Food and beverage processing is among Canada’s fastest growing sectors and is making an impact in BC’s Shuswap region. In 2021, the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society launched the Zest Commercial Food Hub to support its food entrepreneurs with shared access to workspace, equipment, mentorship, and research. Zest has expanded quickly, and a second growth phase is underway, helping more producers and processors innovate and thrive.
Here are some regional success stories to inspire your next economic development project.
Supply chain issues are challenging companies around the world and the Kootenays’ Lower Columbia region is no exception. Working with economic development partners across the West Kootenay, the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation is leading a project to ensure a comeback from the economic slowdown and more resilient supply chains in the future.
If you are researching the Kootenays as a place to live and work, it won’t be long before you land on the Imagine Kootenay website. For nearly two decades this information portal has attracted businesses and workforce talent, mainly from within the region. With a new strategy targeting investment from across Canada, Imagine Kootenay is ramping up its business attraction strategy to ensure long-term growth and competitiveness.
Building a Robust Network of Economic Development Professionals in the Columbian Basin/Boundary Area
As the Columbia Basin/Boundary Region experiences significant growth and change, support available from economic development professionals in the area is also evolving. The Economic Development Practitioners Network is leveraging the skills and expertise of its members to ensure communities throughout the region can access the resources they need to achieve their economic goals.
The Economic Trust of Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) is delighted to announce the eight successful grant recipients that will receive funding in 2022 through its research funding partnership with Mitacs.
The Interior Logging Association is a powerful voice for forestry on government policy and decision-making in BC’s Southern Interior region, and its impacts extend to foresters throughout province. The industry has experienced significant challenges in recent years, due to floods and wildfires, worker shortages and the need for companies to diversify. To address this the ILA has launched an innovative business support program to help its members stabilize, diversify and grow.
The Wells Gray Park Visitor Centre, located in BC’s largest wilderness park in the Interior of the province, is the touchpoint for all the Park has to offer, and a vital link between visitors and businesses in nearby communities. By 2021, however, pandemic restrictions and natural events had devastated the area’s tourism economy. With support from ETSI-BC, the Visitor Information Centre created a new five-year plan to rebuild and sustain tourism in the area.
Two new offerings at Selkirk College are building workforce talent in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region. The first program helps students in tech programs to develop critical thinking skills and explore entrepreneurship. The second project allows students to learn by doing as they use their technical skills to help local outdoor recreation gear manufacturers.
Less than two years since the Applied Research Office opened at College of the Rockies, its value has been well demonstrated as students use their research skills to solve real-world problems in businesses and industry. With funding from ETSI-BC, the Office has expanded to help students develop their entrepreneurial skills by exploring their big ideas and turning concepts into successful ventures of their own.
As tourism businesses around the world start recovering from the impact of COVID-19, Sun Peaks, one of the top ski resorts in North America is focusing on diversifying its revenue base. Its new strategic plan to expand its share of the meeting, incentive, conference, and exhibition market on the mountain could be a game-changer – increasing off-season bookings and creating year-round jobs.