Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS Trail Smoke Eaters

Super Combo: Trail Smoke Eaters and MIDAS!

Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS Trail Smoke Eaters

Gift certificates created on the Trotec 120 Watt Laser Cutter

We love our local Smoke Eaters and we love MIDAS! Bringing the two together for the hockey fans, potential aspiring makers, is a perfect combination and SO uniquely Koots.

As a proud supporter of the Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey team, KAST has donated 10 MIDAS Fab Lab gift certificates. Lucky winners receive a choice of Laser Cutter or 3D Printer Course, where they can learn, be inspired, and enjoy the opportunity to work with the best in the biz – the MIDAS Fab Lab team!

So, check out the game schedule and make sure you come on out and enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed hockey night and have a chance to win some wonderful prizes!

If you’d like to know more about the possibilities – so many! – available at MIDAS, please click HERE. Still curious? Join us for our MIDAS Public Tours, every Thursday evening at 6:00 pm.

Check out the range of courses and training on offer at MIDAS (2019 schedule currently in the works – lots to come!)

Go Smoke Eaters!

#BCTECH Summit Last chance to apply for the Investment Showcase

Last Chance to Apply for the Investment Showcase at #BCTECH Summit 2019

#BCTECH Summit Last chance to apply for the Investment Showcase

The #BCTECHSummit Investment Showcase connects B.C.’s most promising startups with leading investors from around the world.

Pitching Applications close today! (Dec 11 at 11:59pm PST).

Highlights from 2018:

  • 50 startups pitched in diverse sectors like HealthTech, CleanTech, IoT, AR/VR, and Gaming.
  • 150+ global and local investors attended, representing more than $200 billion.
  • 77% of those investors booked follow-up meetings with pitching companies.
Apply today if you are one of B.C.’s top growth-oriented startups seeking seed or series A funding.

Wanted for 2019: Leading Investors and Growth-Oriented Startups

  • Investors: Meet innovative technology companies with a global market, strong traction and impressive teams—chosen by a selection committee made up of VCs, angel investors and industry experts.
  • Startups: If you are one of B.C.’s top growth-oriented startups seeking Seed or Series A funding, then apply today to participate in either the Roundtable Series or Funding Pitches.

Why and How to Participate: Get Funding, Expertise and Exposure

  • Seed Funding Roundtable Series: Startups seeking seed capital of under $3 million are invited to participate in the Seed Funding Roundtable Series. The Series will give founders direct access to investors, where they will have the opportunity to gain critical feedback and expertise, and of course, pitch their product.
  • Series A Funding Pitches: Startups seeking capital of $3 million or more are invited to participate in the Series A Funding Pitches, 5-minute investment pitches, which are followed by a 5-minute Q&A session and extended networking.
  • Leverage Media Attention: The #BCTECHSummit attracts local, national and international media. In 2018, 125 accredited media showed up to break news and tell the stories of the technologies and industries of the future. This is your opportunity to leverage the attention that the #BCTECHSummit commands and position your company for growth.
Regional Innovation Ecosystems

Regional Innovation Ecosystems

Regional Innovation Ecosystems

The Regional Innovation Ecosystems program aims to create, grow and nurture inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs throughout the innovation continuum – incremental to truly transformative innovations.

RIE Program

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) in western Canada. Through RIE, they are making targeted investments in not-for-profit organizations that support businesses in priority sectors to innovate, grow and compete globally. They are also fostering inclusive growth by supporting under-represented groups, mainly women, Indigenous peoples and young entrepreneurs, to more fully participate in the innovation economy.

By providing funds to advance the development of regional innovation ecosystems, WD is delivering on the Budget 2018 commitment to grow the western Canadian economy. This will ensure Canada’s prosperity for decades to come.

The RIE program stream builds on the federal government’s Innovation and Skills Plan. This plan helps make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation that creates well-paying jobs and grows the middle class.

Fostering an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness. Objectives of RIE:

  • Support and grow strategic clusters to leverage regional strengths and support businesses commercialize products, technologies and services, and to scale-up.
  • Enhance the development and reach of business accelerators and incubators, and other organizations, which support entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies with high-growth potential.
  • Support projects led by innovation-oriented organizations to increase and promote business productivity and global competitiveness, and investment and talent attraction.
  • Enhance the capacity of ecosystems to support underrepresented groups, including women, Indigenous peoples, and young entrepreneurs.

Who can apply for RIE?

RIE is open to not-for-profit organizations that support businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs, for start-up, growth, productivity, technology commercialization, technology adoption, export and investment attraction, including:

Businesses must meet the following mandatory criteria:

  • post-secondary educational institutions;
  • Business Accelerator and Incubators;
  • angel networks;
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) organizations, including Indigenous-led not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous-owned businesses; social enterprises;
  • a group of eligible recipients such as an industry association or consortium; and a municipality and all other municipal-type organizations.

WD is now accepting applications for RIE on an ongoing basis. For information on how to apply, please contact their Vancouver office: 

Telephone: 604-666-6256
Toll-Free: 1-888-338-9378

National Resource Canada Crush it! Challenge

Natural Resources Canada – Crush It! Challenge

National Resource Canada Crush it! Challenge

If you have an idea or innovation that could Crush It! in the mining sector, this challenge is for you!

The Natural Resources Canada Crush It! Challenge promotes innovation in the mining sector. The challenge: develop a Cleantech solution that has the potential to transform how energy is used for crushing and grinding rocks in the mining industry.

Don’t delay! Deadline to submit applications: January 15, 2019

Develop the next generation of mining

Improving the crushing and grinding processes of mining will create a more sustainable mining sector. Do you have a solution that has the potential to…

Fight climate change? Develop innovative technologies to reduce energy consumption and pollution in mining.

Increase competitiveness? Increase competitiveness in the mining sector and develop world-leading clean technologies.

Transform the mining cycle? Revolutionize the mining cycle and unlock the future of mining.

Crush it! Find out more or APPLY NOW!

A solution to help create a more sustainable mining sector

Improving the crushing and grinding processes of mining will create a more sustainable mining sector. Do you have a solution that…

  • generates transformative energy savings at the mill?
  • increases productivity while reducing the environmental impacts of crushing and grinding rock?
  • can be scaled and applied to many operations?
  • has no negative impact on downstream activities?

Crush it! Find out more or APPLY NOW!

Who can apply?

For-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as companies, industry associations and research centres
Indigenous organizations and groups
Canadian post-secondary institutions
Independent small-scale innovators and individuals


  • $10,000 for each small-scale innovator selected as one of the up to twelve (12) Challenge semi-finalists to help them pitch their ideas to the Challenge Jury (in Toronto)
  • Up to $800,000 each for up to 6 finalists to build and test their cleantech solutions.
  • $5 million grant to the innovator who can demonstrate the best energy breakthrough in crushing and grinding rocks

Key Dates:

January 15, 2019: deadline to submit applications
March 2019: pitch proposal at #DisruptMining event
May 2019: top 6 announced
November 2020: final submission deadline for Challenge finalists
March 2021: final grand prize winner announced

Crush it! Find out more or APPLY NOW!



cam whitehead KAST Executive Director

KAST Welcomes New Executive Director: Cam Whitehead

cam whitehead KAST Executive Director

Introducing Cam Whitehead, KAST Executive Director – Thank you Don Freschi!

The board is happy to welcome Dr. Cam Whitehead as KAST’s new Executive Director. Cam will support KAST’s plan to continue to grow and foster a culture that values science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship across our region.

Cam Whitehead is returning to the Kootenays from Victoria, where he worked for the Ministries of Jobs, Trade and Technology and Citizens’ Services. He brings strong experience in strategic planning and workforce development in the technology sector.

His portfolios included the Provincial Nominee Program Skills Stream overhaul, the PNP Tech Pilot, the Global Skills Strategy and the Centre for Data-Driven Innovation. Cam lives in Blewett with his wife Melissa Welsh, founder of Pixel Cents Software, and two kids Oliver and Clio.

The board would also like to extend its deep thanks to Don Freschi for his dedication to KAST—as a long time as a volunteer board member, as an Executive-in-Residence and most recently as our ED.

While Don is stepping down as ED, we’re delighted to have him continue to contribute as an EIR—Don is recognized as an innovative entrepreneur across our region and draws people to KAST who are looking for top-tier mentoring via the Venture Acceleration Program.

KAST also has benefited from Don’s innovative and disruptive ideas on strategy —Don has a unique way of breaking down traditional barriers and creating new opportunities for KAST, our clients and partners.

Selkirk College Smarts Program

Selkirk College SMARTS Program – Call for Proposals

Selkirk College Smarts Program

SMARTS: Connecting small- and medium-sized businesses with research expertise in the fields of geospatial technology and digital fabrication.

The Selkirk-SME Applied Research and Technology Solutions (SMARTS) Program connects businesses with Selkirk College faculty and student expertise in the fields of geospatial technology and digital fabrication. It aims to help small- and medium-sized enterprises use advanced technologies to develop new or improved products and services. The Program is supported by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). As a result of this support, financial assistance is available to cover a portion of research costs associated with successful proposals.

Submissions are accepted on a continuous basis. The SMARTS programs end in March 2019.

Selkirk College’s SMARTS Program invites small and medium-sized businesses to submit proposals for technology-oriented research and development projects.

Proposed projects should make use of Selkirk College research expertise in a way that helps the applicant develop new or improved products, services, or business processes that are anticipated to drive the growth of the enterprise. Projects should be experimental or innovative in nature.

Note that services without a research or innovation component (e.g., cartography) are not offered through the SMARTS program. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the SMARTS team in advance of the proposal deadline to confirm their eligibility, discuss their project idea and its fit with Selkirk College researcher expertise, and get help to scope a proposal.

Submissions are accepted on a continuous basis. The SMARTS programs end in March 2019.

SMARTS Program Project examples

SMARTS researchers have broad expertise in the fields of geospatial technologies and digital fabrication. Past SMARTS projects have involved the following R&D services:

Digital Fabrication

  • Rapid Prototyping (producing prototypes, researching and testing prototype designs and materials)
  • 3D Modeling (scanning 3D objects for reproduction, generating 3D models for analysis and production)
  • Advanced Manufacturing Process Optimization (building custom digital fabrication equipment, improving productivity with new workflows and equipment configurations)

Geospatial Technologies

  • Web Mapping (developing innovative mapping platforms for data sharing and communications)
  • 3D Visualizations (generating static and dynamic visualizations of 3D geospatial data, developing augmented reality and virtual reality applications)
  • Remote Sensing and Unmanned Aerial Systems (collecting data via UAV, testing sensors, analyzing remotely sensed data from UAV or satellite, developing workflows and algorithms)
  • Spatial Modeling (modelling landscape impacts of environmental change)
  • App Development and Customization (building customized mobile tools for geospatial data collection and sharing, researching and testing technology options)

If you have a technology-focused project idea that does not fit in the categories or digital fabrication orf geomatics, contact the SMARTS project team to discuss options. Faculty from other fields such as engineering, health and natural resources may also be available to provide research services depending on your project needs.

Eligible Applicants

The program is open to small- or medium-sized enterprises (up to 500 employees) in Canada. Businesses must be growth-oriented.

Application deadline

Submissions are accepted on a continuous basis. The SMARTS programs end in March 2019.

Available Funding & Eligible Expenses

The SMARTS program provides up to $5000 per project in research funding and proponents are required to contribute at least 25% of project costs. Projects with a larger budget may be proposed with the understanding that costs over the $5000 contribution will be the company’s responsibility. Eligible expenses for SMARTS funding are limited to Selkirk College research services, contractor fees and certain fees for access to specialized equipment. Selkirk College research services are expected to make up the majority of each project’s budget.

Apply Now

Please contact the SMARTS program facilitator, Lauren Rethoret, for the application form and to discuss your project idea.