UVic joins city trade mission to San Francisco

Industry partnerships, co-op opportunities and connections with alumni were top-of-mind issues for UVic representatives joining Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps’ “Team Victoria” delegation in late September. The 31-person, multi-stakeholder trade mission to San Francisco included BC Technology Minister Amrik Virk and representatives from UVic, VIATeC, Tourism Victoria and the Greater Victoria Development Agency.

“It’s an extremely important geographic area for the industry,” says Alumni Relations Director Terry Cockerline. “And our alumni are doing amazing things down there. We’ve reaffirmed those relationships with our alumni and have begun cultivating new ones.”

In addition to Alumni Relations UVic representatives included staff from Co-operative Education Program and Career Services, Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization (RPKM) and the Faculty of Engineering—as well as three faculty members, supported by Research Services.

The trip helped UVic and all of Team Victoria enhance strategic relationships within the North American high-tech industry and showcase Great Victoria’s role and potential in that sector.

“We wanted to show the city that we support their economic development plan,” explains Dean of Engineering Tom Tiedje. “We really raised UVic’s profile with city officials and leaders in Victoria’s growing tech sector.” In addition to strengthening relationships with the city, it was an opportunity to connect with potential partners and highlight UVic as technology innovators.

Cockerline explains it was partially a fact-finding mission to understand what our alumni are up to, helping Alumni Relations figure out how to better connect with and support them.

The trip was also meant to support alumni and students closer to home. Co-op and Career staff connected with a range of alumni and employer organizations to generate interest in creating new co-op positions, career opportunities and internships.

“It was an amazing networking opportunity for the city and for the university,” says Cockerline.

The mission strategically connected UVic with US companies, some of which have Canadian operations, explains RPKM Director Brent Sternig. “It puts UVic on their radar and highlights the many advantages of undertaking R&D in Canada.  This includes favorable exchange rates and numerous leverage programs companies can access,” says Sternig. This could lead to future funding opportunities for UVic faculty.

“Team Victoria” hosted events and met with individuals representing Apple, Google, Yahoo, Tesla, Rocketspace, Blumberg Capital, and The Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Also in attendance were members of Digital Moose Lounge (a group of ex-patriots who host professional development seminars and networking events) and c100 (a group of 100 Canadian angel investors who want to invest in Canadian businesses in the area).

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Keywords: administrative, international, industry partnerships

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