From School to World Renowned Research Jobs all in the same city – Surrey, B.C. Canada is the place to be.
The Health and Technology District is one of BC’s most rapidly growing and dynamic new health tech sector located in Surrey’s emerging innovation ecosystem. The District includes a series of high-tech buildings located and under expansion, immediately adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital.
The District, created by BC-based developer Lark Group, is a unique cluster of large, multinational and start-up companies, international partners, clinical and research facilities, scientists, educational institutions, innovators and entrepreneurs. Most importantly, the District is where an abundance of healthcare environments, patients and clinicians are co-located, working in partnership to accelerate the implementation of technologies and solutions towards health care impacts and improvements.
Emmanuel Harley, Western Washington University student, Rowena Rizzotti, Vice President of Innovation and Technology, Arlo Virginillo and Aaron Siebenga, SFU students.
At the District, students from high school as well as university students have opportunities to meet and work with some of the world’s leading innovators in the technology sector.
Aaron Siebenga and Arlo Virginillo are SFU students and Emmauel Harley is from Western Washington University. In the field of brain research there is lots of room for innovation and these students are completing their biology, neurology and science degrees with the intention of working in the research field of neuroscience.
Our tour guide was Lark Group’s Vice President of HealthCare and Innovation, Rowena Rizzotti.
“Opening in a few months will be City Centre 2 and City Centre 3 is right across the street and then all the way up to the Skytrain station will be City Centre’s 4 through 8. Over a million square feet, 15,000 jobs with lots in the tech sector, health care sector and other industry sectors. It is growing very rapidly. City Centre 2 that is about to open is already 75% spoken for. This is the future of Surrey.”
Our young scientists really wanted to know how they could get into this building and get tied into the research and work that is being doing there. They especially wanted to know about opportunities for co-op. Rowena teased them with a new internship program, which can’t be announced yet but would offer opportunities for students to travel to Israel and learn from a nation that leads the world in entrepreneurial start-ups.
“I would suggest that you read a book called “Start Up Nation”. It is the story of Israel and how they had to be innovative to survive. One of the key points in that book is how beneficial immigrants were to the innovative process. This is very important to us in Surrey. We have a large immigration population here in Surrey that has that hunger and drive necessary for entrepreneurial thinking.“
City Centre One is the first building in the Health and Technology District. The District will have three towers all dedicated to the healthcare and sciences industry and has plans to develop eight buildings in total all within the same area.
At City Centre One there are doctors, specialists, cosmetic surgeons and research companies all having lunch together. Those doing the research can interface directly with those on the front line and in the centre of it all are students from Regent Christian Academy, a local private high school as well as students from SFU and other universities, all hands on learning from the best teachers in the world.
The Lark Group developed the Health and Technology District in anticipation of the rapidly growing health and technology sector in BC. Upon completion, the District will consist of over 1 million square feet and over 15,000 jobs, and will contribute over $1.1 billion annually into BC’s economy.
“We are working with all of our employers coming in to try to make sure that there is capacity there and that we have a hub coordinator there to help facilitate co-op programs so that we always have opportunities for students who want to come in and learn”
Aaron , Arlo and Manny were able to test a new Brain Power Score app that is designed by HealthTechConnex to help you understand brain performance, and gives you an objective indicator by combining our brain activity and task performance into a simple, fast, and robust single number – the Brain Power Score.
This app will be available to the public. With the purchase of the MUSE headset, you will be able to monitor your brain’s activity using this app. The researchers are currently running various groups of people through this system to try to find benchmarks to explore how daily habits and lifestyle behaviours may modify your brain performance and Brain Power Score.
Rowena Rizzotti wears many hats. She is the Vice President of Health Care and Innovation. She develops local and international partnerships. She is part of the Conference Board of Canada and the Council for Innovation and Commercialism. She looks for opportunity world wide to find partnerships.
The Importance of Partnerships
“There is a lot of university and learning here. This is an integrated model. What is becoming important is the blending of Health and Technology sectors is because the Health sector benefits from the technology that is coming to market and that will change and influence all the ways we deliver health care. So having all the smart people and new innovations completely embedded with the health care system, that way they can co create. They can identify the problems and the smart people can develop the solutions and they can practice it right here in this interactive environment. Partnerships are very important to the District.
This all developed out of partnerships. It was a vision out of Surrey Memorial around how we could bring innovation to health care. But in order to do that we needed to partner with the academics, we needed to partner with the research community, we needed to partner with private enterprise.
Otherwise everybody sits with great ideas in their silos but they don’t actually collaborate. Collaboration means we identify the problem, brainstorm the solution, and then co-create it.
We found that by bringing all those entities together, that is what we were able to accomplish. We also discovered that by bringing everyone together, the experience was of benefit to the individual parties. The scientist benefited because sometimes they had such a great idea but it wasn’t necessarily ready for the end user. So having input from the end user was really helpful.
We want science that has an impact so we thought that by having everyone co-create together it would be faster, the science would be successful and we could validate it more quickly. It also helps the healthcare system understand what is going on in the market and seeing the opportunities. They identify their problems and we put them together with those who are creating the solutions.
It is all built on partnerships.”
Judging by the partnerships working on this project, they have accomplished their misson. Lark Group is known for innovative thinking in building design and marketing. They have brought together groups of companies each of which merit their own article. The following are only some of the people working together for better health outcomes.
Other Business Sectors working within the Innovation Community.
The Health and Technology District isn’t just about Healthcare. They encourage other seemingly unrelated businesses to look at partnerships here.
City Centre One as the beginning of the Health and Technology District is an exciting cornerstone for Surrey’s mark on the world. Concentration on the tech sector partnered with every aspect of creative thinking and supported by engineers, scientists, and front line field work is the key to the future. The future truly does live here.
Companies currently located or partnering with City Centre One.
Feature Image: Surrey’s Health and Technology District. Credit: Lark Group/Stambol Studios
Perminder Chohan Named Executive Producer on upcoming It’s Happening Right Here documentary
Surrey, BC, March, 2020 – Perminder Chohan, has recently joined Emmy® Award Winning Director, Nick Nanton, in the filming of It’s Happening Right Here. A new documentary that sheds light and awareness on the more than 300,000 American minors being lured into the sex trade every year.
Perminder Chohan joined the Emmy® Award Winning DNA Films crew for a day of principle filming in San Diego in late January.
Perminder Chohan was on set for Nanton’s interview with Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad. Ballard and his organization will be highlighted in the film for their work in fighting trafficking, specifically in cases that involve women and children being brought into the U.S. from other countries.
He then joined the film crew for a behind-the-scenes tour of San Diego’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The Task Force Commander spoke with producers about cases involving minors who are trafficked online and through social media. Perminder Chohan got to ask questions as the Task Force Commander gave a look into how police are working to fight trafficking and child exploitation in the U.S.
An investigator with San Diego ICAC gave Perminder Chohan and his fellow producers a demonstration with one of the K-9s the task force uses for electronic detection of devices that store child pornography.
The interviews with Ballard and San Diego ICAC investigators will serve as two elements in this film which aims to give an overall view of the many ways trafficking is happening right here in the U.S.
Coming Fall 2020, It’s Happening Right Here follows the men and women who have joined together to make it their mission to rescue the millions of women, men, and children trapped in sex trafficking and make a difference in the lives of victims of this trade that is happening right here in our own backyards, in America.
About Perminder Chohan
Perminder started with Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network (DFSIN) in 2009 and now is one of the leading figures in the insurance industry. As Managing Director with DFSIN BC, he is responsible for marketing a wide selection of products and to look for new people to train in order to reach more customers, who can benefit from sound financial advice and support. Under Perminder’s leadership, DFSIN BC has become the number one office in the Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network.
Perminder manages eight offices and has personally mentored over 600 advisors. He has trained many educated immigrants to become advisors, just one more way to give back to the community, which supported him. Perminder doesn’t just limit himself to business but is also very involved in the community and charitable organizations. He supports 35 charities locally and internationally. Some of those charitable organizations are Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation and BC Children’s hospital.
Perminder’s work has been greatly appreciated by organizations such as SOAR Philanthropy, the Sikh Motorcycle Club, Surrey Food Bank and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He set up the Perminder Chohan Foundation in 2018, which supports causes in education, health and poverty alleviation. Perminder’s contributions have been recognized with many prestigious awards like Spirit of Generosity award by Drishti magazine and the Excellence in Business Leadership Award by Times of Canada magazine. He is also the recipient of the Agency Builder Award by GAMA International Agency and the NRI Person of Year for Global Leader and Philanthropy and Success in Business at Parvasi Diwas, Bharat Samman Awards 2018 held by the NRI Institute at the House of Lords, United Kingdom. Perminder has served as Rotary President and Director for the Surrey Board of Trade. He received an honorable mention by The Surrey Now- Leader for the Leader of the Year Award 2018.
Perminder has often been a guest on various media channels as well. In 2018, Perminder was chosen as a keynote speaker at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to address an exclusive leadership gathering on what he was doing to push the finance industry forward and how to make a difference in the lives of others by giving back. In the same year, he was also invited to speak on the Time Square Today Show in New York and at the FOX Network.
Drishti Media Group facilitated Perminder with the honor of the Business Person of the Year in 2019.
Perminder is an award-winning Best-Selling Author® of two books – Uncommon, co-authored with Brian Tracy and Performance 360, co-authored with Sir Richard Branson. He also co- authored a children’s book, Leo Learns about Life. His fourth book, My 10 Secrets to Success, is now out and available.
Social media handles:
About the foundation:
City of Surrey Among Canada’s Top Employers for Young People
The City of Surrey has been selected as one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People, which recognizes the nation’s best workplaces and programs for young people starting their careers.
“This award is a testament to the great work our City does to invest in young people and ensure a bright future for Surrey,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Programs like our summer hiring initiative, internships and co-op placements have helped more than 400 young people build and advance their careers each year.”
This is the ninth consecutive year that the City of Surrey has received this distinction and is the only municipality in British Columbia to be recognized with this award in 2020. Some of the programs and initiatives the City is being recognized for include:
- Providing post-secondary students between the ages of 15 and 30 opportunities to gain work experience in a variety of positions in the City of Surrey’s summer student program
- Offering a 2-year Emerging Leaders program to provide new and emerging leaders with training, education, work experience and self-development opportunities
- Helping students gain career-level experience through co-op placements and a technical student program, offering opportunities in a variety of fields, including engineering, water and sewer planning, media design and information systems
With 16 percent of the City of Surrey’s full-time employees under the age of 30, supporting our young workers is an important step to cultivating a desirable and engaging workplace.
More information on a career with the City can be found here.
CSR for SMEs: Small businesses making a big difference
CSR for SMEs: Small businesses making a big difference
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is often seen as the preserve of large enterprises. From the outside, the CSR practices of large business often appear to be thinly veiled attempts to bolster brand image and resonate with their key demographics. However, CSR doesn’t have to be a cynical affair – or exclusive to enterprises.
Those who view CSR negatively should consider whether it’s better for companies to give with personal gain in mind, or not give at all. While businesses’ images absolutely benefit from effective CSR, this is rarely immediately reflected in their bottom lines. Jaded consumers are typically unswayed by one-off demonstrations of “altruism”. Over time, however, companies which prove themselves to be ethical, environmentally friendly or socially supportive, enjoy greater longevity and brand loyalty. Businesses which do not take causes seriously, or which hope to gain from “flash in the pan” shows of charity, rarely see meaningful gains from their CSR campaigns.
The benefits of ongoing, committed CSR practices are increasingly apparent to smaller businesses, too. The beauty of charitable or socially-minded programmes is that they are incredibly scalable and versatile. Businesses of all sizes can offset the more negative effects of their daily operations in a manner which is meaningful to them – and manageable for them. Just as long term CSR projects can earn large enterprises a positive reputation (while achieving positive outcomes for charities and communities), smaller businesses can also benefit from this “win-win” situation.
CSR Case Study: Fruitful Office
To illustrate the positive impacts of CSR in a SME (Small-to-Medium sized Enterprise), we’ve stepped into the world of Fruitful Office; an office fruit delivery company, currently running a successful programme Planting Fruit Trees in Africa.
For every fruit basket sold, the company has planted one fruit tree in Malawi. This location and this project were chosen for their productivity and potential benefits. Fruit trees grow quickly in this region, maturing in 3-5 years and producing reliably abundant harvests of fruit such as guava and papaya.
Working in association with RIPPLE Africa (a UK charity focussed on projects which engage local communities in Malawi), Fruitful Office provided seedlings, instructions and training for householders, schools, community groups and farmers. In some cases, equipment was provided, empowering Malawians to grow productive trees which would help generate sustenance and potential income.
Extending the project
In 2016, Fruitful Office took its CSR project further, working to combat deforestation in Muzuzu by planting fast-growing guava, papaya and senna siamea trees (the latter is an excellent source of firewood). The project was shaped by local government forestry staff – and through consultation with the local community. By working with communities directly, the fruit delivery business has been able to develop initiatives which generate real benefits, matching the needs of local people and dovetailing neatly with the company’s offering.
With customers in Europe and the UK becoming ever more environmentally responsible (especially in the wake of global movements such as the Extinction Rebellion), companies which use natural produce stand to win custom if they can negate their use of natural resources – and evidence this. Planting fruit trees to both support Malawian communities and reduce the effects of deforestation neatly demonstrates this SME’s understanding of shrewd CSR which simultaneously benefits society and supports business growth.
Essential Agreements for Your Business
What agreements do I need for my business?
A significant part of my practice involves advising clients on which agreements best suit their business needs and goals. Whether it’s two partners looking to start a new venture, a growing business looking to fundraise, or a more established entity negotiating an acquisition, they all need agreements that will protect them from risk and allow their businesses to flourish.
A bootstrapping business may not be in a financial position to put all necessary agreements in place before they launch their business, but it is still important that they understand that investing at least some money now can protect them from potentially incurring thousands in litigation costs later.
Following is an overview of some common agreements, why they are important, and how having the right agreements in place at the right time will benefit your business regardless of the stage of growth you’re at.
Any business involving two or more owners should get legal advice on drafting a shareholders’ agreement as early in the process as possible, ideally at the time of incorporation. Starting a new venture often involves a ‘honeymoon’ period during which the owners are getting along very well and are fully engaged and bringing new ideas to the table. It is not uncommon during this stage for owners to take their good relationship for granted, not anticipating the challenges that may follow.
Business partners, especially friends and family, can sometimes get into disagreements over seemingly trivial issues which, if left to fester, can cause anxiety and further confrontations as the business grows and becomes profitable. Therefore, the key consideration for any business involving multiple owners is to ensure that the expectations, responsibilities, rights and restrictions of each owner are clearly defined in a properly drafted shareholders’ agreement.
Critical discussion points may include:
- what happens when one partner wants out of the business
- whether each shareholder will need to provide a proportional amount of investment funds when the company needs cash
- what happens to the shares on death or disability of one of the owners
- non-competition/non-solicitation clauses to protect employees and customers
- key-man insurance, which protects an owner’s family in the event of disability or death
The agreement can be designed to be as simple or as complex as necessary to minimize disputes, ensure clarity, and avoid misunderstandings between the parties, even if all parties are not in full agreement on all points at the outset. The agreement can always be tweaked in future, as the business evolves.
The absence of a shareholders’ agreement covering the most essential aspects of the relationship between the parties can allow a business to ultimately suffer from deadlock due to unresolved disagreements, and lead to costly litigation.
Also known as an NDA or a confidentiality agreement, this type of agreement is important to have in place before you communicate with any suppliers or investors who may be privy to the core secrets and data that underlie your business. Without an NDA in place, third parties are under no inherent obligation to protect or maintain confidentiality around the information received, leaving little recourse for your business in the case of a privacy breach.
This agreement should be drafted prior to engaging in any substantive discussions with such third parties. Another option to a standalone NDA may include inserting tailored confidentiality clauses into other existing agreements. Your lawyer can help you decide which approach is best for your business.
Employment / Independent Contractor Agreement
Any business hiring an employee or engaging the services of an independent contractor (also known as a freelancer) should require that the party being hired sign an appropriate employment agreement document. This protects the business not only from potentially incurring thousands in unforeseen severance obligations should the employee be terminated in future, but also protects any intellectual property developed through the course of the employee’s duties to the business.
Businesses will also want to ensure that independent contractors are responsible for self-reporting any tax liabilities to the Canada Revenue Agency, are adequately protecting confidential information from falling into the wrong hands, and that any out-of-pocket expenses are pre-approved by the business.
These agreements should be drafted and adopted prior to the hiring of the third-party, as it is very difficult to implement once the relationship has commenced.
If a business in the growth phase is looking to fundraise, either from third-party investors, friends, or family, a subscription agreement is essential to ensure appropriate compliance with securities laws.
Many private businesses are unaware of the strict securities laws governing how non-founders can invest in the business. The broad eligibility categories for any person looking to invest in your company include:
- accredited investors
- friends/family/business associates
- minimum investment threshold by an individual
If a business decides to raise money from third parties without carefully obtaining legal advice, they risk severe penalties and potentially even jail time. Before considering or accepting any external funds, ensure your lawyer is qualified to advise you of the necessary requirements under securities law that govern your business.
Tips for Good Agreements
A poorly drafted agreement can cause more headaches than it’s worth, not to mention potential litigation should interpretation of the agreement come into question. Non-lawyers should avoid drafting their own agreements, even if it may seem convenient or expedient to do so, as a variety of laws and case precedents may be applicable to the agreement and can undermine its enforceability and legality.
Having an agreement drafted by a lawyer does not automatically ensure that it is a “good” agreement. A lawyer who is not fluent in business law may provide a document that is substandard. A good agreement should demonstrate a deep and nuanced understanding of the relevant laws, be formatted clearly, and use concise language when possible without the need for extraneous legalese. It should contain a section that defines terms, which should then be used consistently throughout the agreement. For example, we often encounter capitalized terms used in agreements that lack any proper definition and for which the context remains ambiguous.
Where applicable, commercial agreements should include:
- details on the length of the term of the agreement
- renewal provisions
- clear pricing and payment provisions
- termination clauses (and identify the effect of any termination)
- data ownership/intellectual property aspects relating to the business
- appropriate indemnities to help prevent the need to go to court for enforcement
Alternative dispute resolution and jurisdiction are also important considerations that should be discussed, since they also have the potential to avoid costly litigation.
Businesses may be hesitant to incur legal fees, especially at the outset, for obvious reasons. While certain agreements can be appropriately postponed until they are truly necessary for the business, some of the essential agreements covered here are important to discuss and implement sooner rather than later to ensure your business avoids potentially costly litigation and is well-protected for the future.
Anand Athiviraham is a Senior Associate in the Business Group at Watson Goepel LLP and focuses on advising entrepreneurs at all stages of their business. He works from both the firm’s downtown Vancouver office and its Surrey location.
Three Compelling Reasons to Outsource Your Bookkeeping Work
If you’re a small business owner, you would have very likely contemplated the idea of outsourcing your bookkeeping work.
Hiring your own bookkeeping and administrative team to handle year-round bookkeeping takes A LOT of work. And this can be incredibly costly.
For example, the average hourly wage in BC to hire a bookkeeper is roughly $21 an hour. according to Payscale. As a full-time employee at 40 hours per week, you’re looking at $3,300 per month, or $40,000 a year.
On the most conservative level, this is at least 50% more expensive than outsourcing it to a bookkeeping firm – and that’s only from a cost perspective.
Below, we lay out three compelling reasons for you should outsource your bookkeeping to a bookkeeping firm:
1. Outsourcing your bookkeeping does the job at a cheaper price
As we mentioned above, outsourcing your bookkeeping can still help you accomplish what needs to be accomplished, albeit at a lower cost.
Hiring one in-house bookkeeper would cost a business roughly $40,000 per year, and that’s before any employee benefits and payroll costs like CPP & EI.
If we compare this cost to outsourcing it to an online bookkeeping firm like Rooks, you’ll see the huge difference in cost savings:
Looking at Rook’s tiered pricing model, we can see that the ‘Essential’s’ tier goes for $199 USD/month, while the highest pricing tier costs only $899 USD/month, making out to be $2,400 USD and $10,800 per annum respectively.
That means the average small business owner saves between $19,000 – $30,000 per year by outsourcing their bookkeeping!
The reason as to why bookkeeping firms are so much cheaper is simple.
As bookkeeping firms are doing the same work for hundreds of clients, they are able to build a streamlined work-flow and process that allows the bookkeeping firm to work at a much more efficient rate, an advantage called the economies of scale.
Furthermore, an in-house bookkeeper’s work is often redundant: their job often entails reconciling the books once per day, while most bookkeeping firms do it once a month (although it can be shorter depending on what the scope of work is).
This drastically increases the inefficiency rate for an in-house bookkeeper, as they have to go through the same reconciliation process thirty times more often than a bookkeeping firm that would otherwise do it once per month.
Obviously, the benefit for the small business owner here for hiring an in-house bookkeeper is that it’d then be possible to get financial data that is updated daily – but the argument is whether the additional $19K-$30K cost is worth having the daily financial data. The answer, generally, is that it’s not worth the cost for a small business owner because daily financial data is a LOT less actionable for a small business than it’d be for an enterprise.
As a small business, your opportunity cost with money is too high. The $19K-$30K cost savings could instead go into other aspects of expanding your business operations, which is probably a much better use of your money!
2. Advisory and Peace of Mind
One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing your bookkeeping work is that you’ve essentially hired a whole firm of financial experts who oftentimes know more about the numbers than you do!
Personally, at our own firm, we offer a free half-hour meeting each month, where we sit down with our clients to go over their financial statements and KPIs, as well as areas for improvement.
Our clients often bring their own financial questions which we would provide advice for, such as, “What can I do to improve my net income”, or “Why does the income statement say I have a net income for June, but my bank account has less money this month?”.
If you had to hire a financial consultant to answer these questions for you at $50-$100/hour, you would’ve already got your $200/mo money’s worth by having us answer those questions instead!
I probably don’t have to tell you why it’s important to have an advisory board for your business, but if you don’t already have one, reaching out to a bookkeeping firm for advice is already a good start. They’ll have the experience and financial expertise in different business matters that your in-house bookkeeper often wouldn’t have.
As your business grows, your bookkeeping team will need to grow along with it.
Having one in-house bookkeeper may be sufficient for now when you’re handling $10,000 in monthly revenues, but what about at $100,000 monthly revenues or $1,000,000?
Imagine the work it’d take to manage a team of in-house bookkeepers, and the risk you entail by doing so.
And not only that – but what if your bookkeeper suddenly decides to quit one day?
As you can see, there are a lot of risks and headaches involved with having an in-house bookkeeper, especially as your business scales.
By hiring a bookkeeping firm, you’re essentially letting them handle all that hassle and responsibility.
More often than not, it just doesn’t make sense for a small business owner to hire their own bookkeeper.
There’s too much work involved, too much responsibility, and too expensive.
While there are some benefits to hiring your own bookkeeper, such as daily financials, the costs and efforts of doing so are simply too high.
At Rooks, we have a team of expert bookkeepers who are able to handle your books in Quickbooks Online. We’ll take away the headache of managing your books, at a lower cost! Try Rooks now.
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