We need an IT industry association

I read up a bit on that group in Maine that is trying to get the government to set up a VC fund for technology firms. As I reflected on this, I once again felt the level of my frustration increase.

Did you know that for all the wild rhetoric about our IT sector in New Brunswick and how it will be a catalyst for the self-sufficiency agenda, we are the only province in Canada that doesn’t even have an IT/technology industry association? Our government officials go off wildly about attracting billions in investment and they can’t even get the basics right.

I know about KIRA (and the 50% failure rate of its winners) and I know about the e-Learning association – if it is still active. That is not what I am talking about. Cripes, don’t we have enough IT companies in New Brunswick to each pay a grand to have an actual association lobbying on its behalf? Studying talent pool issues? Looking at VC issues?

I think there have been at least two aborted attempts to get a provincial association going but I think this is tragic. If our IT industry is so small and meaningless that we can’t even cobble together an industry association (PEI’s has 47 members in a province with 1/4 the population of New Brunswick), how can we ever expect it to be a ‘catalyst’ for self-sufficiency?

Maybe we need Geeks on Ice to take over the province. They seem to be interested. I don’t care. They can wear skates to their annual meeting and force the board of directors to wear jock straps. Whatever.

We need to stop all this crap about “worst to first” and “envy of north america”. How about moving the ball slightly down the field for once. For the IT sector, an industry association would be a good first step.

By the way, when I say “industry association” I of course mean something that adds real value to the industry. Not just an annual ‘golf tournament’ or ‘meet and greet’ sessions where poor IT firms get together and try to sell each other. I am talking about an effective voice for the industry pushing out profiles, research, lobbying governments, attraction R&D, supporting infrastructure development, organizing trade missions, etc. If you want another golf tournament, I have invitations to at least 10 per year you can have.

Innovation and Technology Association of PEI
Information Technology Association of Nova Scotia
Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries
Saskatchewan Advanced Technology Association