College of the Rockies School Works Program

School Works Program

The School Works Program provides wage subsidies to employers to help them hire full-time students on a part-time basis throughout the school year (September to May).

The School Works Program not only helps employers. The program also provides opportunities for students to gain career-related work experience in the Basin.

Applications available August 15, 2019.

Are you looking to hire:

  • a full-time student on a part-time basis during the school year (September to May) to do career-related work,
  • a first or second level apprentice for full-time employment to complete their first or second level work-based training requirements, or
  • a student for a Co-op work term through an accredited Co-op program?

The School Works Program, delivered by College of the Rockies, could give you an $8/hour wage subsidy!

Applications available August 15, 2019.

Who Can Apply

Small Businesses, non-profits, First Nations communities and municipal governments headquartered within Columbia Basin Trust’s region.


The School Works Program is targeted at creating career-related work opportunities for students to gain meaningful work experience and provide strong benefit to participating employers. Ensure you review the job requirements closely in the School Works Application Guide.

How to Apply

Applications for School Works will be available on August 15, 2019. Familiarize yourself with the program and start preparing to draft your application by reviewing the:


Applications available August 15, 2019.


Applications are accepted on a first-received, first-served basis. They are assessed as they come in, until all funding for the program has been committed.


Innovate BC's Ignite Program

Innovate BC Ignite Program

Innovate BC's Ignite Program

BC Ignite: Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens with ideas, insights, time — and money.

Innovate BC’s Ignite Program provides up to $300,000 to fund projects in the areas of natural resources, applied science and/or engineering.

Teams made up of industry and academia come together to solve real-life business problems in a 3-year time frame. From helping get clean drinking water into third world countries to diagnosing eye diseases faster than ever before, Ignite is bringing technology to life in BC.

Here in the Kootenays, there are so many cool new companies helping lead the way with innovation. Among them is Advanced Biocarbon 3DIn partnership with Selkirk College, the company is developing a new sustainable 3D-printing filament that is carbon negative, non-toxic, and biodegradable with engineer-grade quality.


With plenty of focus being put on the negative impact plastics has on our environment, this Kootenay-based company is developing plastics made from sustainable and un-used wood that would otherwise be a waste in forestry. Rural-made solutions for global problems.

Last year the company received a boost from Innovate BC’s Ignite Program that awarded the partnership with Selkirk College to the tune of $300,000. That money has gone a long way towards the success of the operation.

The next round of Ignite funding is now open to applications with a deadline of August 12th.

Focus area

Proposals must involve the areas of natural resources, applied science and/or engineering, and must outline the business problem you and your team is attacking.


Applicants must be a BC-based team comprised of two or more companies, organizations, and academic researchers. All teams must include an academic member and an industry partner.

Matching funds

Projects must secure matching funds from industry or government sources at a ratio of 2:1 matching dollars to Ignite dollars.


Projects must plan to move a proposed innovation to market within a 3-year timeframe.

Key dates BC Ignite Round 8:

  • Deadline to submit Letter of Intent (LOI) to Innovate BC: August 12, 2019
  • Deadline for invited applicants to submit a full proposal: October 12, 2019
  • Anticipated notice of decision: Late December 2019
  • Anticipated start of funding: January 2020

To view past winning Ignite projects, click here.

Innovative Kootenay companies should head to Ignite BC website for more information and to apply.

KAST - Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

KAST - Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

News Release

New Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector and grow the economy.

The Province has created the Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector and grow the economy by helping farmers farm and processors become more productive, now and in the future.

“By helping farmers put more B.C. farmland into production, our government is supporting the province’s agricultural industry and strengthening food security for all British Columbians,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “We are always looking for new ideas as we continue to help farmers produce more, grow new crops and develop thriving businesses. I know the task force will identify further innovations to support the sector and I’m looking forward to receiving their recommendations.”

The three-member task force, led by Peter Dhillon, chair, with Arvind Gupta and Lenore Newman as members, will assess and provide strategic advice on opportunities to:

  • apply agri-technologies to help farmers and producers enhance productivity, increase economic competitiveness and sustainability, reduce waste and help make sure B.C. farmers are growing the food needed to meet demand;
  • expand the emerging agritech industry in B.C. as a standalone economic sector to produce technologies that will be in demand globally;
  • support the objectives of CleanBC, both through the adoption of technologies and practices that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • increase access to fresh, healthy food and support local economies in communities throughout B.C.

“This task force will evaluate ways of innovating in this important sector with the goal of improving access to quality, healthy food for everyone,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “It will also make recommendations to support our agritech companies as they scale up and anchor their operations here at home, creating clean jobs for British Columbians and contributing to a sustainable economy for the future.”

Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO, Innovate BC, will participate on an invited basis as an ex-officio member of the Food Security Task Force.

“B.C. has an opportunity to be the best in the world when it comes to innovation in our agricultural sector,” said Peter Dhillon. “At a time when climate change and technology are rapidly changing how we grow food, it is more important than ever that we make sure B.C.’s agritech sector has the support it needs to thrive. On behalf of the task force, we look forward to preparing a report for the government on how B.C. can help make that happen.”

The task force will speak with stakeholder groups and provide a final report to the ministers of Agriculture and Jobs, Trade and Technology by Dec. 31, 2019.

The public is invited to provide comments online:

Quick Fact:

  • The 2019 speech from the throne mentioned the B.C. government would launch a food security task force to consider how B.C. can harness new technologies and innovation to produce more food, jobs and prosperity, while reducing waste.

Read more…

KAST - why you should join a Venture Accelerator Program

6 Reasons to Participate in an Accelerator Program to Launch or Advance your Startup

KAST - why you should join a Venture Accelerator Program

When you plan your travels, a map helps guide your route to a successful and enjoyable trip. Likewise, a Venture Accelerator Program will help guide your way along the best route to success.

You’ve got a great new idea for a product or service. You may have even initiated the process of developing a business. Chances are, in these early stages, you could use some helpful advice, direction and maybe even a little funding. That’s where an accelerator program comes in. If offers the resources and expertise of someone who’s successfully traveled the path to help you get all three.

If you need a little nudge about participating, here are six good reasons why you should consider joining an accelerator:

1. Comprehensive support

As you may already know, developing, launching, and operating a startup can be a challenging and often lonely business. That’s where an accelerator program can help. When you work within an accelerator, you receive valuable support from experienced mentors or Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR). In addition to the direction, experience, and knowledge, they’re also there for emotional support.

2. Accelerated knowledge

Providing a ton of information based on the years of experience and skills that each mentor, or EIR, has amassed is what makes an accelerator program what it is. Access to this concentrated amount of information allows you to make your way through the various steps far more quickly and efficiently than trying to go it alone.

Accelerator programs offer you the opportunity to leverage the years of accumulated wisdom and experience available, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. As a result, you are better positioned to develop and launch your startup in a more calculated, strategic way, improving your chances of success.

3. Skills development

Focus on teaching the skills essential to launching and running a business, including sales and marketing, customer discovery, communications, finance, and sometimes even technical skills provide the foundation of an accelerator program.

Accelerators can also help you share your skills with other startup founders in the program, providing a great testing ground for disseminating your skills later on to your own team.

4. Risk management

Front of mind for any startup founder is, more often than not, the risk of failure. It can seem as though there is risk in everything you take on. This includes the market you’ve targeted, your product, and the concept you’re presenting.

The success of a startup depends on how the various functions – product development, pricing, technology, operations, customer service, marketing, finance, and HR management – have been performed. How each of these components is addressed has a direct impact on the success or failure of the enterprise.

An accelerator can identify the risks within your concept and help you work on minimizing them. Also, those within the program can provide you with the direction in proactively taking on risk and managing it effectively.

5. A bigger-picture, long-term view

As a founder, particularly if you’re jumping into startup waters for the first time, it can seem impossible to see beyond the first six months or year. However, in order to ensure your chances for success, it’s critical to work toward a much longer view and outcome. Accelerators help you see the entire forest in addition to the individual trees.

An accelerator program EIR can help you anticipate complexities or roadblocks and help you to navigate them more effectively. They can ask the questions that get you thinking bigger picture. They’ll also suggest the tools, strategies, and tactics to help get you there.

6. Motivation and morale

There is a spirit of collaboration in the accelerator program experience and it adds motivation and inspiration with each step.  Your EIR or mentor has been there, both in their own business as well as coaching other startups, and they serve as a powerful motivating force.

Doubts and challenges are part and parcel of the startup process, and when you connect with other accelerator participants, hearing about their self-doubts and challenges, it can be highly inspiring and motivational.

Interested in how an accelerator program can help launch or advance your startup? Check out the BC Venture Accelerator Program HERE!



Growing Your Business with FTAs Presentation and Networking Event


Attend this valuable and FREE FTAs Presentation and Networking Event to learn how to boost your export opportunities. Presented by Export Navigator.

Targeting Free Trade

Seize this unique opportunity to learn about the tremendous value of free trade agreements (FTAs) for Kootenay’s active and aspiring exporters. You’ll meet Provincial representatives who negotiate BC’s interests in these agreements and who also assist businesses in overcoming tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.

Presenter: Chelsie Luciani, Senior Manager, Trade Policy & Negotiations, Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology.

Export Navigator – Free Export Assistance and Coaching

Exporting allows you to expand the horizons of your business and gain a competitive advantage. Whether it’s new markets across Canada or around the world, Export Navigator’s community-based advisors are on-hand to provide FREE support to help your business grow outside of the Kootenays. Capitalize on export knowledge and resources and invaluable connections made available by this program and its advisors.

Presenter: Michael Hoher, Export Advisor, Export Navigator, Kootenay-Boundary Region

Three Convenient Kootenay Locations

Cranbrook: June 18, 2019, 12:15 – 1:30pm. Ground Floor Coworking Space, Community Futures, 131 7th Ave S, Cranbrook, BC.

Nelson: June 19, 2019, 12:00 – 1:00pm. Nelson Chamber of Commerce Boardroom, 91 Baker St, Nelson, BC.

Trail: June 19, 2019, 9:00 – 10:30am. Community Futures Trail Boardroom, 825 Spokane St, Trail, BC.

The Export Navigator Program

The Export Navigator Program offers businesses access to community-based export specialists who can provide a personalized, step-by-step approach to exporting and help connect your business to the market information, export programs, financial services, and business development experts it needs at every stage of the process.

Learn more about how Export Navigator can help your business at


Canadian Technology Accelerators in the U.S. – WEBINAR

Canadian Technology Accelerators in the U.S. and Asia – WEBINAR

Canadian Technology Accelerators in the U.S. – WEBINAR

How the Canadian Technology Accelerators can help with expansion into the United States.

Despite the exciting growth opportunities, the U.S. market is often undermined as it has many challenges and deep complexities. That’s why the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) created the Canadian Technology Accelerators (CTA).

Canadian companies are naturally drawn towards to the United States when seeking to expand their business to new markets for a variety of reasons: proximity to Canada, business-friendly environment, and access to expertise, buyers, partners, and investors.

Located in America’s most prominent technology hubs -Boston, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area- CTAs provide participating companies with high-value services and customized programming focused on improving firms’ international business strategies, maximizing their market potential, identifying competitors, and connecting with global clients, partners and investors.

JOIN this helpful WEBINAR to hear about the individual market opportunities and the high-value services available to help give your companies the foothold they need to succeed. The criteria, application process and expectations will also be explained.

The CTAs are currently seeking Canadian companies with dynamic and differentiated technologies in health and digital industries for their Fall 2019 programs: Click HERE!

When: Wednesday, June 5 @ 13:00 EST

Serban Georgescu, Tech & Life Sciences CTA in Boston
Josh Kleyman, Digital CTA and HealthIT CTA in New York
Thierry Lu, Digital CTA in Silicon Valley
Iraina Miles, Health CTA in San Francisco

Why Asia? What opportunities are there? Why now?

Asia is increasingly top of mind for Canadian companies given the market size and economic growth rate in the region. Its position as a global producer of goods and services, large consumer base and increased drive for innovation offers interested companies significant business opportunities. With the diversity of markets and available opportunities, companies also have multiple entry points to the region dependent on their business strategy and strategic advantage.

New entrants, however, face an array of challenges from inadequate market data and sales channels to complex legal systems and different business cultures. That’s why the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has expanded its highly successful program to key Asia technology hubs including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo. The CTAs in Asia is meant to emulate the U.S. programs’ successes by providing high-value services and customized programming focused on improving firms’ international business strategies, maximizing their market potential, identifying competitors, and connecting with global clients, partners and investors.

JOIN the WEBINAR to hear about the individual market opportunities and the high-value services available to help your companies succeed and grow their business in Asia. The criteria, application process and expectations will also be explained.

The Asia CTAs are currently seeking Canadian companies with dynamic and differentiated technologies in health and healthIT, cleantech and digital industries for their Fall 2019 programs: Click HERE!

When: Wednesday, June 5 @ 19:00 EST

Richard Fong, CTA in Hong Kong
Tegan Watson, CTA in Singapore
Rowena Ko, CTA in Japan
Rupert Cao, CTA in Taipei