A look inside Kelowna's new Innovation Centre

A state-of-the-art building that was modeled after visits to Apple and Google headquarters has officially opened in Kelowna.

The $35 million Okanagan Centre for Innovation boasts several features, including open and bright work spaces for collaboration, digital media labs, a ceiling atrium and rooftop park, an 18-foot high plant wall and even showers for bike commuters.

During the grand-opening today, Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan, said the new building will be the catalyst of even more growth in Kelowna's tech sector.

“This fast growing industry has an economic impact of $1.3 billion in the local economy here” he said “we are proud to be a community that is home to over 630 tech. companies employing over 7,600 people”

The 6-storey building, located at Doyle Avenue and Ellis Street, has already been home to several tenants, which range from two-person start-ups to large technology and innovation firms, for over a month.

Most of the funding for the project was provided by the Kelowna Sustainable Innovation Group, with $3.4 million having come from the Government of Canada and $6 million from the province. The city leased out the $2 million property.

Mayor Colin Basran said the local tech sector is the fastest growing economic driver in the region.

“This project will have a significant economic impact on our community and really puts us at the forefront of technological innovation in Canada,” he said “The progressive thinking behind this concept and building design, combined with the right location, add up to a really exciting development in Kelowna’s evolution.”

The new centre is the third-largest dedicated technology hub of its kind in B.C.