ETSI-BC was pleased to fund a project spearheaded by the Kelowna Chamber to bring together practitioners to produce the Southern Interior Regional Economic Summit (SIRES). The Summit took place in Kelowna Oct 23-25, 2022, with the theme of “Elevating our Potential Together”.
The highly successful event brought together economic development professionals from across the Southern Interior region. Over 120 attendees were hosted by the Kelowna Chamber to learn from thought leaders, share insights on sustainable economic strategies and begin to explore a framework for region-wide collaboration.
The Summit was opened with the release of the MNP State of the Southern Interior Report commissioned by the Kelowna Chamber and supported financially by the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC). This report provides a current economic overview of the region, with detail on the Okanagan, Kootenay, Thompson-Columbia and Hope/Fraser Valley that are within the ETSI-BC service area. The report reviews key aspects of each sub-region, including demographics, industry housing and affordability. Looking at the Southern Interior as a whole through these lenses provides great value to economic development practitioners, local government officials and businesses throughout the region and helps us realize how a regional perspective is important in our work.
With this timely economic data, lively discussion ensued, addressing opportunities and strengths across the Southern Interior, as well as areas that practitioners need to work harder on, including economic recovery through reconciliation. Our thanks to the folks from Moccasin Trails Inc., Westbank First Nation, Tk̓emlúps Business Economic Development, Osoyoos Indian Band and Kakin Resources Group who shared their views, experiences and advice so candidly and openly in those discussions, which were the highlight of the Summit for many.
The importance of collaboration and economic recovery was evidenced throughout the Summit, which included expert panels on tourism recovery, labour force recovery, economic recovery through reconciliation and recovery through collaboration. By bringing together regional partners, the stage has now been set to continue these meaningful partnerships and accelerate region-wide economic growth. We look forward to supporting future initiatives to take this excellent first step even further.
ETSI-BC, the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior, was created in 2006 with a $50 million endowment to assist in the growth and diversification of the economy of the Southern Interior of BC. The Trust is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors, receiving input from Regional Advisory Committees made up of elected officials from both the Thompson-Okanagan and Columbia-Kootenay regions. We add value to the economic development ecosystem and provide funding for projects in four key funding streams: