KORE Summit Success

The Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Enterprise (KORE) Summit took place from October 11-13, 2023, at Kimberley Mountain Resort, bringing together more than 120 individuals, including outdoor gear manufacturers, business consultants, academic professionals, and government representatives. Throughout the three-day event, attendees were exposed to a diverse range of topics presented by various speakers, covering areas such as product development, circular economy practices, expanding manufacturing capabilities, academia’s role in the sector, and ample networking opportunities. ETSI-BC was pleased to be a sponsor of this dynamic rec-tech industry event, which is paving the way for increased collaboration and support for rec-tech entrepreneurs.

Event Highlights

Economic Diversification

Don McCormick, Mayor of Kimberley, and a founding board member of KORE, provided the context for the Summit in his opening remarks. Highlighting the shifting landscape of the traditional resource economy, and recognizing that tourism alone cannot sustain the region, he emphasized there is a need for outdoor gear where outdoor adventure thrives, and this is where KORE fits in.

Resources for Rec-Tech Makers

Kailey Allan, representing Selkirk College’s Digital Fabrication department, showcased the resources available to local makers through Selkirk Technology Access Centre (STAC). The center offers access to advanced manufacturing technologies that can aid local businesses in prototyping new designs, improving manufacturing processes, and finding other innovative solutions to drive business growth.

New Collaborations

The recently established non-profit, Sea to Sky Outdoor Adventure Recreation Enterprise (SOARE), was present at the KORE Summit, which was formed with mentorship support from KORE. SOARE was proud to present their innovation space “Basecamp” located in the Squamish Business Park, and their “Maker Series,” which features guest speakers covering various topics to support businesses within the industry.

Sustainability and Re-Purposing

Sustainability was an important theme at the summit, with discussions centered around new technologies and circular economy models. Ferreol, a Quebec-based ski company, introduced their innovative aluminum alloy technology that significantly reduces their carbon footprint. They recently appeared on CBC’s Dragon’s Den (S18E05), where they received multiple offers for their pitch. With repairs in mind, KUMA, an outdoor camping gear manufacturer, designs products with replaceable components and re-purposable materials in mind.

The KORE Summit also featured contributions from industry leaders such as the Gear Re-Store, North America’s largest third-party repair store. They collaborate with major outdoor brands like Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Helly Hansen, Columbia, The North Face, and Fjällräven, offering repairs and refurbishments for a variety of soft gear products, emphasizing the importance of extending the lifespan of gear through care, repair, and resale.

Sharing Best Practices

Wrapping up the event was the keynote address by Phil Shellhammer, representing the University of Arkansas’ Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program. He discussed the program’s support for outdoor recreation entrepreneurs, along with their broader efforts in the Bentonville region. By collaborating with various stakeholders, they successfully developed an award-winning biking trail system that facilitated regional connectivity, resulting in population growth, economic diversification, and various social, ecological, and economic benefits.

Looking Forward

Kevin Pennock, a Co-Founder and Project Manager of KORE, is unable to contain his enthusiasm for the opportunities this group will be exploring in future. They aim to explore circular economy opportunities through the KORE ReHub, gain recognition through the “Kootenay Approved” brand, continue providing networking opportunities for manufacturers, and will keep advocating for the ongoing growth of the outdoor recreation sector in the BC economy. The future remains bright for KORE!

Thanks to Jen Comer for her help with writing this story!

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