BCIT gave a new Romanian immigrant a chance. Now tech entrepreneur Michael Bidu is inspiring the next generation of digital health innovators.
It’s fair to say that Michael Bidu is a ‘can do’ kind of a guy. The serial technology entrepreneur transplanted himself and his young family from his native Romania to Vancouver in 1993. His only contact in town was an old high school friend, and his English was “not quite perfect.”
Just two years after landing at YVR, Bidu had added a Tourism Management Diploma in Technology from BCIT to his MBA from the University of Bucharest.
Today, his digital health incubator aims to solve the world’s health care problems.
“BCIT’s training prepared me extremely well for getting in the market and to be job ready.”
Adventures in technology
If great education should inspire as well as inform, BCIT ticked both boxes for Bidu. His program was the launchpad for a stellar tech career: “Lots of pressure, lots of projects, lots of teamwork and some very good instructors. BCIT was really great for me.”
BCIT was an education in discipline and essential technical skills to complement his entrepreneurial spirit: “BCIT’s training prepared me extremely well for getting in the market and to be job ready.”
Bidu’s first post-BCIT venture was an online ecotourism company when the Internet was still taking its first baby steps. (Google didn’t exist and everyone used dialup.) Bidu was ahead of the curve: “People were like, ‘Why do we need a website? We have brochures’.”
Over the next 10 to 15 years he founded or co-founded several successful companies, earning a reputation as an innovator in BC’s growing tech scene along the way.
Finding the next generation of problem-solvers
Never one to rest on his laurels, Bidu was always asking himself, “What’s next?”
In 2009, driven by a desire to solve some of society’s most serious problems and a belief that technology holds the key to doing it, the answer was a new digital health accelerator.
Interface Health helps innovators solve health and health care problems through an annual global competition, a social network and an annual digital health summit.
Bidu’s vision is clear: “We’re trying to empower people to live healthier lives and better understand their health using smart devices, such as a smartphone, a smart car or a smart home.”
This can help put more of a focus on other areas of health care, such as prevention, treatments and cures.
It all starts with education
For Bidu, an educated and tech-savvy workforce is the key to sustaining and growing BC’s burgeoning tech sector, as well as solving problems in healthcare, manufacturing and many other industries.
“As an institute of technology, BCIT had the vision and continues to have the vision on what it needs to do to create that educated workforce that we so badly need in B.C.,” he says.
And Bidu believes BCIT is “the spinal cord of the healthcare industry,” especially taking into account BCIT’s new Health Sciences Centre: “We need to train our children for the jobs of the future—the jobs that haven’t been invented yet.”
Much more than a new building, the centre provides a progressive vision for health education, with the capacity to facilitate social and inter-disciplinary connection and dialogue.
It will help contribute to a healthier future for B.C. in more ways than one.