Nelson Innovation Centre benefits from BC Rural Dividend

Nelson Innovation Centre benefits from BC Rural Dividend

Nelson Innovation Centre benefits from BC Rural Dividend

BC Rural Dividend Program has awarded $100,000 to Community Futures Central Kootenay (CFCK) for development of the Nelson Innovation Centre.

The funds will allow CFCK to hire a manager to co-ordinate operations of the Nelson Innovation Centre, including a technology business mentorship program and membership framework.

“Nelson Innovation Centre will help to position our region as a destination for technology entrepreneurs and workers,” said Andrea Wilkey, CFCK Executive Director. “The Nelson and the Area Economic Development Partnership has been working alongside the Kootenay Association of Science and Technology to keep momentum behind this project. The support of the BC Rural Dividend Fund will support our post-launch programming, as we build up our membership and establish income streams to become self-supporting.”

Nelson Innovation Centre will be located on the first floor of the Historic CP Rail building in Nelson’s Railtown neighbourhood. It will create a hub for Nelson’s growing tech sector, with shared work and meeting spaces, business development services and skills training programs.

CFCK is one of six organizations in the Central Kootenay who are celebrating successful applications to the BC Rural Dividend Program. Other successful project proponents include the Village of Kaslo, Regional District of Central Kootenay, Nelson Civic Theatre Society, Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, and Touchstones Nelson.

“Whether it’s promoting partnerships with First Nations at the Nelson Museum, helping the Village of Kaslo develop opportunities for aviation and recreational tourism or building local government capacity to attract new business, these grants will go a long way to boost our rural communities,” said Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston.

These grants help fund projects that support economic development and diversification in rural communities throughout the province. Grants can be up to $100,000 for a single applicant project or up to $500,000 for partnership projects.

“This funding supports the diverse needs of small towns throughout the province and the people who live in them,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Our government is getting results for people in small cities and towns in every region, creating jobs and enhancing everyday services and amenities for families around the province.”

The Rural Dividend is one aspect of the Province’s rural development mandate, which commits to making rural communities more resilient.

Originally posted at CFCK.

Public Spaces Add State-of-the-Art Technology

Public Spaces Add State-of-the-Art Technology

Several public spaces throughout the Basin will enjoy becoming more high-tech with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Technology Program.

Access to state-of-the-art technology can spark opportunities to learn, connect and bring creative ideas to life. Nine communities in the Columbia Basin will soon have new digital equipment, software and other technologies that people can use for free to enhance their digital literacy and get creative. These purchases are being made with support of over $613,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Technology Program.

“In this digital world, technological resources are important, but obtaining them individually can be beyond the means of many,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Director, Delivery of Benefits, at Columbia Basin Trust. “By installing sophisticated equipment like this in public facilities and offering digital literacy programming, people of all ages and abilities will be able to use and benefit from these tech-enabled spaces.”

The two-year, $1.5-million program provides grants to registered non-profit organizations, First Nations and local governments that operate public spaces like libraries and community centres. The grants support the purchase of equipment like 3-D printers, robotics kits, recording studio equipment and computers with specialized software. If required, the organizations may also renovate their spaces and buy furniture to create suitable venues for the equipment. Programs such as classes and workshops that train people how to use the equipment are also supported.

Here are a few of the recipients:

The Fernie Heritage Library will be creating a technology hub with three main components: a digitization station that will enable people to convert old formats (for example VHS tapes) into digital forms, an editing and creation station with computers and software, and a makerspace with equipment like a 3-D printer and laser cutter.

“The technology hub will be a place for the community to use technology to make new things,” said Director Emma Dressler. “It will be a place of innovation and inspiration, where people can interact with their environment in new ways, learn new skills and come together in new ways.”

The Okanagan Regional Library’s Golden branch will be adding a range of items that will help citizens of all skill levels do sound recordings, digitize older formats (such as slides, vinyl or tape), create and modify video projects, and learn other digital skills.

“These skills are critical for citizens of all ages in the 21st century,” said Don Nettleton, Chief Executive Officer. “Having this equipment situated in the library allows all citizens, regardless of their socioeconomic status, the opportunity to participate, provided they have a curious mind and a valid library card.”

In the Village of Slocan, the Learning Centre (photo above) will expand its current offerings by adding a laser cutter and engraver, 3-D printers, robotics kits, a video-conferencing station, and software. This space is run by the W.E. Graham Community Service Society.

“Through improved technology and programming, we hope to support our community members in enhancing their technology-related skills and ultimately quality of life,” said Learning Centre Manager Heather Clouston. “This will build skills and engage people in the community in new ways.”

The Community Technology Program has a two-stage application process. The next expression of interest deadline is May 6, 2019. Selected organizations will work with a program advisor to develop their project concept and write an application. Learn more at ourtrust.org/communitytech.

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.

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.

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
BCTECH summit Innovation Challenges

#BCTECH Summit Innovation Challenges

BCTECH summit Innovation Challenges

Pitch your solution to an Innovation Challenge at #BCTECH Summit!

Hosted by Innovate BC, the Ministry of Agriculture, Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre, Vancouver Economic Commission and the Ministry of Citizens’ Services, the Innovation Challenges are a new #BCTECHSummit activity where large organizations will pitch their specific pain points for an audience of startups, innovators, and researchers.

Following a series of engaging pitches, presenters will be hosting scheduled meetings with the goal of jumpstarting deals with companies that have the potential to solve problems impacting people and communities across B.C. and beyond.

The deadline to book follow-up meetings is Tuesday, February 26.
If you have any questions, please contact Maggie Chan at mchan@innovatebc.ca.

Solutions Wanted:

Agritech Solutions:
B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture is seeking technology solutions that serve the needs of the province’s $14.2 billion agriculture and seafood industries. Targeted solutions include, but are not limited to, technologies for food and beverage processing, traceability, precision agriculture, and bioproducts. Learn more!
Smart Communities Solutions
Translink, Seattle’s Sound Transit, City of Richmond, and Smart Kootenays are buying innovations for improving mobility for citizens through connected technology and data. Targeted products include, but are not limited to, technologies for station passenger analytics, wayfinding for the deaf and blind, and data consolidation tools to support predictive analytics.
Government Procurement Solutions
B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation, and B.C. Wildfire Service will be presenting challenges and open procurement opportunities benefiting citizens across B.C. Targeted innovations include, but are not limited to, technologies for tracking vehicle kilometres, a digital patient gateway, and scholarship delivery digitization.
Cleantech Solutions
Shell Hydrogen and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure are looking for innovations that will advance environmental sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.