March 12, 2020
The new Quinte Technology Association (QTA), chaired by Delilah Chartrand from Nesda Technologies Ltd, was created because many business people in the Bay of Quinte region were recognizing the large and growing tech cluster in the area.
Nancy Stonelake from National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) first saw the need for tech business people to come together. She connected entrepreneurs through informal coffee meetings.
“Stonelake was part of the mindset that we have a lot of tech companies here. So she offered monthly coffee meetings in her office in the Bay of Quinte. She’d bring people in to talk with the group about government funding, for example, and then talk about growing the group. There were lots of companies that wanted to participate,” says Chartrand.
Now, the group has grown so large that it has formalized its processes and administration.
QTA Charter, Members and Partners
“We used the QMA charter and rewrote it for the QTA. Our charter sets out the rules and mission, values and approach. We noticed what was attractive with the QMA, and that it was a no-sell area. We’re keeping people in the tech field as part of our association, not people who are trying to sell to us, for example,” explains Chartrand.
With the initial support of Stonelake and the interest from other tech companies to expand and network, QTA now boasts 138 email addresses.
“Those 138 addresses include students looking for work who want to meet with tech companies, because that’s how top talent shops for jobs. They get to know people and companies they want to work for.” Says Chartrand.
Taking another page out of the QMA handbook, the QTA also encourages their members to ask for help, and recognized this isn’t always easy to do, so they created an anonymous “Ask A Member” service.
“Ask A Member is front and centre on our QTA website. Now any tech company can anonymously choose to ask questions, which is important because some people don’t want to advertise they’re struggling with something.” Explains Chartrand.
Being supportive of the tech sector is a high priority with the QTA and their partners, that include:
- QEDC – on the steering committee
- Quintevation – on the steering committee
- NRC IRAP – Stonelake’s network of professional connections continue to support each other in the tech community
- Loyalist College – on the steering committee
How Loyalist College Supports the QTA and the Tech Sector
Loyalist College is located in Belleville, Ontario in the Bay of Quinte region and is supporting the local tech sector by offering “Skills at Work” training to their students.
QEDC conducted a survey on the tech sector to find out what the region’s tech companies needed. Loyalist College was very interested in the survey results and how they could support the local tech sector by offering courses to fill the skills gap the tech companies identified.
“We have a skills gap in the local tech sector, and being able to identify what we need collectively and then have people like Loyalist College create it for us is huge.” Says Chartrand.
Loyalist College has been working on a 2-year programming certificate that will respond to the needs identified in the QEDC survey.
“Loyalist College’s deans have been working closely with us at the QTA and with the QEDC to create a new program that will support the skills needed by the local tech sector.” Explains Chartrand.
How the QTA Supports Tech Sector Businesses
<Block quote> “There’s a misconception in the tech field that we’re all competing with each other. But that simply originates from us not really knowing each other well enough. The more we get to know each other the more we’re realizing that we’re not in competition, and that there’s a great opportunity for support.” Says Chartrand.
The QTA wants to share experiences and information to support the local tech sector as a whole.
Last May the QTA attended the “MaRS Talent Marketplace ” at the Collision conference in Toronto to show people the QTA existed, and to talk with people. Several people volunteered their time to work the booth for the day. All day long people interested in relocating, and wanting to know who the QTA was, came by the booth, and businesses were very keen to learn of the association in the Bay of Quinte area.
“It’s not in the QTA charter to draw people to the Bay of Quinte area, but we see the value in that. It’s a natural outcome and supports other efforts in our area, and the local community.” Says Chartrand.
QEDC Helps Associations Like the QTA Grow in the Bay of Quinte Region
The Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) has long been available to help new and existing businesses in the tech sector. As the QTA continues to expand in eastern Ontario, QEDC is now able to help tech businesses in new ways, including as a member of the QTA steering committee.
QEDC provides administrative support to assist the QTA with planning meetings, hosting events, and maintaining the database. The member needs program is administered by QEDC, in addition to other vital communication services.
Visit the QEDC website to learn more about how your business can benefit and prosper in the Bay of Quinte. The Quinte Technology Association (QTA) is a free resource whose mission is to assist and empower technology businesses in the Bay of Quinte. Members include teachers, students and thought leaders, as well as employers and employees.
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