Get the Competitive Advantage. Business in the Kootenays

At Imagine Kootenay we can’t stress enough how living and working in this extraordinary corner of the world is a dream come true. Breathtaking views, world-class recreation just outside your front door, and waking up to the freshest air available combined with small town friendliness and security all add up to a lifestyle truly enviable.

Throw in technology, successful startups and diversifying industry, it is a rare combination of lifestyle and opportunity we enjoy, making it increasingly appealing for others choosing to pursue business in the Kootenays.

Business in the Kootenays offering more and more competitive advantages

Understanding the importance of connectivity to the development and diversification of industry and opportunity region-wide, support for high speed fibre broadband has been unprecedented. With the transition away from commodities-based industry such as mining and timber in many communities, the implementation of technology infrastructure has been about the now rather than about the future, integral to the Kootenays’ economic viability and sustainability.

The region boasts an increasingly powerful broadband framework that, in the capable hands of creative minds contributing to the growth and development of organizations and institutions also provides great benefit to their communities. These networks provide the means by which businesses, organizations and institutions can revitalize and reinvent themselves while remaining relevant, keeping current and ensuring sustainability. For many Kootenay communities, this marks the beginning of a new era and will surely grow and develop to be used in ways only limited by the imagination.

Business development agencies throughout the region know very well what we have and are consistently providing a range of means of support to encourage diversity and success to startups and small and medium-sized businesses as well as to that of established larger operations. Initiatives such as Community Futures, CBT’s Impact Investment Fund, New Ventures BC, Kootenay Workforce Development, ImagineKootenay, and others, are eagerly committing resources and support geared to growing business and opportunity throughout the Kootenays, East and West.

Ready support to encourage and sustain business in the Kootenays

Late last year, the Columbia Basin Trust announced their new $2-million Impact Investment Fund to expand funding possibilities for businesses throughout the Basin. Aware of the need to provide financial support to those endeavours showing the potential to benefit the Basin region in ways other than financial returns to an investor.

Administered by Community Futures, the fund provides financing to business opportunities of high risk, unable to secure loans by conventional means.

“We will continue to invest in opportunities that give us the income we need to provide programs and services to the Basin,” said Neil Muth, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “However, sometimes an opportunity doesn’t fit our standard financial requirements, nor is eligible for a grant–and yet deserves to be supported for other reasons. The Impact Investment Fund gives us the ability to help these businesses strengthen and grow.”

Community Futures is a not-for-profit community economic development organization committed to helping people in the throughout the Kootenay region already operating or planning to start their own business.

All types of businesses can apply directly to Community Futures, including for-profits, non-profits, social enterprises, First Nations businesses and start-ups. Of course, the business must be located in the Basin as well the impacts must be deemed directly positive in the Basin.

The Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC) economic development office works to develop a creative, dynamic and competitive business environment that fosters economic growth. The LCIC works collaboratively with the communities in the Lower Columbia region, local agencies, organizations and businesses to develop and implement strategies that will assist in strengthening our local economy.

Small communities offering big possibilities

The Kootenay Workforce Development Society is a dynamic, diverse and change-responsive centre of excellence that empowers individuals, employers and communities economically and socially through career development, employment counselling, and human resource planning.

InvestLocalBC is an initiative of Stuart Nechako of Community Futures. Geared to encourage local nonprofits, the arts communities and business startups to create online forums to fund, support and evolve their initiatives and projects in our communities. Accelerating creative ideas into reality, InvestLocalBC provides an online platform to guide financial investment and collaboration.

The You Can Do That Here series from the Kootenay Association of Science & Technology (KAST) provides weekly podcasts highlighting innovative ideas and possibilities finding legs in the region showcasing the diversity and range of entrepreneurial success stories. The opportunities are endless!

Finally, promoting the business and lifestyle opportunities that exist in the growing and vibrant Kootenays, ImagineKootenay is a joint-initiative of local governments, economic development organizations & Chambers of Commerce with the aim of attracting and retaining investment. A great resource to discover the advantages of living, working and doing business in the Kootenay region, ImagineKootenay is the first stop to discover for yourself how opportunity can go hand-in-hand with lifestyle.