Tech Summit Focuses on Digital Acceleration
Digital transformation is one of our favourite topics here at TechTalks, as technology is key to businesses in our region growing and succeeding.
On episode 37 of the podcast, host Cathy Simpson was joined by Calvino Anderson, founder of the Atlantic Technology Summit, to talk about the event on Nov. 16 in Halifax, with the theme ‘Fuelling your Digital Acceleration.’
Cathy and Calvino talk about how digital can unlock the potential of Atlantic Canadian companies of all sizes to compete locally and globally.
“They didn't realize the benefits,” he says. “I think now we've turned that corner where the majority of organizations understand that investing in technology is critical to their success.”
But first, before diving in deeper and discussing the summit program, Cathy got Calvino’s back story.
A roundabout road to the Maritimes
An Englishman, Calvino moved to western Canada in 2005 and has called Nova Scotia home since 2008. He’s always been interested in entrepreneurship.
“I had my first business at 17. We sold it when I was 19. I thought that starting a business was easy because that first one went really easy,” he says with a chuckle.
With that early experience and a business degree from Bournemouth University, his career has been propelled by a fascination with the processes and complexities of entrepreneurship and business.
“Every role I’ve had, whether for myself or an employer, has been around that in some way,” he says. “My passion is just helping businesses grow.”
Since 2010, he’s been with Compugen, Canada’s largest privately owned IT solutions integrator, now in the role of Regional Sales Manager.
“We help organizations with any part of their technology infrastructure,” he says. It could be as simple as a traditional reseller role, helping a client buy new servers or laptops.
“But it evolves through a series of value-added pieces,” he says, including helping clients architect and deploy solutions and doing technology roadmap and digital strategy work.
“We can do all of the pieces in between.”
Atlantic Tech Summit origins
Four years ago, Calvino and a couple of other IT workers founded the Halifax IT Technology Meetup group. It convened every eight weeks in the Seahorse tavern for a presentation by a guest speaker and interactive discussion.
Before the pandemic, they had a membership of some 1,300 members.
“The interest seemed to be there to make it a full-day event,” he says.
They struck a volunteer committee and partnered with regional tech organizations to create a live, one-day event.
The Atlantic Technology Summit was born.
A success from the start
The inaugural event in 2019 drew 300 technology leaders, industry disruptors and tech workers from across the four Atlantic provinces for a day of in-person sessions, talks and programming.
Concept validated, they kept going during the pandemic, switching to a digital format for two years. This year’s instalment, on Nov. 16 at Halifax’s Cineplex Park Lane, is a blend of virtual and live programming.
Calvino says that while there are great tools for meeting virtually, “you can't replace that human-to-human, face-to-face interaction.”
Highlights of the packed program includes a fireside chat with Dragon’s Den Dragon Michele Romanow, Co-Founder and CEO of ClearCo, hosted by Nora Young, host of Spark on CBC Radio One; a keynote address by Dr. Rex Davis, RBC’s Chief Data Officer; a panel discussion with top CIOs from across the region; and a panel on talent that includes TechImpact’s own Cathy Simpson.
Topics range from ethics and diversity to cybersecurity and quantum computing. A career fair rounds out the program of 17 interactive sessions, networking events and panels.
Blending business, technical
The Summit’s program is designed to appeal to people in both business and technical roles.
So, whether you're a CIO or CTO who’s interested in what's good for the business, or a DevOps person who wants to get into the nitty gritty of different technologies, you won’t be disappointed.
“We tried to bring both sets of people together because we think there is an opportunity to learn and share information,” Calvino says.
Small businesses welcome
Cathy and Calvino agree that it is an especially exciting time for SMBs in Atlantic Canada, and the Summit’s program has something for them, too.
“Small businesses can leverage technology to punch way above their way and add real value and grow faster,” he says.
It’s a topic near and dear to TechImpact, which launched its Digital Boost programs to help SMBs build digital strategies and roadmaps with the support of regional consultants.
A new narrative
Calvino has seen a big shift in the stories we’re telling about Atlantic Canada from when he first arrived in the region and the focus was on our aging, shrinking population and an economy largely dependent on fishing.
“That’s totally changed,” he says.
He’s feeling bullish about the region. He’s not alone.
“I think Atlantic Canada is set to become the hub of the East Coast,” Calvino says. “It’s going to just keep growing, growing, growing.”
To get your Atlantic Technology Summit ticket, click here. Student and virtual tickets are available.