Over the course of 2020, DigiBC has continued its work to strengthen the creative tech sector in the province and we are grateful for the interest and active participation of our members and the wider creative tech community -- all while many of us grappled with homeschooling, working from makeshift home offices, and separation from our extended family and circle of friends.
With your support over the past year, we are proud to have expanded our reach across Canada, partnering for the first time with other provincial industry associations to produce the inaugural Canada Games Online event. Additionally, we were able to expand our reach here in BC, delivering programs like DigiMusic and Play to Learn throughout the province. In fact, despite the challenges of 2020, we were able to make great progress across DigiBC’s three areas of focus -- Education & Programming, Government Relations and Community Building -- and encourage you to read the full list of details below. We also said goodbye to our former Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, and wish her all the best in the next phase of her career in public service. Once formally appointed, we look forward to introducing our new Executive Director in January.
In closing, we encourage you, if you’re reading this and are not already a DigiBC member or you have let your membership lapse, to sign up or renew. Together we are stronger, so join us as we continue to grow this fabulous creative tech sector in the province. Please support us to ensure a healthy future for our industry.
~ The DigiBC Team
Education & Programming
- DigiMusic Summer 2020 Program
DigiMusic exposes BC high school students to music-related careers in the video game and animation industries. Students are asked to create and submit original scores for either a video game or animation clip. Despite the struggles with COVID-19, this year's DigiMusic Challenge was a success. To celebrate the amazing music entries we received and all the hard work the students put in, we held a virtual finale event on August 12. The event included a showcase of the top entries from the young composers, along with a virtual animation studio tour and an industry Q&A. To end the event on a strong note, we had a beautiful musical performance by renowned BC musician, Tyler Shaw.
- Play to Learn (in partnership with EA and EverFi)
DigiBC continued to see interest in the Play to Learn program even in the summer months. DigiBC delivers this program outside of the Lower Mainland, inviting BC students to consider careers in Creative Technology. During the last school year, this program reached 837 students in 38 rural schools, providing more than 995 hours of learning.
- Sector Labour Market Partnership (SLMP) Project
Beginning in January 2020, DigiBC undertook a year-long research project to benchmark the creative technology industry in BC. Supported by The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, this first-of-its-kind study includes over 70 interviews with industry and academic organizations to provide a comprehensive overview of the creative technology labour and education ecosystem in BC. We look forward to sharing the report in early 2021.
- DigiBC & WIA Report on Workplace Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
In 2019, DigiBC and Women in Animation (WIA) received funding from Creative BC to deliver an industry-specific Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Strategy with a focus on creating and adapting tools for the sector. The report is the product of this collaboration and it includes key recommendations, short and medium-term strategies, and practical tips to make a successful transition into building an inclusive workplace environment for both leaders and employees. Link to full report here: https://bit.ly/2GvqbNY
Over the course of 2020, DigiBC has continued to work closely with government partners as the voice of the creative tech industry. This year, our work included specific programs to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with plans for industry recovery and rebuilding post-crisis.
COVID-19 Response: CMF Emergency Relief Funds Phase 2 (IDM)
DigiBC and our partner trade associations from across the country wrote to the Canada Media Fund and requested that they create a second fund to help studios that were not served by the first COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund. In September, the CMF created a Phase 2 Fund in September which made $10M available to Canadian IDM companies.
COVID-19 Response: IDM Business Analytics Survey (Monthly Data Collection)
DigiBC is collecting data on how COVID-19 has impacted IDM studios. Once completed, this survey data will be available to our government partners, both federally and provincially, to help inform policy decisions for economic rebuilding post-COVID.
COVID-19 Response: Revival of the CIAIC & Canada Games Online 2020
The CIAIC is a national organization that had been dormant since 2018; we revived it to access national funding to assist member organizations in supporting SMEs that are impacted by COVID-19 challenges. As a result, DigiBC has been participating in regular meetings with our provincial counterparts, as well as with ESAC. This unprecedented level of country-wide collaboration in the IDM sector led to funding from the Ministry of Heritage for the inaugural Canada Games Online 2020, an event designed to provide SMEs with training and direct connections to publishing and investment partners.
2020 Budget Consultation Report
The 2020 Budget Consultation Report was released on August 19. DigiBC presented to the committee and highlighted the request to add 5% to our IDMTC in order to support diversity hiring, something that we recognize is of priority to this administration. Research indicates that women and people of colour have been disproportionately affected by layoffs during COVID-19, and government is looking for ways to help them back to work. Our recommendation made it into the report this year.
Tech industry Roundtable with Minister Mungall & Premier Horgan
DigiBC participated in this roundtable in April and was one of six associations asked to brief the Premier. The report, Putting Innovation to Work for British Columbia: Growing B.C. Companies, outlines five recommendations focused on helping innovative B.C. companies thrive and grow, while supporting more innovation across all sectors of the economy.
Representation during the Provincial Election
We held eight meetings with six ministries in Victoria sharing our presentation requesting to enhance the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, to increase it to 25% and to provide incentives for regionality and diversity.
We also met with industry partner CEOs at the CMF, Creative BC, BC Tech and Innovate BC to align and discuss potential collaborations for 2021.
The Backpack Buddies fundraiser we held in April raised $4,000 for kids in need in BC
Created BIPOC & COVID-19 Member Resources
Sent out a weekly COVID-19 Update to share information and strategies with members (ran for 13 consecutive weeks)
01.24: F*ckUp Nights vol. 4
03.02: Animation & VFX Alliance of BC Leadership Dinner
03.12: Trailblazrs Project Celebration
08.12: DigiMusic Summer 2020 Celebration of Talent
09.09/10: Canada Games Online 2020 - Market Pulse Training
09.17/18: Canada Games Online 2020 - B2B Connect
Business Resiliency Webinar Series
05.15: PwC & BDC: Accessing Funding During COVID-19
05.20: EA & Fasken: Returning to the Workplace
06.20: DigiBC Town Hall: Assistance for Indie IDM Studios
07.09: IRCC & BC PNP Q&A Webinar (in collaboration w/Animation & VFX Alliance)
07.15: CBRE: The Changing Landscape of the Workplace
Trailblazrs is an amazing project about female funders and founders that was initiated by Gerri Sinclair, managed by Jeannette Kopak and produced by many MDM grad students. It was officially handed off to DigiBC in March.
New Members: 18 new members joined this year
New Perks & Discounts: TELUS Exclusive Pricing Program, SPUD, Fresh Prep, Navas Apparel, Sheraton Wall Centre, Kwela Leadership Training, UME Academy