Improving Internet Access for Basin Residents

Improving High-speed Internet Access for 26 Basin Communities

Improving Internet Access for Basin Residents

Improved high-speed internet is on the way for 26 communities in the Basin, bringing people opportunities to learn, connect and better expand their businesses.

The Province announced today $4.8 million in provincial funding to support the Trust on two new projects to improve broadband access in rural areas.

“In today’s digital age, the internet is part of the foundation for growing good-paying jobs, learning, healthcare and keeping in touch. Our government is committed to a future where everyone in B.C. has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens Services. “We have incredible tools and resources available to help rural and Indigenous communities form their own digital strategy so they can come forward with applications.”

The Trust’s Broadband Initiative will install fibre-optic infrastructure for two new projects; one in the Slocan Valley to just outside Nakusp, and one in the South Country near Jaffray. New fibre-optic lines will enable internet service providers to offer faster and more reliable services to people throughout the region. The total value of the Slocan Valley and the South Country projects is approximately $10.2 million and includes $4.4 million from the Trust, $420,000 from the Regional District of East Kootenay and $525,000 from the Regional District of Central Kootenay and communities in the Slocan Valley and Nakusp. Both projects are funded through the Connecting British Columbia intake announced in 2018, and are administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“Residents have told us that increasing high-speed internet connectivity throughout the region is important to them, ” said Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “Our partnership with the Province and local governments will expand affordable broadband
availability in the Slocan Valley and South Country area. With a new fibre backbone in place, local internet service providers can greatly improve service to more residents in both areas.”

The Slocan Valley project will see CBBC install 125 kilometres of fibre-optic infrastructure to service the region between Shoreholme, just north of Nakusp, and the Playmor Junction, at an estimated total cost of $7.2 million. Communities benefiting from this work include Appledale, Brouse, Crescent Valley, Hills, Lebahdo, Lemon Creek, Nakusp, New Denver, Passmore, Perrys, Playmor Junction, Rosebery, Shoreholme, Silverton, Slocan, Slocan Park, South Slocan, Summit Lake, Vallican and Winlaw.

The South Country project involves more than 50 kilometres of fibre-optic infrastructure installed between Jaffray and Roosville at an estimated total cost of $2.9 million. This project will help improve services for people in Tobacco Plains, Baynes Lake, Grasmere, Jaffray, Kragmont and Roosville.

Read the full release.

Selkirk College coolest campus in BC

Coolest Campus in BC? Selkirk College!

Selkirk College coolest campus in BC

Selkirk College has triumphed over some big post-secondary players to claim bragging rights in the BC Cool Campus Challenge.

There are any number of reasons that Selkirk College could be considered cool: their commitment to supporting and expanding regional technology training; their integral and continuing participation and support of the local MIT certified fabrication lab and makers space; as well as the initiatives and educational opportunities that help develop curiosity, ingenuity, and innovation in the region’s young people; just to name a few!

The campus can now add climate action to its ever-growing list of accomplishments.

The students and staff of Selkirk College pledged to take such substantial steps towards climate action that they can now claim the title: Coolest Campus in BC! Throughout the winter our local college embraced the challenge to take personal steps towards lowering energy use setting them above the other participating institutions as a leader in sustainability efforts.

To demonstrate climate leadership by reducing natural gas use in January and February, Selkirk joined the University of British Columbia, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology in a unique climate action pact: turn down the heat, take shorter showers, wash laundry on cold, and add necessary layers – wear a sweater!

selkirk college sustainability cool campus challenge

Selkirk College students and staff made pledges and took important steps in climate action during January and February. The efforts have resulted in the college taking the title in the BC Cool Campus Challenge.

Once all pledges by students and staff were tallied, Selkirk College was at the top of the heap as the school making the biggest proportional impact in the challenge and was able to claim the title of the coolest campus in BC.

“The BC Cool Campus Challenge was an excellent way for post-secondary institutions to work together on energy conservation initiatives,” says Selkirk College Sustainability Coordinator Laura Nessman. “A bit of friendly competition was a helpful motivator for students and staff to participate in this campaign.”

Collaboration to beat the cold!

That February this year was a particularly chilly one makes the accomplishment that much more sweet. Given the more severe cold, students and staff engaged in outreach events and hosted Sweater Days that encouraged the Selkirk College community to focus on even the small, yet significant, steps individuals can take to reduce their energy use. Thanks to the vital support of Fortis BC, the community responded with enthusiasm.

“Climate action requires a great deal of collaboration between different organizations, sectors, communities and regions,” says Nessman. “This challenge is an example of the effectiveness of collective efforts.”

In addition to bragging rights, the other participating post-secondary institutions are sending a warm clothing item from their school for Selkirk College to donate to a local charity.

Learn more about sustainability initiatives at Selkirk College.

BC PNP TECH PILOT KAST

BC Provincial Nominee Program Tech Pilot

BC PNP TECH PILOT KAST

Are you an employer looking to fill positions for engineers, IT professionals, or industry-related technicians?

The Government of BC is running a pilot program to fast-track the hiring of skilled immigrants for these positions.

The B.C. technology sector is a major driver of economic growth in the province, with tech employment at its highest level ever recorded. The demand for talent in B.C.’s tech sector is increasing faster than the supply.

The priorities for the Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology include establishing B.C. as a preferred location for new and emerging technologies, increasing the growth of domestic B.C. tech companies, and removing barriers to attracting skilled workers.

B.C. is developing the highest quality local talent by introducing students to tech earlier, adjusting training and education in post-secondary institutions and creating work experience opportunities.

Beyond using the skills and talent of B.C. workers, companies need to be able to attract skilled workers from around the world. Tech entrepreneurs and skilled workers from other leading-edge countries can help grow B.C.’s technology sector, leading to more jobs for British Columbians.

In support of these priorities, a pilot under the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) works to ensure the technology sector can attract and retain the talent it needs to be sustained and to grow the sector further.

The BC PNP Tech Pilot helps employers to address their talent needs by providing a fast-tracked, permanent immigration pathway for in-demand foreign workers and international students.

Click HERE for more information.

BC PNP Tech Pilot Features

The BC PNP Tech Pilot key features are based on service, timeliness, prioritization, and engagement in response to the needs of the industry:

  • Service: A dedicated BC PNP concierge for tech employers provides tailored information and navigation assistance of immigration programs and processes.
  • Timeliness: Weekly invitations to apply are issued to qualified skilled tech workers, minimizing the wait for employers and their prospective employees.
  • Prioritization: Tech applications are prioritized during processing to meet the sector’s fast-paced demands.
  • Engagement: Continuous support to tech sector employers through proactive engagement activities and participation at key industry events.

Updates and enhancements to the BC PNP Tech Pilot

BC PNP Tech Pilot extended to June 2019

The BC PNP Tech Pilot has been extended for another year to provide employers with a degree of stability that will allow them to plan for their future staffing needs.

Click HERE for more information.

Updates to eligible Tech Pilot occupations

We have also updated the list of eligible occupations for the Tech Pilot to focus on the 29 tech occupations that have been demonstrated to be in high demand by the tech sector so that we can maintain the speed of service.

Labour market research conducted by the BC Tech Association and the Vancouver Economic Commission identified access to talent as the biggest issue facing the tech sector, posing the most significant barrier to economic growth.

The research identified 32 in-demand tech occupations, and eligibility for the BC PNP Tech Pilot was originally based on these 32 tech occupations. Based on actual demand from tech sector employers in the pilot’s first year, the pilot will continue with 29 of these occupations eligible under the pilot.

This change allows the program to focus resources on prioritizing those tech occupations demonstrated to be in high demand within the tech sector to maintain the speed of processing and high level of service to tech employers.

The complete list of the 29 in-demand tech occupations can be downloaded HERE.

Technology companies hiring for occupations that are not eligible for the BC PNP Tech Pilot are still able to connect with the concierge service regarding their specific needs.

Tech Pilot enhancements to include one-year job offers

The BC PNP Tech Pilot is also being enhanced by reducing the eligibility requirement for a permanent full-time job offer, to a one-year full-time job offer.

As of June 26, 2018, individuals who apply under a Skills Immigration category in an eligible tech occupation must have a job offer of at least one year (365 days) in length. The job offer must have at least 120 days remaining at the time of application to the BC PNP.

Longer duration job offers, including indeterminate job offers, will continue to be eligible.

Click HERE for more information.

Kootenay House at #BCTECH Summit

Kootenay House at #BCTECH Summit!

Kootenay House at #BCTECH Summit

Entrepreneurs, businesses, and startups will be in Vancouver en masse next week for #BCTECH Summit where the Kootenays will see more representation than ever!

We are so proud of the fact that the Kootenays are going to be taking this year’s #BCTECH Summit by storm, showcasing and promoting how technology and innovation have taken hold throughout the region.

In preparation for Kootenay record attendance, KAST is proud to be co-sponsoring the Kootenay House with the Columbia Basin Trust, the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership (NAEDP) and Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (Metal Tech Alley).

The House will feature 5 Kootenay businesses in a custom geodesic dome for the duration of the conference: Rossland based ThoughtExchange; Cronometer from Revelstoke; Pixel Cents out of Nelson; Kodiak Measurement Services and Selkirk College from Nelson and Castlegar, respectively; and the new Columbia Lake Technology Center from Canal Flats.

Identify yourself to KAST as a proud Kootenarian and we’ll get you a #Kootenaytech T-shirt and drink tickets for the Kootenay House Party so you can share how awesome the Kootenays are with other attendees.

Be sure to join us for the Kootenay House Party – Tuesday, March 12, 5-7pm at Kootenay House

Attendees of the conference can attend the Kootenay House Party on Tuesday, March 12 at 5-7pm. Join KAST plus over 40 Kootenay technology companies attending the summit this year—for a special “Eat & Greet” featuring complimentary appetizers, Kootenay craft beers, swag, and music! Look for proud Kootenarians sporting their #Kootenaytech t-shirts and discover why they think the Kootenays is the best place to live, work, study and play!

We want to give huge thanks to our great event sponsors: Imagine Kootenay, BC Craft Co., Fernie Alpine Resort, Isosceles, Selkirk College, Pixel Cents Software, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, Retallack, Big Magic Design, and Whitewater Ski Resort.

Visit with KAST at the MIDAS M!

Tracy Connery Photography - #BCTECHSummit - MIDAS - KAST

KAST will be on the ground connecting Kootenay companies and entrepreneurs to investors, resources and other key people and organizations.

Find us at the MIDAS M in the marketplace & let us know what you’re looking for.

How to build a successful tech company, anywhere

Don’t miss Don Freschi’s talk on building tech companies here in the Kootenays on Wednesday, 2-3 pm.

#BCTECH Summit 2019

KAST Innovate BC Tech Coop Grant

Tech Co-op Grant

KAST Innovate BC Tech Coop Grant

Get up to $10,800 per year in funding to hire co-op students through the Tech Co-op Grant.

Need talent? Whether you’re a technology-based company looking to grow or a non-tech business looking to grow your innovation footprint, our program could be right for you. 

Each employer is eligible to receive a maximum of four grants each per fiscal year valued at $2,700 (a total value of $10,800), to recruit and train between one to four distinct co-op students. The employer must pay the remainder of the student’s salary during the co-op term.

Program Eligibility

  • Be a BC-based business.
  • Have less than 100 employees on the payroll.
  • Be a tech company hiring for any role.
  • Be a non-tech company, organization or non-profit hiring for a tech role (A tech role is defined as a role primarily related to developing tech or providing tech support).
  • Be hiring a student for a co-op work term. If you’ve hired a student for a co-op work term in the last 5 years, then you must hire a first-time co-op student.

Steps to apply

  1. Understand the Program Guidelines.
  2. Define the role and create a job posting.
  3. Contact an accredited co-op department in BC to have the job approved and posted.
  4. Submit your application
Junior Dragons Den 2019

Community Futures Junior Dragons Den 2019

Junior Dragons Den 2019

Calling all young innovators and entrepreneurs! 2019 Junior Dragons Den Regional competition dates announced.

Junior Dragons’ Den is a student business competition and call to action for entrepreneurs from Grades’ 5 to College/ Trades school level to create their own summer job/ business or to expand an existing one. The competition is open to students from throughout the East and West Kootenay, Thompson Country and North East British Columbia.

Junior Dragons who qualify for the regional competitions are matched with mentors from each respective regional business community. Mentors work with our competitors and assist them with preparing a dynamic one-page business plan and final video in preparation to pitch to our dragons during the live shows.

Students may enter the competition in one of the following categories:

  • Junior – Grades 7-10
  • Senior – Grade 11-12
  • Post-Secondary – College/ University/ Trades

Over $7000 in cash prizing awarded in 2018!

Junior Dragons Den BC competition

2019 Regional Competition dates are as follows: