Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission
The Okanagan Centre for Innovation (OCI) is a 105,000+ s.f. facility located in the heart of Kelowna’s cultural district. Led by private industry with financial support from federal, provincial and local government, the facility opened its doors in early 2017.
The state-of-the-art building houses everything from small early stage startups to large technology and innovation companies to entrepreneur support organizations like Accelerate Okanagan and BDC. It is the home to Okanagan College’s new Animation diploma program – a program created in response to strong industry demand. Inspired by the innovative campuses of Pixar, Apple and Google, the building is designed to foster collaboration and innovation by creating multiple opportunities for “collisions” between startup entrepreneurs and industry veterans.
The inspiration for the OCI was born in 2013 of a series of think-tank sessions with 24 community leaders with a mission to “build Canada’s most innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial technology community”. Using examples of communities like Boulder CO and Austin Tx, a working group comprised of leaders from industry, government and academia was tasked with turning conversations about growing the tech sectors into action and the OCI was conceived.
With financial support from the BC government and City of Kelowna, construction began in 2014 with the first tenants, BDC and Accelerate Okanagan, moving into the building in early 2017.