A New Chapter
After 16 years as the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, we are pleased to share that from this day forward, SIDIT will be known as ETSI-BC, the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior.
“This simpler name clarifies our mandate and signals our new direction and fresh approach. It aligns us more closely with the other Economic Trusts in the province, serving the North and the Island-Coastal regions”, says Laurel Douglas, CEO.
And it’s not just a name change. Since stepping into the role in May 2020, Laurel and her team engaged with more than 400 stakeholders from 15 diverse stakeholder groups to understand their priorities and needs, and to identify ways that the Trust can contribute to their success.
With that valuable input, the Board developed a new set of Strategic Pillars, and the team carried out a full review and overhaul of the organization’s funding programs and business processes.
A New Approach
With a new team in place, the next chapter of ETSI-BC has now begun. The recent announcement of the Rural Business & Community Recovery Program funding from the Province of BC is aligned with the new direction at ETSI-BC.
“ETSI-BC is committed to collaboration with the economic development practitioners, business and innovation support organizations, industry groups and post-secondary institutions in the region. We will provide value to the economic development ecosystem in the Southern Interior in many new ways.” says Douglas.
How? By using our grant funding and by acting as a catalyst to help build economic development capacity, especially in the region’s smaller and First Nations communities. We will also work with our partners to support business resilience, innovation and growth, to develop human capital and entrepreneurship, and encourage key sector development and the shift to a Net Zero economy.
We are making funding available to communities, First Nations, local governments, and non-profit business support organizations to help recover from the impact of the pandemic, and to help communities realize their economic development aspirations.
We look forward to working with our stakeholders, so together we can build a stronger economy and stronger communities in the BC Southern Interior.
New ETSI-BC Funding Opportunities
The new Strategic Pillars lead to a new approach to the grant funding that ETSI-BC will provide. The four main ETSI-BC funding streams are:
Building Economic Development Capacity
The Economic Development Capacity stream provides funding for economic development projects in smaller and rural communities in the Southern Interior region as well as collaborative and regional economic development projects between communities, First Nations and local governments.
Supporting Business Resilience and Growth
The Business Resilience and Growth stream provides funding for communities and non-profit business support organizations to ensure that businesses throughout the Southern Interior have the support to be competitive, adaptable, resilient and sustainable.
Developing Human Capital
The Developing Human Capital stream adds value to the economic development ecosystem by facilitating collaboration & sharing of best practices. Funding is provided to invest in educational programming, at post-secondary institutions, that is focused on practical business application.
Innovating and Advancing Key Sectors
Through this stream, ETSI-BC will support initiatives in that drive business growth, stimulate innovation and advancing key sectors, while also encouraging transition to a Net Zero economy in the region.
As of March 10th 2021, there are two open funding intakes. Starting April 1, 2021, there will be numerous intakes launched throughout the year.
Beta Test our Grant Application Portal – Intake deadline March 30, 2021
Building Economic Development Capacity Grants – $300K available
Rural Business and Community Recovery Program – Intake deadline March 19, 2021
Meet the Team
Laurel Douglas – CEO
Laurel joined the Trust as its CEO in May 2020. She spent more than 15 years leading Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC), which supports women entrepreneurs throughout BC, where she raised its profile and brought it national and international acclaim. Prior to that, she spent 16 years in the technology sector in Canada and Europe. She was the founding Executive Director of the tech accelerator now known as Accelerate Okanagan. Laurel was named Business Leader of the Year at the 2020 Kelowna Chamber of Commerce annual Business Excellence Awards.
Paul Wiest – Nelson
Based in Nelson, Paul Weist has worked extensively in the field of business and economic development with organization such as Community Futures Central Kootenay, GO Productivity, the BC Chamber, Nelson & Area Economic Development Partnership and Community Futures BC. He is now the Business & Economic Development Consultant for ETSI-BC, serving the Columbia, Kootenay and Boundary regions plus the part of the Fraser Valley RD that is in our territory.
Renata King – Vernon
Renata King is a business and economic development specialist having worked throughout the province and Western Canada with BDC, and across northern BC with Northern Development, ETSI-BC’s sister organization. Renata is based in Vernon and joined the team at ETSI-BC in October 2020 as a Business and Economic Development Consultant, serving the Columbia-Shuswap, Thompson-Nicola, Okanagan and Similkameen.
Aleece Laird – Kamloops
Aleece Laird is a communications and engagement specialist who lives and works in Kamloops, on the traditional territory of the Secwepemc Oola. Aleece created Amplify Consulting Inc. in 2016, which specializes in leading purposeful stakeholder engagement and community consultation. Aleece began working with the team in July 2020. She is the Community Engagement Consultant, liaising with ETSI-BC stakeholders in the Thompson-Nicola and throughout the ETSI-BC region to help them access funding to amplify their economic growth and recovery.