KAST is proud to receive $50,000 in SIDIT support annually for our Venture Acceleration Program

Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT) Fiscal 2017 Annual Report

KAST is proud to receive $50,000 in SIDIT support annually for our Venture Acceleration Program

SIDIT’s Fiscal 2017 Annual Report has been released, which has been prepared for stakeholders, including the British Columbia Provincial Government.  The Report showcases the ongoing support of SIDIT towards economic development initiatives in the Southern Interior, from the Thompson Okanagan Region to the Columbia Kootenay Region.

KAST is proud to receive $50,000 in SIDIT support annually for our Venture Acceleration Program.

SIDIT fiscal 2017 was a successful year for SIDIT, funding $3,759,805 in loans and investments, and have cumulatively leveraged loans and investments at 2:22 to 1.  $726,511 were awarded in grants, including post-secondary educational support.

Since 2006, SIDIT has preserved the initial $50 million allocation from the BC Government and has invested nearly $55 million in projects worth over $218 million.  SIDIT’s overall economic impact exceeds $288 million, creating and preserving more than 3,000 jobs across the region. SIDIT’s ongoing support of small to medium size businesses, including start-ups, provides them the opportunity to expand operations, attract and retain employees, and allows them to compete in the global marketplace.

As part of SIDIT’s ongoing reporting and self-evaluation commitment, a third-party Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Report was prepared by Lochaven Management Consultants/Urban Matters.  The report reviewed qualitative and quantitative impact related information, and employed both primary and secondary research.

Click HERE to read the report.

ICTC's New Wage Subsidy Program for Canadian Employers- WIL Digital

ICTC’s New Wage Subsidy Program for Canadian Employers: WIL Digital

ICTC's New Wage Subsidy Program for Canadian Employers- WIL DigitalBridging on ICTC’s success in facilitating connections between employers and students under our Ottawa-based program, CareerConnect, ICTC will be expanding upon this initiative, creating a new Canada-wide program that offers wage subsidy for employers who hire students from Canadian post-secondary institutions.

With the advent of rapidly-shaping technologies including artificial intelligence, 5G and Blockchain to name a few, the way we work, interact, and ultimately, the way we live is increasingly changing. As a result, workers with strong digital, business and entrepreneurial skills are more important than ever. According to ICTC’s recent outlook report, The Next Talent Wave: Navigating the Digital Shift – Outlook 2021, 216,000 new jobs requiring digitally trained professionals will need to be filled in Canada by 2021. One of the most crucial investments helping Canada reach this goal is based in equipping students with relevant skills that can meet current and future industry needs.

ICTC’s new initiative, The WIL to Succeed in Tomorrow’s Digital Job Market – Innovation Ready Grads (WIL DIGITAL) is a dynamic program that focuses on shaping Canada’s future workforce.

Applications are currently being accepted from employers across Canada, operating in any of the following emerging sectors:

  • Intelligent Retailing
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Fintech
  • Entertainment & Gaming
  • Cybersecurity
  • Connected Transportation
  • Biotechnology
  • e-Health
  • Clean Technology

Interested employers in the above-noted sectors*, willing to provide a paid work integrated learning (WIL) experience to a student from a Canadian post-secondary institution (maximum duration of 16 weeks) may be eligible to receive the following wage subsidies for their student intern:

  • Up to 50% of wages or up to $5,000, to provide a student with meaningful WIL opportunities that develop foundational and entrepreneurial/business skills;
  • Up to 70% of wages or up to $7,000, to provide a student with meaningful WIL opportunities that develop foundational and entrepreneurship/business skills for the following under-represented groups: a) women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); b) Indigenous students; c) recent immigrants (arrived in Canada during the last 5 years); d) persons with disabilities; and e) first-year students.

In order to be considered, prospective participants (students) must meet the following criteria:

  • Registered as a full-time student in a Canadian post-secondary institution, regardless of age.
  • Hold Canadian citizenship, permanent residence, or be considered a protected person, as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • Be legally entitled to work in Canada and in the respective province.
  • Must not be filling a position left vacant due to dispute, termination, layoff or other another occurrence that displaces another worker.

Interested Canadian employers from relevant sectors may submit an application to participate in this initiative by completing the Host Employer Application form.  Once submitted, ICTC will review the application and provide a response back to the employer within 2 weeks. Students may begin working immediately following application approval.


New Ventures BC competition

#nvbc2017 New Ventures BC Competition Round 2

After vetting each company for eligibility, #nvbc2017 has 167 startups moving into Round 2.  We are so proud of our KAST VAP clients, Cyberdontics and SMRT1 Technologies Ltd. for making it to the next round.

As a not-for-profit, New Ventures BC promotes entrepreneurship through innovation. The annual BCIC-New Ventures Competition, offers education, coaching, and $300,000+ in prizes to BC startups. They also provide training and mentorship for early-stage tech companies in Venture Acceleration Programs.


Cindy Chambers Sales & Marketing

HERE Partner Cindy Chambers, MBA & Woodbury Point

Cindy Chambers Sales & MarketingThere are any number of businesses who have come up with the great idea, product or exceptional service.  The issue for many of them, the hurdle that trips up many startups and fledgling businesses, is how to get the word out, get eyeballs, get sales!  Tackling the all-important sales and marketing demands often provide some of the greatest challenges to any business.

New HERE Program partner, Cindy Chambers is helping to bridge this gap for the program’s participating businesses.  Currently commuting between Calgary and the West Kootenay, Cindy combines part-time teaching at SAIT with her consulting and coaching business that grows to include more and more businesses here in the Kootenays.

With a strong tie to the area – Cindy’s husband grew up in Nelson – Cindy is looking forward to finally calling their property near Ainsworth Hot Springs home.  She works with clients spanning a diverse range of sectors including telecommunications, agriculture, technology, oil and gas, not-for-profit, and manufacturing, just to name a few.

The busy Sales & Marketing specialist brings a thorough background and experience which, alongside her love of collaboration, allows her the insight to understand a given company’s culture as well as quickly identify and diagnose the needs and challenges they may face.  Cindy’s sharp business acumen and her ability to grasp quickly both the strategic nature of a business as well as the nuances that make an organization unique sets the foundation for her positive contribution in a short period of time.

Specific to her Venture Accelerator and HERE program expertise, the clients Cindy works with enjoy the benefit of her willingness to listen, targeted probing and questions to accurately identify need so as to effectively distill information into actionable plans for the best outcomes.

All clients are looking for the best bang for their marketing buck.  VAP and HERE clients come to her for many of the basic marketing needs such as wordsmithing, helping with effective advertising collateral and, particularly pertaining to startup clients, translating technical “geek speak” into laymen’s terms.

Cindy identifies one of the most important facets to effective sales and marketing as being the importance of clearly understanding who the target customer is.  In this age of digital marketing, geography becomes less a factor in identifying a target audience.  Particularly with regards to tech and innovation startups, the target audience may just as easily be from around the globe as around the corner.

A true team player, Cindy is as comfortable in the board room as in the trenches.  Strategically, she excels at providing clarity of direction, identifying competitive advantage, and facilitating discussions that move organizations in a profitable direction.  Tactically, it isn’t uncommon to find Cindy working a trade show booth, carting boxes, or performing any of the myriad of tasks that are necessary for organizations to successfully market themselves.

Cindy has honed her management and leadership capabilities to a high level of performance.  Career successes include launching new products that showed immediate financial success, eliminating under-performing products from portfolios, and successfully leading cross-functional, multi-cultural, multi-time zone teams to launch new products on time and on budget.

Cindy has been responsible for fund-raising in order to secure on-going private financial support for a non-profit organization, resulting in donated funds that doubled the operating budget.  She has served as the volunteer chair on two separate non-profit boards,  leading the strategic planning process and building strong board-staff collaboration.

Cindy has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Calgary, and has spent a good portion of her career leveraging technology to implement marketing plans.   She has spent several years teaching business and marketing classes at the post-secondary level (Mount Royal University, University of Phoenix, SAIT), as well as providing marketing and strategic business consulting services across numerous industries.  She continues to take professional development workshops and courses in the areas of fund development, board capacity, and marketing and sales leadership.

Cindy Chambers-Woodbury Point Sales & Marketing

Read more about Cindy and the HERE Program.



Apply for Metabridge | April 3 Deadline

Apply for Metabridge | April 3 Deadline

Apply for Metabridge | April 3 Deadline

Apply to Metabridge’s Top Start-up Cohort | April 3 Deadline 

The 9th annual Metabridge program connects the Top 15 Technology Start-ups with top tech executives, mentors and investors to help take their organization to the next level.

This is a highly competitive process designed for the best and brightest growth stage tech founders (late seed or early Series A). SMB can be from any technology sub-sectors and we look for demonstrated traction.

The Top 15 who make it into the program will be invited to Metabridge’s Tech Retreat in Kelowna, with access to 48 hours of VIPS, workshops, activities and 1:1 meetings.

Learn more about the program or contact sehra.bremner@metabridge.com.

SR&ED Investment Tax Credit Loan From Vancity

SR&ED investment tax credit loan from Vancity

The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program is a federal tax incentive program offered by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) to support and encourage Canadian businesses to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada.

What is the Vancity SR&ED investment tax credit loan?

Vancity understands the potential cash flow challenges faced by local businesses. Receipt of funds from the initial filing of SR&ED claims typically takes 30 to 180 days, and wait times for these refunds may affect your cash flow.

The Vancity SR&ED investment tax credit loan* is designed to help provide capital to businesses with qualified research and development expenditures, so you can focus on what’s important – conducting R&D and making an impact.

Features of the Vancity SR&ED investment tax credit loan

Flexible repayment option:

A demand loan with interest-only payments, with repayment in full upon receipt of the tax credit from the CRA. 


  • Track record of successful claims
  • Strong supporting documentation to SR&ED claims
  • Ability to cash flow the business through anticipated receipt of funds, including the Vancity loan

Borrowers must open a Vancity account to which CRA deposits will be directed.

Loan terms and pricing:

  • Financing available up to 75% of accrued eligible SR&ED investment tax credits receivable, with a minimum loan size of $75,000
  • Application fee: 2% of amount borrowed*
  • Rate: Vancity Prime + 6% to 10%*

More information on the SR&ED program can be found on the CRA website.

* Vancity’s normal lending criteria apply.

Rates and fees are subject to change without notice. Please contact Vancity for details.