Why Canada Needs More Groups Like the York Technology Association

I had the distinct honor and pleasure of being officially sworn in as the new volunteer Chair of the York Technology Association on June 17, 2010. It was during our first-ever Technology Leadership Awards.
Canada needs a strong business sector in order to grow and prosper but more importantly we need a strong tech sector. If we are going to compete as a country, everything we do has a technological element to it. We can either buy it from other countries or we can invent it ourselves. The cool thing about the tech sector is that you don’t have to rely on natural resources or where you live to create game-changing technology. Technology levels the playing field and in doing so, creates opportunity for every business and every sector in Canada. We need to step up and take notice.
For 27 years the YTA has been helping small medium and large companies in the tech sector to commercialize their products or services and build their businesses. At the start of the 2010 AGM on June 17th, we were able to announce our highest-ever membership count – 225 companies are now members of YTA representing more than 18,000 employees and they invest millions of dollars in technology research and development. But this only scratches the surface. We need more support for these businesses and more involvement from everyone.
The YTA is on a mission and that mission started with changing the name from Association to Alliance. The YTA wants to knit together the greater Toronto community to help the tech sector grow.  From peer-groups to boot camps, the YTA wants to bring together the resources that an entrepreneur or tech company owner needs to solve the problems in their business and take it to the next level. Its more than networking: it’s economic gardening. People coming together to see how resources from one company can be used to help another.  As an example, the YTA ran its database at a member company in order to minimize hosting costs and ensure a high level of security. This type of arrangement means costs get reduced from one organization and expertise is developed at another.
While accepting her award for Start Up of the Year, Krista LaRivierre, CEO and Co-Founder of gShift Labs noted, “as an entrepreneur, there are a lot of resources available to you. All you have to do is ask. This is my third start up and every time we have turned to the YTA to get advice and expertise that has helped make our business successful.”
We’re good at this in Canada – helping. But we need to be more organized and diligent so we can do it more often.  The last time I checked, and I check often, it was the small and medium-sized business sector creating growth opportunity in Canada. Support at this level means it isn’t long before we can catapult the next Open Text or RIM to global fame and fortune. This means jobs, wealth and competitive advantage for all Canadians. iPhones are cool, but I still use a BlackBerry because something born and raised in the Canadian tech sector is good for Canada.
The YTA is a helping organizations and committed to economic gardening. If you’d like to get involved, email me or go to yorktech.ca. Support a group that is supporting Canada’s competitive advantage.

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