Accelerate Okanagan CEO set to take the helm at Innovate BC

Raghwa Gopal says he wants to secure additional capital from Ottawa for the B.C. tech sector

Raghwa Gopal takes over as CEO of Innovate BC on February 15

The Crown agency charged with facilitating development of B.C.’s tech sector has landed a new permanent CEO.

Raghwa Gopal will take the reins as president and CEO of Innovate BC effective February 15.

He currently serves as CEO of Accelerate Okanagan Technology Association but will be moving from Kelowna to Vancouver for the job.

Gopal acknowledged Metro Vancouver is often thought of as the centre of the province’s tech sector but he said he plans to bring more attention to other regions in B.C.

“I will be in a very good position to take my learnings from here and apply it on more of a province-wide basis,” he told Business in Vancouver.

“What my job to do is take the strengths they [Innovate BC] already have and then bring my expertise, knowledge and experience over the last 40 years in this space and make it a bit bigger and better.”

He said the No. 1 item ahead of him is to focus on engagement with the B.C. Tech Summit, set for March 11-13 in downtown Vancouver.

Gopal said he also plans to acquire more federal funding to benefit the B.C. tech sector.

“It will be a little bit of a challenge but I’m happy to keep that as one of my focus areas,” he said.

Shirley Vicker previously held the top job at Innovate BC, while CFO Jennie Choboter has been serving as interim CEO until Gopal takes over.

The new CEO has been a guest lecturer at the University of B.C. Okanagan and serves on the board of UBC, the India Canada Innovation Council and the Women’s Enterprise Centre, among others.

Gopal graduated from the Central Institute of Technology in New Zealand, where he studied information technology and also received degrees in computer science from Collier MacMillan School in Australia and the University of the South Pacific.