We asked the fine folks running our city to sum up the Innovation Partnership Zone. Here’s what they sent us:
The Vancouver-Camas Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ) is a collaborative effort to grow the applied digital technology cluster in our region. The IPZ fuels economic development by connecting entrepreneurs, startups and global enterprises to each other, with workforce training, business assistance, and local talent. It will significantly boost the region’s ability to grow a knowledge-based economy and enhance jobs and business opportunities. The IPZ is focused on two geographic areas: the Downtown start-up community and technology campuses along the 192nd corridor.
Want to join the more than 30 businesses and organizations that are already IPZ partners? Check out the website to learn how- www.ipzgetin.com,
This story is in response to a recent twitter exchange where I was asked, “Why Vancouver?”
First and foremost, I moved my company’s headquarters from Las Vegas to be closer to family and because the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place with great values for raising kids. So before this post sounds like it’s a bash on Portland, let me start by saying I love Portland and the entire metro area. Great people, amazing culture, and a place I fell in love with when I first visited here for business many years before considering relocating. I am a fan of Portland tech companies and I venture into town often and I always enjoy myself there.
Now, on to “why Vancouver”.
Originally, I assumed we would open offices in downtown Portland. But, in the spirit of due diligence, I reached out to both Portland and Vancouver economic development centers. The Vancouver office gave us infinitely more attention and they were very hungry to attract a small company like ours. We didn’t actually hear back from Portland. Probably an oversight, but it did feel good to be wanted so badly by Vancouver.
Next, I did a cost of living comparison. The Vancouver and surrounding area is listed as being on par with Las Vegas which is roughly 10% less than that of Portland (this was January ’14). Moving to Vancouver saved me COLA adjustments. +1.
My next test was to look at rent for our offices. We have ended up with a space that is cheaper per square foot than Vegas and probably a 1/2 of the cost of numbers I’ve seen for Portland. I got a great deal -mileage may vary. Still, non-personnel costs are not a huge part of my business expense (my people are by far).+.5
I decided to visit Vancouver’s economic development center (CREDC). They took me around, introduced me to other tech companies, and even passed us business leads (tech ed is one of our focuses). The other entrepreneurs I meet seemed like-minded and close nit. +1
I also looked at the schools. Both sides of the river have great schools, but the Washington side benefits from smaller class sizes. Schools are great recruiting tools for out if state devs (like those that are done with the Bay Area).
But I wasn’t convinced. My business requires that I can recruit talented people and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to recruit Portland folks to Vancouver. I put out two cloned job descriptions and controlled for location (Vancouver Downtown vs. Portland Downtown). Given all the other positives, I decided that the break even point would be near 80% (meaning I gave Vancouver a 20% handicap). The position I posted for was Senior Web Developer and to my surprise, I not only had more volume in Vancouver, I actually had better quality. I was shocked. That was the final test and the rest is history. +1
We’ve been in Vancouver for four months now and we haven’t looked back. Vancouver has a growing tech scene and we look forward to growing along with the success that Portland is finding.
Startups and technology companies are good at many things but they aren’t good at having lots of free time. But even the busiest entrepreneur needs to have lunch. In this event, a mentor and mentee (or multiple mentees) agree to meet for lunch one or more times. Support your local restaurant, coffee shop, or brewery by meeting downtown.
Whether you are a mentor looking to contribute some time or a mentee looking for advice, contact us at ericp
The Vancouver Tech Project is a self-organized, open community focused on bringing together like-minded technology professionals, enthusiasts, and investors in and around the Vancouver Washington IPZ (Innovation Partnership Zone).
We support local technology companies by providing:
Most importantly, the Vancouver Tech Project is YOU (yes, I’m talking to you)!
If you want to know how to get involved, there’s no need to send us an e-mail (although you can). There is no single person to meet who will let you in. Start by coming to a Vantechy meetup, find others, and start something. If this still doesn’t seem clear, allow us to give you a story.
Susan lives in Vancouver. She wants to get involved with technology after hearing that her cousin built an app for the iOS. She decides to head to a Vantechy event and meets four other people that have similar interests. Together, they decide to set a regular co-working event on Monday nights. They e-mail the Vancouver Tech Project who spotlights their group, adds the event to the event calendar, and others join their group. Suddenly Susan realizes that her idea has created a new passion and new friends. She gets a job based on her experience and aspires to someday start her own company.
The Vantechy meetup is a bi-weekly event that is the heartbeat of the #VancouverTech Project. The event starts at 8:00. At 8:30, three 15 minute “breakout” sessions will entertain and educate you on topics important to tech startups. If you would like to present at a Vantechy meetup, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.