Our Impact

Our approach to economic development has helped hundreds of businesses grow and expand, informed significant city policies, and supported high-impact investment in our city.

Select Milestones

The following is a high-level overview of some notable achievements and initiatives, and the impact that they continue to have on Vancouver’s economy.

  • 2010 Metro Vancouver Commerce 2010 Business Program (2010 Olympic Winter Games)

    Time period: 2009–2011 Partners: Western Economic Diversification Canada (now PacifiCan); Metro Vancouver Commerce
    Significance and impact
    VEC worked with other regional economic development entities to capitalize on the investment attraction opportunity of the Olympic Winter Games. An independent review by PWC in 2011 showed that the short-term impact of this programming exceeded the program’s objectives: new FDI valued at $168.8 million, 16 deals or agreements signed between B.C. companies and their international counterparts, and 147 Metro Vancouver companies and organizations introduced to international markets.

  • 2010 First in the world to define and measure green jobs

    Time period: 2009–2021 Partners: City of Vancouver
    Significance and impact
    Leading up to the City of Vancouver’s award-winning Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP), VEC became the first in the world to define a city-level green job, along with a method to measure and track its growth and impact. Over the next 10 years of GCAP, VEC was responsible for tracking and helping fulfil two of its ten goals: doubling both green jobs and the number of green businesses in Vancouver.
    Read: State of Vancouver’s Green Economy 2018

  • 2014 Asia Pacific Centre established

    Time period: 2014–2020 Partners: Canada China Business Forum; Canada China Business Council
    Significance and impact
    VEC established APC to build and strengthen ties and business opportunities with markets, customers, and investors in the Asia Pacific Region. The APC team leveraged its deep knowledge, business intelligence and broad understanding of the political, historical and cultural contexts of Canadian and Asia-Pacific markets to educate Vancouver businesses about export opportunities, expedite FDI, and lead and receive trade delegations.

  • 2015 False Creek Flats business programming initiated (led to initiation of industrial insights)

    Time period: 2015–2018 Partners: ClimateSmart; BC Hydro; City of Vancouver
    Significance and impact
    This business programming includes the Flats Climate Action Program, Vancouver Upcycle Design Project, and eventually led to the creation of an economic development strategy for False Creek Flats. Developing the Flats Economic Development Strategy generated observations that eventually led VEC to engage and explore the needs of businesses operating in industrial zones (Industrial Insights Research report). The long-term impacts of the Industrial Insights study continue to be felt today in municipal and regional zoning and land-use policy.
    Read: The Flats Economic Development Strategy (2017) and the Industrial Insights Research report (2018)

  • 2016 Vancouver Film Commission launched

    Time period: 2016–ongoing Partners: City of Vancouver; Creative BC; MPPIA
    Significance and impact
    The Vancouver Film Commission provides services for investment intelligence and business development in Vancouver’s film and TV production industry. This includes liaises with industry associations, government agencies at the provincial and federal level, and industry executives from around the world; delivers proactive investment attraction initiatives; markets and promotes of Vancouver; and collaborated with the ecosystem to support local talent and businesses.

  • 2017 Global Skills Strategy launched

    Time period: 2016–ongoing Partners: Province of British Columbia; Government of Canada
    Significance and impact
    VEC testified before Parliament in 2016 about the potential of Vancouver’s innovative startup and technology ecosystem, and on the recruitment challenges faced by the city’s fast-growing high-tech industry. The testimony included insights from VEC’s then work-in-progress talent development strategy for BC’s tech sector. After the Government of Canada subsequently announced and launched the Global Skills Strategy in 2017, VEC became a referral partner to assess applicant eligibility for the Global Talent Stream.
    Learn more about the Global Talent Stream and whether you are eligible to hire foreign workers in high-demand occupations.

  • 2017 Amazon HQ2 bid and increased focus on FDI

    Time period: 2017–ongoing Partners: Province of BC; Metro Vancouver Municipalities
    Significance and impact
    The VEC led the region’s bid for Amazon HQ2, with the goal to expand jobs in metro Vancouver, ultimately resulting in an additional 3,000 local jobs. Furthermore, the VEC observed a four-fold increase post the HQ2 bid in the number of FDI leads over the previous year by startups, SMEs and multinational companies seeking to expand their footprint in Vancouver. In the years since the submission of the Vancouver proposal, subsequent inquiries benefited from the data collected and form developed as part of the Amazon HQ2 RFP process.

  • 2017 Capital Mentorship Program launches (replaced by Angels for Climate Solutions in 2022)

    Time period: 2016–ongoing Partners: Spring; Discovery Foundation; TD
    Significance and impact
    VEC designed this program to help for-profit entrepreneurs become more strategic in raising capital critical to accelerating their ventures. Six cohorts of entrepreneurs graduated from this program, including several recruited from specific sectors and entrepreneur profiles (cleantech, VR/AR, health and life sciences, and women in tech). Based on feedback from ecosystem partners, VEC eventually developed Angels for Climate Solutions, a new program to create pathways for angel investors to fund climate-tech startups.

  • 2018 Vancouver Digital Entertainment Careers Fair becomes largest in North America

    Time period: 2014–2020 Partners: Visual Effects Society (2014-2016); EY Canada (2018); Province of British Columbia (2018); Netflix (sponsor, 2018-2019)
    Significance and impact
    Originally founded in 2012 by the Visual Effects Society Vancouver Section (VES), VEC co-hosted this career fair from 2014 onwards before eventually taking point on its delivery in 2016. The fair focused on jobs in visual effects (VFX), animation, games development, and virtual and augmented reality, soon growing to become North America’s largest single-day recruitment event for this sector.
    Read more: Over 400 jobs up for grabs at North America’s largest digital entertainment career fair

  • 2019 Green Buildings Market Forecast research published

    Time period: 2019–2020 Partners: Discovery Foundation; OPEN Technologies; Delphi Group; Regus; PWC; Shift
    Significance and impact
    VEC’s groundbreaking study was unique in quantifying unit-level demand for green building technologies. The study laid out the market opportunity for six categories of building products that would result as a direct result from green building policies, most notably the City of Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Building Plan and the regional implementation of the BC Energy Step Code. This was further illustrated in SHIFT, an interactive data visualization tool built by OPEN Technologies.

  • 2021 Project Greenlight launches (formerly GDDP)

    Time period: 2016–ongoing Partners: PacifiCan; Foresight
    Significance and impact
    Project Greenlight (PGL) is a technology demonstration platform that seeks to match cleantech companies with opportunities to showcase their solutions while supporting transit authorities, developers, utilities and other major enterprises with advancing their innovation and sustainability agendas. To date, 13 companies have been awarded pilots across the region. Current membership includes City of Vancouver, City of Coquitlam, TransLink, FortisBC and the City of New Westminster. PGL is a regional reimagination of the successful Green and Digital Demonstration Program that facilitated access to City of Vancouver-owned assets and infrastructure to aid local cleantech companies refine and commercialize their tech and gain traction in the marketplace.

  • 2022 Zero Emissions Economic Transition Action Plan (ZEETAP) is published

    Time period: 2022–ongoing Partners: City of Vancouver
    Significance and impact
    When Vancouver City Council approved the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) in 2020, they also directed VEC to develop a complementary one that addresses prospective economic opportunities and challenges triggered by the big moves in CEAP and by the climate emergency itself. In response to this directive, VEC applied its expertise in the green economy, research and industry engagement to develop the first climate emergency economic plan of its kind.

Browse our most recent work

For more recent projects and initiatives, refer to the following: