Elk Valley Conference Aims to Attract Entrepreneurs to the Kootenays

The Elk Valley Economic Initiative (EVEI) is hosting its first economic development conference June 16 to 18 in Fernie, BC. The 2 1/2-day event, titled the adVenture Capital Conference, is designed to introduce entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs to business opportunities in British Columbia’s Elk Valley.

The Elk Valley provides a diverse economy built around outdoor recreation and adventure tourism, forestry and metallurgical coal mining. The region is noted for several world-class outdoor activities including powder skiing, mountain biking, fly-fishing, snowmobiling, ATVing, hunting, wakeboarding, and backcountry adventures. The region is also the heart of Canada’s metallurgical coal mining industry. At this time, over 90% of Canada’s steelmaking coal exports come from the Elk Valley, with five mines currently in production and several others in various phases of exploration and permitting.

Located in BC’s South-East Kootenay region, the Elk Valley extends from Lake Koocanusa and the Montana border to the Alberta border from Kananaskis Country to Crowsnest Pass. It includes the municipalities of Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford, Hosmer, Morrissey, Elko, Grasmere and the Ktunaxa Ksanka, or Tobacco Plains First Nation.

“The conference is being hosted by the Elk Valley Economic Initiative, and supported by our local communities,” said EVEI Chair Sharon Strom. “We’re very excited about the level of support received from the communities of Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford, and our local industries in promoting the abundance of opportunities here and the lifestyle we all enjoy.”

Highlights of the conference include:

    • Luncheon keynote speech on Entrepreneurship, delivered by New York Times bestselling author Chris Brogan. This luncheon is open to the general public.
    • Dinner keynote speech on Partnerships with Chief Clarence Louie, noted entrepreneur, economic developer and chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
    • Adventure Day on Saturday June 18 where attendees and their families can choose from a variety from Elk Valley adventures including mountain biking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, fly-fishing, hiking, kayaking, boating, golf, spa, arts tour, and Teck mine tours.

Conference attendees will learn about pre-identified business opportunities in the Elk Valley, in addition to exploring their own business ideas with local municipal and business representatives. Some of the Valley’s pre-identified opportunities include:

  • Services to support metallurgical coal mining operations, including drilling and environmental consulting and testing services
  • Four-season adventure tourism services and education
  • Luxury wilderness lodges and limited service hotels
  • Mobile, quick-service, fast-casual and fine-dining restaurants
  • Small engine repair and storage for RV’s, boats, snowmobiles and ATVs
  • Licensed childcare providers and workers
  • Home-based businesses
  • Graphic designers, multimedia developers, artists and artisans
  • Conference, arena and sports facilities
  • Commercial, residential and vacation property development
  • Seniors and workforce housing
  • Engineering, consulting and professional services

The main conference events will be held at Fernie Alpine Resort, with parts of the conference being held in Elkford and Sparwood.

Tickets are now on sale at or for more information call 1-888-808-0826.