RELAUNCHED AUG. 3, 2021 – SEPT. 30, 2021
PROGRAM IS FULL AT THIS TIME. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST
You don’t need to navigate the digital world alone.
We’re here to help.
In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic comes the new Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) program, developed by Innovate BC.
- Offers Kootenay small and medium sized businesses options and info on how to enter or expand into the digital economy.
- Provides personalized advisory services and coaching, for businesses in any sector, at NO COST or OBLIGATION.
DER3 will help Kootenay businesses:
- Be more profitable
- Expand into new markets or opportunities
- Be able to respond to future COVID-19 challenges
DER3 will set you up with local Kootenay tech consultants who will:
- ASSESS the digital needs of your business
- RECOMMEND tech tools and solutions that will save you time and money
- CREATE a new technology action plan
- CONNECT you with local digital service providers for contracted solutions
- PROVIDE guidance, tools and best practices for your digital transformation
KAST is proud to bring this new program to the Kootenay region.
Applications are now CLOSED for the DER3 program.
- Be a small-medium sized business (less than 500 employees) and
- Be located in the Kootenay region.
The DER3 Advisory Team
We’ve assembled a team of managers and advisors with decades of industry experience in digital transformation, technology and business to assist you in your digital journey.
KAST Executive in Residence
Steve began his entrepreneurial career at eight years old with a kindling business, selling split wood to his neighbours. Forty years and seven start-ups later, he is focused to help entrepreneurs where he can and, oddly enough, still likes to split wood!
Most recently, the co-founder and CEO of VEERUM, a geo spatial Digital Twin platform based out of Calgary, Steve has been through a capital raise in Silicon Valley, grants galore, shareholder exits and major corporate contracts. He also spent five years working out of the start-up ecosystem in Calgary being mentored by an incredible ecosystem of highly successful professionals. With an early career in the ski and bike industry, Steve understands the Kootenay lifestyle and the challenge of finding a work/life balance.
He recently moved back to Nelson to raise his family with Kootenay values and has a goal to make Nelson a top 10 Canadian city to launch a start-up!
Digital Business Manager
Andrew is a driven, creative and entrepreneurial minded professional with a long history of getting people and customers excited and engaged about new ideas and converting that excitement into action. Much of his career has been in the marketing, business development and entrepreneurship world. Andrew is passionate about growing small business and has an unusual love of writing business plans.
He spent many years in the ski industry including roles as youth business director for Whistler Blackcomb and marketing manager for Baldy Mountain Resort. He is fired up by all things creative from writing, photography and videography to recording and producing record albums. He loves working to support and grow the Kootenay community he calls home. He spent 4 years on Rossland City Council, a previous five-year stint with KAST to producing 150 episodes of the “You Can Do That Here!” podcast detailing the backstories behind Kootenay tech entrepreneurs. He has launched and run several of his own small businesses from a creative marketing agency to a large-scale bioenergy start-up.
Andrew is a natural collaborator and relationship builder that loves to work with inspiring teams. He’s also a free heeling telemarker, father of two adventurous young boys and a mountain bike herding border collie, a wannabe rockstar, and one of the Dad-crew in the skatepark.
Digital Business Advisor
Kalyn Adams is a Digital Marketing Specialist for the KAST DER3 Program. Kalyn strives to support entrepreneurs in the capacity of digital marketing strategizing and optimization. Kalyn’s experience is from hands-on learning throughout her own online entrepreneurship journey. Kalyn enjoys keeping up with new and trending digital marketing techniques, assisting her clients with online marketing tools, and online instruction.
Digital Business Advisor
Clee is a results-driven finance professional with 25 years of diverse international business experience. This has encompassed business consulting, business planning, systems implementation, financial forecasting, teaching finance for entrepreneurs, strategic planning, credit risk management, financial reporting, mergers and acquisitions, and management training presentations. This is supported by professional training in accounting and auditing, and excellent analytical, organizational, decision making, team building, interpersonal and communication skills.
Digital Business Advisor
Working with startups both in Canada and abroad has solidified Andree’s drive for overcoming obstacles and solving problems on the fly. Prior to Covid, she was managing Vietnam’s first premium motorcycle tour business. Andree enjoys working in entrepreneurial environments that allow her to leverage core skills and build on the growth of the business.
Andree spent many years working in transportation logistics including the heavily regulated aviation industry where she honed a detail-orientated mind and experienced the value of working with aligned systems. Having a strong analytical focus enabled Andree to apply project management skills to a variety of different challenges; within corporations, with a multi-vendor e-commerce platform, and in volunteer work abroad.
Having a passion for travel and a desire to explore new lands, Andree has thrived in a diverse array of cultures which adds to the dynamic perspective she brings to the table. Andree moved to Nelson because of her love of charming mountain towns and its unique character and diverse offerings. In her free time, Andree can be found exploring beaches, riding her motorcycle, or running the trails.
Digital Business Advisor
John Leishman is one of Canada’s leading experts in digital transformation technology, a topic of particular relevance post-COVID19.
John Leishman is a regular presenter on technology at the Accounting Symposium of Canada and has also spoken for TEC Canada, as well as the Entrepreneurs Organization, the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs. He is an expert at assessing and implementing digital technology solutions for small, medium, and large companies across diverse sectors such as fashion design, finance, and construction.
Digital transformation means taking advantage of innovations such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence to facilitate remote working environments and put any company ahead of their competition. John can also explain exactly how your business can save operating costs of up to 10-20% AND grow your revenue by leveraging technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does DER3 stand for?
Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency
What does the “digital economy” actually mean?
Innovate BC defines the digital economy as anything that’s based on using digital computing technologies within the core of your business. We used to call it the “Internet Economy” but increasingly the digital economy is intertwined with the traditional economy, and that’s what this program is all about. Digital technology includes digital tools a business may use throughout its business such as production, operations, finance, HR, training, sales and/or marketing.
Do I need to be a “digital economy” business?
No. This program is open to any kind of business with any level of technology integration.
Where is this program available?
The program will be available in six regions: Greater Victoria; Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands; Okanagan Valley; Kootenays; Central Interior B.C.; North Central B.C.
Is there a cost to participating in this program?
The program is a no cost/no obligation program. The primary services of the program are free, and anyone living in one of the delivery regions can sign up. For small-medium sized businesses (individuals and non-profits) there’s a lot the program can offer at no cost. However, if needed, engagements with digital service providers or consultants (as independent businesses) will have various costs depending on the scope of your requirements. For example, we can tell you what digital tools or platforms may fit for your business, and in many cases we can tell you how to use them (DIY) but we can’t build your website for you. If/when you need to hire someone we can also offer advice to ensure you’re considering the right things in the right order. We can review your needs more specifically when you apply to the program.
Do I need to be already online with a website to apply for the program?
No, any business can apply regardless if you have an existing online presence or not.
My business is struggling, I don‘t know anything about technology and don’t even know where to start. Can you help?
Yes, we can help. After you complete the application form, we will do an initial assessment of what we think you might want to consider and we will then contact you to learn more and see what’s possible. We work with you one step at a time to move you further along the path to digital transformation.
What if I’m just starting my business? Do I still qualify for this program?
Yes! Some of the biggest businesses of our time started in recession; Google and Facebook started during the dotcom crash and Uber and Airbnb started during the 2008 financial crisis. If you have what it takes, with a big vision or just a great small business idea, now might be a great time to start!
What will happen after I submitted my application?
The appropriate DER3 delivery partner will reach out within 3-5 business days. These expert advisors will listen to the needs of your businesses, meet you where you’re at, and seek to understand where you want to go. The program will build meaningful relationships and lay the foundation of successful hybrid (bricks & mortar, and online) business model development.
What kind of business or technical advice can you provide?
This program is delivered by a network of experienced mentors and subject matter experts in both business and the digital economy. With the help of our advisory team we’re confident that we can provide solid advice on almost any topic. We also can direct questions to various industry partners or other agencies (subject matter experts and digital service providers).
Does this program include any digital tools or computer skills training? My staff has never worked from home before.
We have a wide variety of resources, guides, and best-practices for getting things done in the digital economy, which we can utilize to help you get started. We don’t offer skills training courses, but we can point you in the right direction for that too.
How much time do I need to commit to this program? How much time are you offering to help me?
Your time commitments depend on you, and how much time you invest toward taking action on the solutions that we will provide you with. Our time commitments to your needs will depend on our assessments of your issues or challenges. If we can’t help you with implementing the actions we recommend, then we will make suggestions on who can.
What else is expected from me?
At the end of the program, we require participants to fill out brief survey to report key metrics. Any information you report will be confidential and it will be used in aggregate form to determine regional outcomes and overall efficacy of DER3.
Are youth entrepreneurs eligible to apply?
Absolutely! We’re very excited to work with and support young entrepreneurs age 18 – 30 across our region.
How will meetings take place in light of COVID physical distancing regulations?
All meetings will be over the phone, online video, or via email Q&A. Whatever works for you.
Will this program provide any funding to help me buy computers and/or other equipment?
This program will not provide any grants and cannot help with core infrastructure.
How long will this program last?
This program’s intake ends on September 24, 2021 and the program itself ends on September 30, 2021.
How did the DER3 Program originate?
In April 2020, in partnership with Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA) created and launched the Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine Program (DER3) Program. The DER3 program was created to tackle the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the Vancouver Island region and ICET’s initial funding was the catalyst for the first phase of program delivery. In August 2020, with funding support of WD through Innovate BC, the DER3 program will be scaled province-wide under the BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed by Innovate BC.