought greetings to the attendees and shared the history of the original people of the land.

The event kicked off with high energy as Brenda Slauko, from BDC, and Nicola, from Furturpreneur, engaged in a Fireside Chat to discuss how organizations like BDC & Futurpreneur support local technology & innovation.

“Launch, get it [product] into people’s hands, and go from there.” stated Whim Kerkhoff as he shared his story on how he launched Kerkhoff Technologies. Fellow speaker, Anna Chan supported his statement in her lightning talk as she stated, “Put [your] product out first, test it, and then go from there”.

Sharing their company’s journey, Carl Schmidt from Unbounce and Ashley Joslin from Left Travel provided the audience with great advice on what helped their company grow.

“We’re helping the world experience BETTER marketing, not just more marketing.” states Carl Schmidt as he spoke on how Unbounce pivoted their focus from enabling their customers to create more marketing content rapidly to increase their customer’s conversion rate.

Ashley Joslin shared insights from her Journey with Left and how the company scaled. “80% focus is on what we do now and 20% focus is on innovation and what we need to do next” was the well-received advice Ashley gave to entrepreneurs in attendance. Rocky Ozaki, founder of NoW Academy and NoW of Work Inc. touched based on a similar subject amongst many incredible insights as he spoke on ‘Building a Culture of Innovation in Your Company’.

Understanding the importance of employees within any organization, Tracy McDonald from Left Technologies led a panel discussion featuring Stephen Pasiciel, Meghan Delmage, and Dr. David G. Harper about trends, practices, and innovations when it comes to attracting, hiring, and retaining rock star employees.

With a focus on raising capital for the startups, the event provided knowledge and tips to successfully raise funds from our knowledgeable speakers such as Keith Ippel from Spring Activator, Diraj Doel from GetFresh Ventures, and, keynote speaker, R. Stewart Thompson from Valhalla Capital and Old Kent Road Financial.

The audience were exposed to different grants and incentives for startups and businesses with a panel discussion led by Davis Chiu from Deloittel featuring Minal Shankar from Easly, Mehran Salimian from BDC, Yaser Roshan from Mitacs, and Cliff Mui from NRC-IRAP. “Make sure you are using all the resources available to you” Minal Shankar stated.

John Diack, mentor and founder of several successful ventures gave a powerful presentation on the advantages of getting a mentor early on in the startup journey. “Get a mentor, it’s the best thing I have ever done” he stated as he encouraged entrepreneurs and other professionals to improve their leadership skills in order to manage and motivate employees successfully.

The event culminated with a live pitch competition finale where 4 early stage companies showcased their products, ideas, and business opportunities. Chilliwack-based Greenhouse Games led by Kalvin Marrow won the finale and bragging rights as the first ever winner of Fraser Valley Tech Forum Pitch competition.

“Since our inception, XLRator has aimed to build a strong, thriving and connected tech ecosystem in the Fraser Valley through events, programs and resources for startups, founders and established businesses . The recent Fraser Valley Tech Forum in Chilliwack was able to bring together tech and business community to network, have discussions, and learn from leaders in the tech industry with active participation of almost 200 attendees at the Forum. We are very proud to be supported by local industry, regional municipalities, businesses, and services organizations in elevating the tech scene and growth of tech ecosystem in the Fraser Valley. As XLRator launches new programs in the coming year for entrepreneurs and investors within the Region, we are very positive on the outlook of the Fraser Valley to leverage the digital and knowledge based economies.” said Raymond Szabada, CEO and Chair, XLRator.

All in all, this year’s event left a mark on the fast growing tech sector in the Fraser Valley and showcased the best of tech insights and leadership advice.

XLRator would like to thank its partners, sponsors, exhibitors, and volunteers  who helped make this event a huge success.

We’re excited for next year’s event and thrilled by the excitement and growth of the community around us as we continue to foster growth and innovation! See you next year!