Data is a vital tool to help make better decisions for economic developers, organizations, communities, and regions. It allows for evidence-based decision-making about important issues such as: where to put time and effort, how best to support current and new projects or businesses, and which projects are the most important at any given time. Good data helps measure the impact of these decisions over time too.
ETSI-BC understands the importance of data in telling the stories of our region, and is committed to supporting individuals, organizations and communities to use data to their advantage.
Regional Data Platform
The ETSI-BC regional data platform helps tell those stories by providing a regional context in terms of data on population size, labour force, industry sectors and business counts that can be used to complement community-level data and provide context. This platform can also be used to support funding applications (i.e. growing population may justify a new need), to provide relevant data to attract developers (i.e. seniors housing) or to support private sector businesses seeking a new location with specific demographics.
Supporting the Region’s Data Appetite
During the 2020 ETSI-BC consultations with stakeholders, the need for help accessing and using data was identified. To help the practitioners throughout the Southern Interior access and utilize data more effectively, ETSI-BC also commissioned two data webinar training series in 2022 and 2023.
Both webinar series were developed and delivered by Community Futures East Kootenay with a focus on supporting smaller and rural communities. In total, more than 500 participants from all corners of the Southern Interior took advantage of the 10+ sessions of training, which was a resounding success.
“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” ~ Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP
Outcomes of Using Data to your Advantage Webinars
The first webinar series was hosted in early 2022, facilitated by the knowledgeable CED Coordinator af CFEK, Robyn Peel. The webinars provided a strong introduction to the concepts, a helpful resource document for anyone to use, and featured numerous experts from around the region.
Finding data can be a challenge for smaller communities, so guest speaker Jayme Jones from the State of the Basin spoke about the data that is available and how to use it. Participants then learned from Dr Sarah Breen from Selkirk College about how to look to fill data gaps through primary research tools such as surveys and interviews as well as looking for proxy data. Mike Stolte of the CIEL ensured everyone knew how best to tell their story with the data they had.
Data 201 Topics and Insights
In Spring 2023, the second webinar series brought together a community of practice by highlighting examples from around the Southern Interior. Participants learned how data could help drive economic and tourism strategies. Communities such as Salmon Arm, Grand Forks, Hope and Creston shared how they are using data to support planning and decision-making for housing and labour market needs, disaster planning and recovery and how they are accessing data to measure economic and event impact. Recordings of these inspiring presentations can be found on the ETSI-BC website.
“This entire series is helping me develop my new role further and building a strong foundation for upcoming and future projects.”
~ Data series participant
The feedback from the two series has been incredibly positive, with more than 90% of participants rating each session at least an 8/10, and almost half of those rating the sessions with a 10/10. High praise for a topic some would consider a bit dry!
As a result, ETSI-BC has again engaged Community Futures East Kootenay and the intrepid Robyn Peel, their CED Coordinator, to roll out the introductory training session again in early 2024. This new and improved series will allow even more individuals and organizations across the region to use data to their advantage, and connect with a community of others who value data-driven decision-making and storytelling. These linkages with other practitioners are vital to strengthening the fabric of collaboration in the BC Southern Interior, and helping all our region’s communities succeed.
More information about the 2024 Data Series will be shared in December 2023. Make sure to sign up to be part of this growing community of practice!