Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella are both backing BC’s new agreement with Washington state to create a new tech hub.
Gates and Nadella are in Vancouver for the Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference, focusing on creating a new global hub for innovation and technology.
Earlier in the day, BC Premier Christy Clark and Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed an agreement committing their governments to work closely together.
The creation of the Cascadia Corridor will see Vancouver and Seattle take joint action on research, education, workforce development, transportation and investment.
Gates said Canada is well positioned to lead global innovation, in part due to its policies on refugees.
“Canada has more enlightened immigration policies than most countries have,” said Gates, to attendees of a fireside chat on Tuesday.
“It’s exemplary of the kind of values and investments that will help us drive innovation and benefit from it.”
Meanwhile, Nadella said he could not be more excited about the new tech corridor and the work Microsoft is already doing in Vancouver.
“It’s the human capital of this region that’s going to make a fundamental impact,” said Nadella. “This dialogue is great timing, it’s great for us and I think it’s great for the region.”
Nadella says Microsoft would like to build a strong partnership with UBC, and help connect UBC with the University of Washington too.
“Commitment to core research and partnerships with universities are really important,” said Nadella. “That long view is what’s needed.”
Nadella also said encouraging an innovation culture was crucial to long-term success in the tech industry.
“Learn it all will trump know it all,” said Nadella. “It puts the onus on every individual…Each one of us are really confronting our fixed mindset… That’s what we aspire to.”