Fostering Entrepreneurship at Post-Secondary Institutions in 2024

Public post-secondary institutions are an important part of a region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) has supported the 6 public post-secondary institutions (PSIs) in the Southern Interior of BC since 2008 with funding of over $7.3 million. That funding has helped support trades programming, co-op education, a medical school, bursaries and scholarship for students from around the region to build their skills and help them get employed locally.

More recently, ETSI-BC funding is provided to encourage entrepreneurship, support work-integrated learning initiatives and promote research partnerships and technology transfer.

For the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, ETSI-BC has approved funding of $105,000 to support each of the 6 public post-secondary institutions in our region to deliver projects which will help students to become better employees or entrepreneurs. These projects were funded as part of ETSI-BC’s Strategic Pillar of Developing Human Capital. Below are the details of the projects supported in FY2024:

InstitutionProjectETSI-BC FundingProject Summary
College of the Rockies &
Selkirk College
Kootenay Youth Entrepreneurship$32,500Provide business creation and development resources for students, staff and local entrepreneurs, in partnership with KAST, the local tech accelerator.
Nicola Valley Institute of TechnologyCo-op Employment Preparation$12,500Help students to develop pre-employability skills and participate in a 4-month work placement with employers, who will receive a wage subsidy through the co-op program.
Okanagan CollegeWork-Integrated Learning Preparation Workshops$20,000The Okanagan College Careers Hub will develop a series of online workshops for Co-op students and employers that will prepare both students and employers for Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Co-op education opportunities.
Thompson Rivers UniversityTourism Innovation Lab$20,000Students will develop an innovative tourism venture based on their research and with the support of  industry mentorship.
UBC Okanagane@UBC Support$20,000Students, staff and recent graduates will  benefit from training and mentorship support as they explore start-up ideas and build connections within the Okanagan innovation ecosystem.

“We’re thrilled to support these projects and convene the region’s public post-secondary institutions around these themes. Our mission at ETSI-BC is to support economic development projects that will have long-lasting and measurable impacts throughout the Southern Interior region,” says ETSI-BC CEO Laurel Douglas. “These post-secondary initiatives will help strengthen economic development ecosystem by helping grow the local skilled talent pool and supporting innovative new ventures in our region.”

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