ETSI-BC Funds 36 Positions to Assist Southern Interior Businesses and Communities with Economic Recovery

May 4, 2021 | News

The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC), has provided funding to 25 different business support organizations, local governments, and First Nations communities in BC’s Southern Interior through the Rural Business and Community Recovery (RBCR) Program. ETSI–BC, formerly known as the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT) is helping deliver the RBCR Program throughout its region on behalf of the Province of BC. A total of $1.65 million has been provided to 25 communities and non-profit business support organizations.

Today, the list of partners deploying Recovery Advisors with this funding has been released and includes six First Nations and local government economic development groups, 13 Chambers of Commerce, five Community Futures organizations, and two industry groups. Thirteen of the delivery partners are based in the Thompson-Okanagan and Fraser Valley regions and twelve organizations serve communities and businesses in the Columbia-Kootenay-Boundary.

“This funding provides an opportunity for our partners to hire a specialist to work in every part of our region and assist with economic recovery,” said Laurel Douglas, CEO of ETSI-BC. “Our team was able to move swiftly when we were allocated the funding in March, to launch an intake process, review the proposals, select the successful proponents, and execute the agreements. Now, these partners are starting to hire their advisors to begin the all-important work of helping rural communities recover.”

The funding is part of the Province of British Columbia’s StrongerBC Plan, and it is focused on helping rural communities of less than 25,000 residents. Applicants were required to be First Nation, local, municipal, or regional governments, or non-profit business support organizations. The grants will help fund a mix of 36 full- and part-time contract positions for about a year.

One of the ETSI-BC Business & Economic Development Consultants assisting with the grant roll-out is Renata King, who works with partners in the Columbia-Shuswap, Thompson-Nicola, Okanagan, and Similkameen regions. “The RBCR funding will be a catalyst for economic recovery and best-practice sharing,” noted King.

Echoing her views of the unique opportunity for rural community organizations to play a role in economic recovery is Paul Wiest, based in Nelson, BC, who works with partners in the Columbia, Kootenay, Boundary, and Fraser Valley regions.

“These Recovery Advisor positions will be important tools to help rural communities and businesses rebuild and rebound,” said Wiest. “The hands-on work of these advisors will provide a wealth of supports in communities, from marketing and e-commerce expertise to referrals and research. It’s all about building capacity within our rural Southern Interior communities.”

Here is a full list of the RBCR funded partners:

  • Accelerate Okanagan Technology Association
  • Armstrong-Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce
  • Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce
  • CFDC of Okanagan-Similkameen
  • City of Merritt
  • Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Community Futures DC of Central Interior First Nations
  • Community Futures Development Corporation Thompson Country
  • Community Futures of Central Kootenay
  • Fernie Chamber of Commerce
  • Kaslo Board of Trade
  • Kootenay Employment Services
  • Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Society
  • Lake Country Chamber of Commerce
  • Lumby & District Chamber of Commerce
  • Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce
  • Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce
  • Salmon Arm Economic Development Society & District of Sicamous Development Corporation
  • Shuswap Economic Development Society
  • South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce
  • Stó:lō Community Futures Corporation
  • Summerland Chamber of Commerce
  • Trail & District Chamber Commerce
  • And one other First Nations partner

“We’re excited to work with these organizations to help rebuild the economy of the Southern Interior,” reflected Douglas. “We will use this opportunity to build a network of business support organizations in our region to encourage collaboration and sharing of best practices as we all work toward our common goal of helping businesses and communities in our region to thrive. We would like to thank the Province of BC for demonstrating its confidence in ETSI-BC, asking us to deliver this program in our region on their behalf.”

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